iAssociate is an addictive word-association game. Players start with one word or topic and then use connotations, synonyms and definitions associated with that word to build a web of words. For example, "movie genres" leads to "thriller" which connects to "Michael Jackson," then to "King of Pop," then "scream," which takes you to another movie genre -- horror.
iAssociate 2 is available for free.
Web Extra Pick: Language Arts Windows
Carson-Dellosa publishing, ages 6+
Younger kids can use these self-checking cards over and over again -- provided you use a dry erase marker rather than a Sharpie. The cards fit in a binder and quiz kids on consonants, vowel sounds, plural endings and the like. It also comes in Math Windows.
Web Extra Pick: 'Words With Friends' by Newtoy, Inc.
Free/$2.99 (ads/ad-free), ages 12+, Available on /iPhone/iPod Touch/iPad
If you like Scrabble, you'll like Words With Friends, a word game that you can play on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch with friends. So if you have a texting, Facebook, Twitter-obsessed teen, this is a great way to get them thinking while they chat online.
Web Takeaway Science Tricks
Plan a treasure hunt with clues and puzzles to analyze and solve.
Chores can be a great way to talk about science: Why is vinegar a surprisingly effective cleaning product? Etc.
Encourage them to keep a journal or help them start a blog.
Buy the script of their favorite movie or grab a play (and take turns "acting"). Or encourage them to write their own scripts and possibly film it themselves.
Bring back the pen pal -- either via snail mail or email.
Start a summer book club.
Introduce them to the Scholastic Story Starter, which offers prompts to get their creative writing juices flowing.