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When it comes to teaching kids about science, there's a whole lot to consider. Astronomy and weather, oceans and biology: The term science covers a lot of ground. Luckily, you don't have to be proficient in every subject to give your child the background she needs to do well -- there's an app for that. Whether it's teaching your child about photosynthesis, dinosaurs, or the moon, these 10 science apps are beautifully made to inspire learning and are super fun to play.
Take your little one on a virtual underwater ride by introducing him to 12 marine animals, including seals, seahorses, crabs, whales, dolphins, and turtles. Both images and sounds are important for learning with this app, which has photos that kids can touch to hear a recording of the animal. The app allows you to upload photos from your own phone to continue the learning. (Ages 2 to 5; $0.99; iPhone)
Even though Buzz Lightyear isn't a part of this award-winning app, your kid won't miss him! Explore the solar system, read details about planets, learn about space missions (and view satellite models), travel through space and time, watch movies about Earth, and get a bird's-eye view of the entire galaxy. This realistic-looking app also offers 3-D images that require 3-D glasses (not included). To infinity, and beyond! (Ages 2 and up; $2.99; iPhone)
Based on the award-winning PBS KIDS show of the same name, Sid the Science Kid will teach your child about friction and sliding in two stories with two games. Your child will start by learning about friction and how and why it can stop her from sliding. Then she'll move on to investigate and try experiments with friction through interactive games that end with how friction can apply to real-life situations (as when Sid's Grandma uses wax on her skies to help her ski faster). (Ages 3 to 5; $2.99; iPhone)
Tackle a handful of environmental topics such as the four seasons, the parts of a plant, the water cycle, and more. This app features six activities related to basic science concepts (how we use our five senses, how things sink or float). Kids focus on one topic at a time, and are rewarded when a new and exciting topic is unlocked. (Ages 3 to 6; $0.99; iPhone)
Developed as a series of "appisodes" and praised by Common Sense Media, Leo's Pad was designed by Stanford University education researchers to include exciting, informative games sprinkled throughout a fun storyline featuring history's famous scientists. Follow a group of 8-year-old friends -- Leo (Leonardo da Vinci), Gally (Galileo), and Marie (Curie) -- who are learning all about science through their crazy adventures. In the first two apps, your child will help the friends construct a telescope and build a rocket; in the third, he'll learn all about gravity. (Ages 3 to 6; Free; iPhone)
Teach your kid about the life cycle of plants -- without all the dirt and mud. Happy Little Farmer offers three scenarios that teach how plants are grown in a veggie patch, a fruit pot, and a wheat field. Through 15 different farm-related activities, your child will learn what it means to fertilize, water, and care for different types of fruit and veggie plants. Plus, she'll get the satisfaction of watching them grow. A bonus treasure hunt game and an original soundtrack of nursery rhymes will help keep kids interested. (Ages 3 to 8; $2.99; iPhone)
If your kid is into dinosaurs, this award-winning app is for her! Set out on an adventure with the characters Ansel and Clair to learn about seven types of Jurassic dinosaurs. Your child will also learn science, history, geography, and geology facts through entertaining games, puzzles, and activities. A travel log is available for taking notes and organizing photos of the dinosaurs that your child can take with a camera feature on the app. (Ages 4 to 7; $1.99; iPhone)
This app was designed by a 6-year-old boy and his meteorologist dad to teach young children some basic weather elements. One activity allows kids to change the weather conditions to determine how they should dress. Kids can also calculate Fahrenheit and Celsius and learn weather-related trivia and safety tips related to various topics: clouds, lightning, seasons, weather symbols, and more. A charting feature allows your child to choose the day of the week and describe the weather so he can refer to it and remember weather terms like foggy, mild, and warm. (Ages 4 and up; $1.99; iPhone, Android)
Introduce your child to genetics, genes, and inherited traits -- and help your little scientist find out what happens when you combine different animal traits to create new breeds and species. Kids begin with four animals and end with 500 new and unusual species. (Ages 5 and up; Free; Android)
Created with the National Common Core Standards in mind, this app offers more than 18,000 activity exercises on specific topics, including science, math, and language arts. Kids explore each topic through lessons, and there are practice and test modes. During the practice mode, your child is untimed, but the test mode allows one minute for each response. (Ages 7 to 11; Free; iPhone)
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