Teaching young children about insects is often a delightful process, because they are simply fascinated by the world around them. Finding ways to encourage and cultivate that enthusiasm can and should lead you to technology. These seven apps for learning about bugs may help you encourage the budding entymologist in all of them.
On Beyond Bugs features narration about insects in rhyme, Dr. Seuss style, with highlighted words for budding readers. Students will very much enjoy the full color pictures and glossary as well as the unique option to record and share their own message.
ABC Bugs features photos, not animated drawings, of insects, which will be appreciated by the purists and will encourage a more scientific approach. The voiceover narration also helps students learn the latin names of insects, and the short videos are often being updated on YouTube (links to YouTube require a wi-fi connection). Interactive activities will keep students coming back for more!
Three highly rated apps comprise the Bugs And… Series—Bugs and Buttons, Bugs and Bubbles, and Bugs and Numbers. Parents love the series because it is adaptable; as a child plays, the app adapts to his or her level. While the games do not feature a scientific approach to insects, they do use real images of bugs who serve as main characters in the games (i.e. the counting games count ladybugs, Bugs and Numbers centers around a “bug city”). Fine motor skills, basic math skills, and other reasoning skills are being taught with these apps, but they certainly couldn’t hurt to incorporate into free play. Find it on Android Here.
Three apps also make up this series of bug-focused fun—Forest, Water & Grass, and Village. Meet the Insects are entirely insect focused, providing beautiful full color pictures of each species, which are separated into families, and encouraging students to learn to identify each insect by their family and characteristics. Videos, photos, and quizzes could make fine learning tools, as could the “observation journal,” a unique feature that allows students to record what they have found in their own nature exploration or to simply reflect on the learning discoveries they have made.
Mini Monsters is not for the faint of heart, but may truly appeal to some of the students who like the slimy and poisonous. The Mini Monsters app focuses on the slightly scary, potentially deadly “monsters” of the natural world, which includes but is not exclusively focused on insects. One appeal of this app is the scare factor, but the other is the content that spans the world’s natural inhabitants. Students will find full-color illustrations and a glossary and can use the app anywhere—no internet is required to use.
This app’s gimmick focuses on collecting “insect cards,” each of which features a different subject related to insects. You gather them by mastering the subject through the provided quizzes, and then can decorate your “world” with those cards. Why? Kids Insects is a fun little app that will help students master content knowledge while competing with themselves.
You can always count on Scholastic to provide rich content that is kid-focused. Sadly, their only offering in the insect world right now is this ladybug-focused app, but it could make a fine addition to a unit on insects. Students will find illustrations, narrations, and interactive activities. It feels like an interactive storybook, which could definitely help students not only learn about the ladybug, but also improve reading and decoding skills.
Samantha Kotey is the editor for AvatarGeneration and has a background in educational technology and virtual worlds. A mom of two, she is passionate about all things related to toys and technology.