Better Screen Time With Learning Apps

Learning apps are a far better use of screen time!




Whether you love it or hate it or don’t know what it is Pokemon Go is one of the most popular apps in the world right now. Here are some alternatives created intentionally to foster learning, making them a truly  worthwhile time investment.  For fun, and since Pokemon’s from Japan, I’ll count the apps in Japanese – Ichi, Ni, San, Go!






Ichi (One):  Have story time anywhere with the FarFaria App.

You will like this app because kids can READ quietly and be entertained wherever they are.  It also gives the entire family access to thousands of books on iPad, kindle, phone, ext. so there are options for all ages! Turn screen time into story time with this “Netflix for Children’s BOOK” app.  Its great to be able to save books to the app so they can read offline anywhere!!

Great for: Ages 2-9

Cost: For a limited time, $19.99 (Save $20!)





Ni (Two): Improve reading skills with Hooked On Phonics app.

Do your kids love Hooked On Phonics?

Theyve really brought this time-honored system to the big league with this amazing app.  It has educational games to keep kids at home or on the phone anywhere.  I love that it syncs children’s progress to all devices –  –So, if dad is working night shift he is kept up with PJ’s progress.  And if you don’t have the app around you can just download the app, sign, in, and have kids pick up right where they left off.  Seamless.

Great for: Ages 2-8

Cost: For a limited time, $29.99 (Save 20$)





San (Three):  Learn coding skills with the brower-based Learn to Mod program.

Do your kids love video games and winning badges?  Use that to get them coding!  The Learn to Mod program is a browser-based software that teaches kids how to “mod” Minecraft with both Blockly and Javascript (neither of which I understand, but there you have it).  The program includes hundreds of puzzles, video lessons, and quizzes that get kids learning this impressive skill while having fun.  The badges keep them coming back for more!

Great forAges 7-13

Cost: $29.99




imageGo! (Four): Need help with homework?  Use the GradeSlam app and ask a tutor!!

Need help helping with homework??  Are you strapped for time to help with homework?  There is an app for that, too! GrandSlam provides 24/7 tutoring in all subject’s to students in middle and high school, as well as, college.  With their award winning chat-based tutoring platform, your kids can access tutors anytime they need.  This is the perfect supplement for any subject matter beyond your scope, busy spells, and for when kids head off to college.  

Great for: upper school to college ages, tougher subjects

Cost: For a limited time, get a whole year for  $99 (save) $81!)





I hope I’ve expanded your DIGITAL horizons beyond Pokemon Go today!  What apps do your kids use?  Comment below.  I’d love to hear about it!




Thanks for reading!

Crystal 🙂


MLK 4 Day Weekend

This Martin Luther King Jr. Day was the first ever observed by my son.  Up until this year, he wasn’t able to grasp the complexity of ideas like equality, segregation based on skin color, or advocacy.




Pjs understanding of the world around him, compassion towards others, and ability to voice right from wrong has improved tremendously in first grade.  I’m quite proud of the gentlemen he is growing into!!!

In short, I felt he was ready to absorb why Martin Luther King Day was celebrated over our four day break from school.  



I always start new learning with a book on the subject rather than a discussion.  



I chose “The Crayon Box that Talked” to help him  understand problems of  diversity.  The crayons do not get along but eventually are able to appreciate qualities in one another.  




He illustrated and wrote about the book.  We flipped through the book again to look for sentences that described what the crayons were thinking and feeling about one another.


After writing and sitting, I thought it a good idea to do some hands-on learning about diversity.  I already had the idea to use scented Playdough to represent skin colors.  Apparently it is a great idea because skin tone playdough colors are all over the net!  

Here is the most popular picture from Spoonful via



Beautiful isn’t it?!  But I couldn’t seem to link to the direct source no matter where it was shared.




I eventually searched for each skin color from various sites.  He loved that these all have a scent or special texture!!


He made various people over a two day period.  He even gave each person a good quality while we talked about how people were different.  

It was suppose to be black colored Playdough.
It was suppose to be black colored Playdough.


We didn’t use any sort of pattern but I found these PLAYDOUGH MATS from Picklebums to use next time.


On day two through four, I thought we would watch a few readings of books for facts about Martin Luther King, Jr.  It was a holiday so the library was closed.  These are the two readings we watched on you tube.



I helped my son pause and rewind to write down facts from the books. 

Facts About MLK – Kids Play and Create

The BEST visual resource for this topic was definitely another You Tube video.  PJ was listening and watching intently to this creative children’s biography.  The characters time travel!!

Next, I drew an outline of Dr. King and PJ colored it in…image

I wasn’t sure if he would be interested in watching the famous “I Have a Dream” speech so I saved it for last.   Don’t know why I was worried?  He listened and watched the entire speech!! Not only that, he asked questions “What’s that?” and “What’s he say?” when he didn’t know the meaning of a word.  It was the perfect opportunity to use the dictionary so I wrote a few words down to look up. 

“I Have A Dream” speech – Teacher Tube

Examples of terms and words we defined…..

  • sweltering in the heat of oppression
  •  Segregation
  • brotherhood

We finished learning about MLK’s most famous speech with copywork.  I just drew a bubble and a few lines using a ruler for him to write on. 



He is reading the speech out loud to himself here:)


More Martin Luther King Jr. Resources….

Activities – Moments A Day

Crafts – Kids Fun Review




Thank You for Reading!!

Crystal 🙂

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