If your child struggles with health concerns, on top of everything else it’s easy to worry about all the school he or she misses. An appointment here. A procedure there. A visit to the lab or imaging center or specialist sandwiched in the middle of what would otherwise be a school day. It can be so easy to look back at a month without seeing a full week of school!  Perhaps your child may not even be able to attend school at all.

You may have just about given up on the possibility that your child will complete all those in-class projects along with his or her classmates – all the poster projects and wall hangings and science explorations. But your ill child doesn’t have to fall so far behind in the skills that matter most. Even outside the classroom, your ill child can be keeping pace with his or her reading, writing and mathematics. The following five education apps are fairly fun and can turn a hospital or home-stay into an opportunity to learn:

  1. David Weisener’s Spot

David Weisener is the award-winning artist and author of books including Flotsam, Tuesday and Spot. In this app appropriate for K-2 students (but fun for much older kids, too!), Weisner takes us on a guided tour of images and words, with clickable illustrations that zoom in to greater levels of magnification and interest. Sharpen your powers of words and observation as you explore this gorgeously illustrated app!

  1. Incredible Numbers

Image: Flickr/Lars Ploughmann

On the complete opposite side of the spectrum from the previous app is this middle- and high-school math application by professor and math author, Ian Stewart. The app is meant to help students “unlock the hidden beauty of numbers” and is a smart and engaging tour through patterns and “the fabric of codes.”

  1. Algodoo

Physics is fun! This app lets kids experiment with contraptions and gadgets in the physical world (as represented by fun, interactive illustrations). This app may not force kids to solve the equations behind these machines, but is a great introduction to pulleys, planes, spring, pendulums and many of the other “push and pull” structures seen in many physics classes.

  1. Numblr

Scrabble with numbers? Awesome! Kids of all ages/abilities will love using numbers to form correct equations. This app can be set at many levels to reinforce basic operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

  1. 3D Brain

It’s hard to recommend any single science exploration app because so many areas of science have apps specific to their content. But 3D Brain is special, allowing kids to explore inside rather than outside their bodies. Click on a lobe of the brain to be transported inside the functions that make us human. This can be especially interesting and informative for a child with health concerns, who may be able to use this app to understand not only how the brain works, but aspects of their own brain that make them unique.

Garth Sundem
Garth Sundem is a parent, husband, GeekDad and author of books including "Real Real Kids, Real Stories, Real Change". Find him at www.garthsundem.com.

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