Today’s Wonder Tools post is a break from productivity and work apps to highlight terrific sites and apps for kids. Whether you’re a parent, aunt, uncle, teacher—or otherwise have kids in your life— I hope you’ll find it useful.
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🎁 You’ll find in today’s post:
🎶 Fantastic sites for sharing music with kids
👧 My recommended apps for making math, coding and reading fun
👨👩👧👦 Family recs for podcasts + a book & magazine
🎼 Making music delightful
Chrome Music Lab has 14 wonderful little music games. Use it with (or without) a child to create your own songs, play a digital piano duo, or mash up rhythms with cute characters. Free on any Chrome browser.
Music:Eyes is a fantastic site that allows adults and their kids to create visualizations out of classical music. Choose shapes and colors that you feel match the music and watch the music turn into a sea of images.
Ear Forge helps train your ear to recognize notes, even if you’ve never had any musical training. It’s easy, fun and free for kids and parents, and it’s a great supplement to music lessons. iOS and Android.
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🧮 Bringing joy to science, math, and coding
Smash Boom Best is our favorite family podcast. Each episode “takes two cool things, smashes them together and lets you decide which is best.” The debate format is playful; the audio storytelling is outstanding.
But Why: A podcast for curious kids explores creative questions from kids like “why do dogs have tails?” and “what happens to a forest after a fire” in a way that respects the intelligence of kids and their adults.
Math Tango makes arithmetic playful and embeds it inside an adventure game my daughters (6 and 8) find delightful. Developed with insights from math teachers, it manages to be rigorous while feeling like pure fun.
Scratch, developed at MIT Media Lab, is a learn-to-code program that’s easy, fun and free for kids and adults. My daughters love assembling Scratch’s visual blocks on screen to create interactive stories, games and animations. Aimed at those 8 to 16. Scratch Jris free for kids 5-7.
💎 Other fantastic resources for kids and families
Seek is one of our favorite family apps. Point the app at any plant, flower, animal or bug you see on a walk to learn more about it. Free for iOS and Android
Khan Academy Kids is the best learning app I’ve found for kids 2-8. Made by educators with fun activities and cute animal characters to support early literacy, reading, writing, language, and math. Free with no ads or subscription required, for iOS, Android and Kindle devices. For older kids or adults, Khan Academy has a phenomenal learning ecosystem.
The Week Junior is a fantastic print magazine our family loves. As someone who worked at Time for Kids, my hat is off to the team that launched this new magazine during the pandemic. Each issue features short curated stories on the news of the week. $50/year, which is $2/issue for 25 issues.
How to Raise a Reader by Pamela Paul and Maria Russo is a superb guide for finding fabulous kids’ books. I love the recommendations for kids of all ages, across genres. It grew out of this free NYTimes guide.
What’s your favorite site or app to share with children?
Bonus Section: Recent posts to explore
✍️ New highlighting apps for saving bits of articles, books, vids & podcasts
p.s. In response to last week’s post with my🧪 experiment linking my post off to a visual collection I created, 75% of you said you preferred receiving the full post in the newsletter. Duly noted. Thanks for your input!