“Hungry Fish.” Deep in the sea, this hungry fish is very picky about what number it will eat. Players must find the right number — by adding or subtracting — to feed him. It starts out easy enough for a kindergartner and advances to problems some adults might find challenging. It’s also a clever way to get kids to think differently about math. No drilling them in the usual way, 2 plus 2 equals 4. It asks them to find the integers adding up to the number the fish is asking for. Addictive fun that drills math facts. A perfect use for an iPad. Free for iOS, with in-app purchases.
“Dino Tales.” As your dinosaur character explores his world — solving problems, having adventures and asking questions — the game takes notes. When your little dino goes to bed, the game creates a bedtime story recounting his adventures. Players can read along, changing words and meanings to alter the story. In the process, the little one learns to read or parse grammar. It’s a game and a create-your-own animated storybook to strengthen literacy. If you wish your kids would learn to love reading as much as playing games, let them try this one. 3-99 for Android and iOS.
In “Path to Luma,” saving the world doesn’t mean shooting the bad guys: it means cleaning up the planet. You do that by developing an understanding of alternative and clean energy sources. To do that, you need a little robot bent on saving the universe. That little guy picks up bits of knowledge as he navigates from one dirty little planet to another. He solves puzzles to unlock each planet’s unique energy source. This one is for kids, or adults, who can read. Free for Android and iOS.
If your child has a gaming console, the question might be “are you playing XBox or doing homework?” If they’re playing “Project Spark,” let it slide. Project Spark is a game-building tool teaching kids to code as they build their own XBox games. Some handy STEM skills with this one.