10 Summer Learning Apps and Games for Tweens and Teens

By Common Sense Media, Understood Founding Partner
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Apps and games can be fun ways to help your middle-schooler or high-schooler keep learning over the summer. Here are 10 for you to consider.

Pixton

With the right tools, summer can be a great time for getting tweens and teens to flex their creative writing muscles. Pixton is a free site for kids to make comics they can print or share online. Some of the comics posted on Pixton have been viewed thousands of times! The site has a wide range of tools for choosing settings and creating characters and dialogue. Pixton is easy to use and also offers how-to videos and support. For a subscription fee, kids can access even more features.

Issues: Writing, social skills including conversation

Price: Free

Available for: Any web browser

Price and availability may vary but were accurate at the time of publication, on June 29, 2015.

Get the Math

This award-winning site teaches kids how to solve real-world problems using math. Get the Math engages kids by tapping into their interests, with topics like “Math in Fashion” and “Math in Basketball.” Each topic starts with a video of people using math in their jobs. Then kids try to solve a related challenge. For example, “Math in Videogames” asks kids to plot a flight path for a spaceship to avoid hitting an asteroid. Afterward they can watch how the game designers solved the challenge.

Issues: Math

Price: Free

Available for: Any web browser

Price and availability may vary but were accurate at the time of publication, on June 29, 2015.

The Sports Network 2

This simulation game uses kids’ love of ESPN to get them to work on their critical-thinking skills. In The Sports Network 2, kids take on the role of a network employee who is trying to increase teen viewership. Tasks include gathering tips from coworkers and preparing an interview for the broadcast. The game is text-heavy, with no read-aloud function. But it’s a fun way to explore the working world—and to work on analyzing text and other skills that are part of the Common Core standards.

Issues: Reading, social skills including conversation, organization, planning and time management

Price: Free

Available for: Any web browser

Price and availability may vary but were accurate at the time of publication, on June 29, 2015.

Middle School Confidential 1: Be Confident in Who You Are

This app is the first part of an award-winning series called Middle School Confidential. Presented as a graphic novel, it helps kids understand and navigate the social world of middle school. It takes on common issues like self-esteem and fitting in. There’s no read-aloud function, but users can zoom in to each frame to isolate the text. After each chapter, there are quizzes to helps kids work on social skills. There are also tips and quotes throughout the app to reinforce the lessons.

Issues: Social skills including conversation

Price: $2.99

Available for: iOS, Android, Kindle Fire, Nook HD

Price and availability may vary but were accurate at the time of publication, on June 29, 2015.

DragonBox Algebra 12+

This puzzle app offers a stress-free way for kids to learn how to do algebra. To solve the puzzles, players start by dragging and dropping matching images onto two trays on the screen. It’s a great way to drive home a key concept in algebra—that what is done to one side of an equation must be done to the other side. As DragonBox Algebra 12+ progresses, the images are replaced by numbers and symbols.

Issues: Math

Price: $7.99–$9.99

Available for: iOS, Android, Kindle Fire, Windows

Price and availability may vary but were accurate at the time of publication, on June 29, 2015.

Six-Word Memoirs

Summing up your life in six words is challenging. But since 2006, nearly a million entries have been submitted. The Six-Word Memoir Project has sparked countless school projects as well as a book of teen entries titled I Can’t Keep My Own Secrets. The teen section of Six-Word Memoirs is great for browsing. Because each entry is so short, the site may motivate even the most reluctant writers. It may also help teens talk to each other about issues in their lives.

Issues: Writing, reading

Price: Free

Available for: iOS, web browsers

Price and availability may vary but were accurate at the time of publication, on June 29, 2015.

SuperBetter

This gamelike tool helps teens build resilience and stay motivated to take daily steps toward their goals. SuperBetter can be used to break negative patterns and improve self-image. The site aims to help teens do things like find ways to lower stress and feel more confident. It also enables teens to connect with other users, adding a social element that can encourage progress. The tool is customizable for kids’ needs, but it can take time to set it up.

Issues: Hyperactivity/impulsivity, organization, planning time and management

Price: Free

Available for: iOS, web browsers

Price and availability may vary but were accurate at the time of publication, on June 29, 2015.

Instructables

Want to learn how to bake doughnuts filled with chocolate-hazelnut spread? Or make a hammock out of duct tape? Instructables is full of do-it-yourself projects, including many that are great for summer. Some projects are good for organizing and managing life. There are also a few projects that may help with attention issues. Parents may need to supervise or pre-select projects because the site has some content about alcohol and other adult topics.

Issues: Organization, planning and time management, motor skills, attention/hyperactivity

Price: Free

Available for: iOS, Android, web browsers

Price and availability may vary but were accurate at the time of publication, on June 29, 2015.

Vocabador

Looking for a way to make flashcards more exciting? Vocabador uses Mexican wrestling matches to help middle-schoolers and high-schoolers learn the definitions of over 400 words. Game play is very simple. Kids select a Mexican wrestler and take quizzes. When players get a vocabulary question right, they strike their opponent. When they get one wrong, they get hit. The cool graphics and sound effects could appeal to kids who are bored by traditional study aids. The app can read the vocabulary words aloud, but not the definitions.

Issues: Reading

Price: $1.99

Available for: iOS

Price and availability may vary but were accurate at the time of publication, on June 29, 2015.

PowerMyLearning

From grammar to geometry to ancient Greece, this site has hundreds of activities that can help keep kids’ academic skills from getting rusty over the summer. The educators at PowerMyLearning have culled reputable sites for high-quality activities. The site may have even some curated playlists that fit your child’s grade and particular interests. For more apps, games and websites to keep learning going over the summer, be sure to check out Tech Finder.

Issues: Reading, writing, math

Price: Free

Available for: Any web browser

Price and availability may vary but were accurate at the time of publication, on June 29, 2015.

About the Author

About the Author

Common Sense Media, Understood Founding Partner 

is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids and families thrive in a world of media and technology.

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