About the Apps
There are plenty of geography-focused apps (mostly games) geared towards elementary school students that are worthy of your consideration.
The standouts interweave trivia challenges with travel and puzzle-based gameplay. This requires players to not only know the backstories of given cities, states, and countries, but also understand where those locations fit on the map. In this competitive category, your download decision should be informed by the quality and volume of educational content that ultimately drives the game.
We like State Bingo and Road Trip U.S. the best, largely because it offers two clever and distinct games for the price of one. In Road Trip U.S., players are rewarded for finding the shortest route between locations on the United States map. They can only advance through a state after correctly identifying things like its capitol, abbreviation, or notable landmarks. The Bingo mode intersperses trivia with the ability to recognize a state by its shape. Geography Drive USA is a more detailed and challenging version of the Road Trip U.S. mode, and also provides useful thumbnail information about each state that players can refer to when they get stuck.
While we are weary when app developers try to create unique titles for a wide array of educational subjects, there are a handful of creators who succeed. Dan Russel-Pinson, creator of Stack the States, fits that bill. The developer of other recommended titles like Mathmateer and Rocket Physics also has one of the best apps available for younger elementary school geography students in Stack the States. The app combines very basic trivia with a neat and colorful physics game that will have your five-to-seven year-old hooked. You should also check out the companion app Stack the Countries.
For branching outside of the United States, there are two more worldly geography apps we recommend to elementary school-aged students. The first, National Geographic World Atlas, is an old classic that is nicely updated to a mobile media environment. The free app combines the elegance of classic globes and maps with interactive features that drill down on virtually every location in the world. We like this app for younger students, as opposed to breakthrough technologies like Google Earth and Google Maps, as they offer a more curated and protected environment (and don’t expose them to things you probably don’t want them to know about yet!).
As children discover new worlds with National Geographic and other resources, a fun way to test their knowledge is through Tiny Countries. This adventure game has kids traversing through six continents and 75 different countries. Their ability to answer and master trivia questions will help them save the world they are just beginning to discover.
Comments & Suggestions Have a suggestion for an educational app for this category you think we should feature? Let us know.
How are apps scored?
Apps are scored using a proprietary evaluation rubric to judge Educational Content, Kid Appeal, Assessment, Features and Design, Value, and Safety and Privacy.