CHAT WITH A WORLD WAR I SOLDIER

Topics: Texting a soldier, retro game, video trends, avoiding loud commercials, family safety settings, sketching tips, ten enigmas that defy explanation.

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SKY MATH FOR KIDS

“Sky Math” for iPad acts as a child’s virtual math tutor.

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LINKING CHILDREN TO SCIENCE PROJECTS WORLDWIDE

GlobalSchoolNet.org links children worldwide for science projects and cultural experiences. A current project looks at the problem of plastic in the oceans.

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LEARNING SPANISH THROUGH GAMES

pbskids.org/noah has a new scavenger hunt game where players must decipher Spanish words and locate objects. Through videos, the site tells the story of a kid called Noah and his grandmother, who live in an area where everyone but them speaks Spanish (sort of like Miami).

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TEMPORARY TATTOOS

 “Picattoo“ can turn your Instagram photos into temporary tattoos. Twelve ink-transfer tattoos cost $15. Start by going to Picattoo.com and sign in to Instagram. You can either take a new picture with your phone or choose one you’ve already stored in your photo gallery. Back at Picatoo.com, choose the photos you want to make into tattoos. Our favorite example was a photo of a cute dog. The ink is high quality and looked almost as detailed as the original picture.

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WHAT TO DO IF YOUR KID IS SICK

“KidsDoc,” a $2 app, helps you determine what to do if your kid is sick. It is the top iPhone app recommended by the 65,000 doctors at HealthTap.com. The doctors’ favorite Android app  is “First Aid American Red Cross.” You can see the whole list at healthtap.com/top_health_apps_2014.

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MIA THE HAPPY HELPER

“Mia the Happy Helper” is a free iPhone/iPad/Android game for kids aged four to six. (We remember the first version from more than a dozen years ago.) Mia is a mouse on a mission. Sometimes she’s looking for hidden objects, other times she’s playing a small piano, sometimes she counts. The $2 version adds more missions.

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THREE PROGRAMMING BOOKS FOR KIDS

— “Lauren Ipsum” by Carlos Bueno is the story of a little girl who must find her way home by thinking like a programmer. It may do for children what Douglas Hofstadter’s “Godel, Escher, Bach” did for Joy back in the 1980s: get them excited about programming ideas. The name “Lauren Ipsum” comes from the dummy text used as filler when printers don’t have the actual text of a page yet or want to show off a font. It’s been around since the 1500s, when an unknown printer used assorted type to make a specimen book. The book’s title character tackles classic problems like “Zeno’s Paradox” and “The Traveling Salesman.” Each chapter connects to a real-life computer science lesson in […]

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THREE GOOD APPS FOR IPHONE AND ANDROID

— “Next Move Quiz” is our favorite new iPhone/iPad app, free from educational book publisher Pearson. The app has fun and colorful quizzes for kids and adults in subjects like science, geography, food, sports, culture and history. Joy has a lot to learn about currency but aced the human body quiz. You can retake quizzes. “Quiz Up” for Android is similar. — FaceTune is a $5 app that goes way beyond blemish removal in photos. Want a thinner nose, a wider smile, and a forehead whose skin tone matches the rest of your face? (Joy’s bangs keeps her forehead white; like a baseball cap.) It can also sharpen facial details while blurring the background and adding other effects. This app […]

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8 SCIENCE PROJECTS KIDS WILL LOVE

Search on the words “8 YouTube Science Projects Kids Will Love” for some neat stuff.

One is called “Milk into Stone: Life in Plastic, It’s Fantastic.” It shows you how ordinary milk and vinegar can be poured into a cookie cutter or other mold. After a couple of days it’s as hard as stone.

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