Getting new tech is always exciting. When it bolsters STEM learning? Well, that puts it over the top. And, that’s exactly what parents will find as part of the new Fire 7 Kids Edition and Fire HD 8 Kids Edition bundle. Apps, books and interactive games are part of this all-in-one device that grows alongside kids’ ever-expanding worlds. Read on to find out how you can leverage the new Fire Kids Edition to help build your kids’ STEM skills.
photo: Allison Sutcliffe
1. Play STEM-tastic Apps
Bust out your new Fire Kids Edition to give your tiny thinker a place to test and re-test her mad skills. Parents will find plenty of apps that incorporate STEM concepts, like coding, logic, math and more, through play, at the Kindle Appstore.
Coding apps like Scratch Jr. (free) and Inventioneers ($2.99) will support those early computer programming skills like sequencing, conditionals and loops under the guise of gaming fun. Or help your little logician exercise his grey matter using apps like Doodlefit, ($.99) or Thinkrolls ($2.99) to turn screen time into an entertaining learning environment. After that, hit math skills head on with engaging games that skillfully disguise repetitive math practice that kids (usually) avoid. When they play Medieval Math Battle (Free) or Operation Math ($2.99), they’ll develop those automatic skills without a fuss. Scout’s honor. To match the right apps with your learner, visit the Appstore from your Fire Kids Edition’s homepage and browse the Kids and Education sections.
2. Get with the Program-ing
Playing in the virtual world is one thing, but connecting it to reality, using Fire Kids Edition apps, launches your kiddo’s STEM-based learning into orbit. Budding engineers can put their programming skills to the test on any number of robotic toys that interface with apps you can find on the Kindle Fire Appstore. WowWee Toys, like MiPosaur (a programmable dino) and R.E.V, Robot Enhanced Vehicles, are an easy place to find real-world programming challenges for your kiddo from her Fire Kids Edition dashboard.
There are also apps to program Wonder Workshop’s Dash and Dot robots in the Appstore. Blockly, Path, Xylo and Wonder apps use visual, drag and drop elements that even the littlest programmers seem to intuitively understand.
Whatever robot, drone or race car you find, using your new Fire Kids Edition to program it allows your learner to work through programming problems when they arise. Why didn’t Dash turn the corner? If I input this command followed by this, what will MiPosaur do? Then find real-time solutions when they hit a programming snag. They’ll spend hours immersed in a STEM-rich learning environment without even realizing it. And parents know, it doesn’t get better than that!
3. Stream STEM Vids
You know that there are educational videos out there (or at least you’ve heard rumors). But your tiny YouTube fan only has eyes for gamers and fashion vloggers that are all the rage with their friends. Not any more. We’re placing bets on the curated, and totally cool, STEM content your kiddo will find searching Science, Planet and Math-themed videos they can stream through the parent-enabled Web Browser on their Fire Kids Edition.
It’s where they’ll find favorite YouTube channels like National Geographic Kids and Khan Academy, alongside other compelling shorts that teach them about the physics of roller coasters and predict the future of satellites. Parents can also focus their content choices by adding their own web faves to the mix, like science superstar Steve Spangler’s SickScience! channel or the dad-driven SmarterEveryDay show. And if it all goes to plan, they’ll be begging you to try some of the cool experiments and ideas they saw online at home. And who could say no to that?
4. Read All About It
Extra! Extra! Your sidekick might think books are old school, but when he reads them on his new Fire Kids Edition, he’ll be cutting edge. And the FreeTime Unlimited STEM selection that’s part of your bundled package will help keep it that way, too.
To find great picks for your curious kiddo, start with broad topics like “Science,” “Nature” and “Math,” found under Characters on your kidlet’s carousel. This is where you can unearth favorites like National Geographic Kids books, the Think Like a Scientist series, and The Mission of Addition. The selection here is as varied and your aspiring scientist’s interests, and can easily cull books based on the age range parents select under Smart Filters, so parents know their kiddo can find the perfect match. But if you’re looking for something in particular, say books about cool STEM careers or the physics of basketball, Search is your best bet. It’s like having a personal librarian on hand to help you find just what you’re looking for.
5. Bring it Home
You set your sidekick up for STEM success, now it’s time to check in on her progress using the Parent Dashboard. This helpful feature not only tracks what activities your little techie is choosing on her Fire Kids Edition, but also how long she spends on each one. So parents can always be in the know.
To really boost those STEM skills, follow up playtime using the Parent Discussion Cards to knowledgeably guide a conversation about the apps, sites and books she’s been using. The orange conversation bubble next to any app, book, video or website is there to help. It’s where parents will find a content summary, questions and activity ideas that easily export learning from the screen into family time, just like that. It’s a handy feature to have and it’s a great starting point to delve deeper into topics with your kid.
How do you use your Amazon Fire Kids Edition to build your kids’ STEM skills? Share your ideas in a comment below.