Top 3 Apps for 3 Year Olds

If you have a 3-year-old in your home you are probably looking for new and creative solutions to add to your repertoire of daily activities to satisfy your child’s eagerness to explore, discover, and problem solve.

 

Check out these top 3 apps to encourage your child’s natural curiosity, as well as our free Power Pack focused on ways to interact with books with your 3-year-old. Then download KinderTown and search by age for more app suggestions for your young learner.

 

Grandma’s Preschool – iOS only

grandma's preschool

The app begins with the bus dropping the kids off at Grandma’s school which resembles Grandma’s house. The house is organized like a typical preschool where children can move around and choose a learning activity by tapping on letters, numbers, science experiments, or an art center. Additional activity areas that can be explored include nap time, outdoor recess, centers with books and toys, and a white board for teaching and learning. Children are positively rewarded for their effort with grandma’s dancing, clapping, and high fives. The app has a nice balance of digital play and learning exploration. You may need to monitor and encourage your child to visit the more academically-focused learning areas as the app does not regulate how much time is spent in the play arena. Grandma’s character engages players with her positive spirit and dancing energy, however, some present-day grandmas may not like the way grandma is represented with gray hair and glasses. The app does not require any in-app purchases and is available for iPhone and iPad for $2.99.

 

Beck and Bo – iOS, Androidbeck and bo

Beck and Bo delights young children with a dynamic free play environment that always has a new surprise popping up. There is no pressure to complete each thematic area in a specific way, which is something we appreciate about the app. Upon entering the app children will find twelve thematic scenes. Objects or questions are presented one at time in each scene for kids to experience thematic vocabulary. Once a scene is finished they can continue to play in the area or view each object in their own scrapbook. Beck and Bo is a fantastic app for playful discovery that understands how young children learn.

 

Monkey Preschool Explorer – iOS, Android, Kindle Firemonkey preschool explorers

The Monkeys provide an all new entertaining app that is simple for children to navigate, includes interesting graphics, and incorporates exploration as the center theme. The Monkey Preschool Explorers app provides a mixed review of early childhood concepts such as colors, numbers, shapes, letters, and association skills. One game includes Milo the Monkey driving a jeep through the jungle and children have to tap on the lower case and upper case letter indicated. At the end, children can play a fun racing game and choose a hat for Milo as a reward. The developers of Monkey Preschool have a “Thups Knack” system which changes the difficulty of the game as children play. The app costs  $2.99 and is appropriate for children ages 3-5.

 

Learn about how to incorporate select apps into your child’s play time, and learn new offline activities to expand their knowledge of books.


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Top Science Apps for Young Children

Young children are keenly aware of their surroundings, which inevitably relates to science. Check out these great apps for young children interested in science.
 

Grandpa in Space – iOS only

Grandpa in Space

Grandpa in Space provides children with an engaging science experience where they can learn science facts.  The app does a nice job of integrating other content areas while learning about science. Other skills presented in the app include: identifying shapes and opposites, memory skills, and rhyming. The app presents the skills in an outer space-themed environment where children can design their own space ship, ride in it with grandpa, and watch short interesting movies about each planet in between practicing skills. We love grandpa’s guidance in learning and his high fives!

 

Weird But True by National Geographic – iOS only

weird but true

Weird But True is a fantastic free app for children who love to read books with fun science facts or impress their friends and family with interesting tidbits of information. The facts are presented to children in a colorful way, and they can rate the “weirdness” of the app and collect their favorites by pressing the heart. The Weird But True app is free and contains a “pack” of free facts. Additional packs require an in-app purchase that is gated with a math fact (that children may be able to solve). We suggest that you monitor your child’s use of the app so he or she does not mistakenly make in-app purchases.  A fascinating app for the fact-lover in your house!
 

GazziliScience

Gazzili Science  – iOS only
Play with items in a water tank, plant a seed and watch it grow, or taste an apple pie! Gazzili Science introduces young learners to science topics in a kid-friendly environment. In the app, kids progress through six science learning areas that teach through discovery and narration. After completing each area your child can go to the Gazzili fun page where prizes earned throughout the game are used to build a unique contraption. The app also includes an option to turn on the printed narration of the app for hearing impaired students, and that’s pretty cool!

 

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Pre-Reading Skills: Beyond Letters and Sounds

Preschool and Kindergarten students (ages 4 to 6) learn to identify letters when learning how to read. It is also valuable for children at this age to practice rhyming, identifying letter sounds, segmenting words into individual sounds, and identifying syllables in words to support and strengthen their beginning reading skills.

Read with Doc McStuffins: Letters and Sounds

docmcstuffins

This app offers five  pre-reading activities for preschoolers. It’s much more than an app to practice letters. The app focuses on the following skills: tracing and matching lower and upper case letters, recognizing letters and letter sounds, listening and matching rhymes, determining syllables, and hearing beginning, middle and ending sounds in words. The activities are expertly created and simulate lessons in preschool and kindergarten classrooms. The app will grow with your child as he learns the letters and gains reading skills. The animation and characters in this app come to life (no surprise from Disney) to motivate your child and help him focus on learning the skills. KinderTown is impressed with the quality of the content provided by the app. Our child testers enjoyed the balance of rewarding activities with the learning games. This app ranks at the top as one of the best we’ve seen for preschoolers.

Parents, watch your preschooler interact with the app and then simulate the activities in the real world with your child for extra practice. For example, the app uses common words to determine the number of syllables in a word. Ask your child questions like, “How many syllables do you hear in the word macaroni?” “How many syllables are in the word banana?”  To imitate the rhyming games, ask your child, “Which word rhymes with cat, bat, or wagon?”

Check out the Power Pack: Letters and Sounds: Ages 5-6 for more tips about how to effectively use apps to help your child learn pre-reading skills, as well as hands-on activities you can do with your child.

 

Do you have a kindergarten or budding learner who investigating letters and sounds? This Power Pack is for you!


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Language Arts Apps for Elementary Students

Here are a few Language Arts Apps for elementary students, approximately grades K-3.

If you are using Spelling You See – Listen and Write, check out Starfall ABC’s and Gappy Learns Reading.

 

Bluster Deluxe – iOS only

Bluster deluxe

Bluster Deluxe challenges students to make connections in word patterns as they read. Content focuses on rhyming, prefixes and suffixes, synonyms, homophones, adjectives and more. The game offers options for playing against others or working independently. Children will need to have a solid foundation with reading word lists in order to avoid frustration. If your child is beginning to read chapter books, this app would be a great fit to boost their vocabulary.

 

 

Starfall ABCs – available on iOS, Kindle Fire and Google Play

starfall abc's

Starfall ABCs brings each letter to life with pictures, animation, games, songs, and stories! Using a clear and articulate voice, each letter is identified by name, sounds, and words. Children interact with each letter by tapping, sliding, sorting, and dragging objects through five or more screens of engaging phonics learning. Many of the letters include real pictures as well as animations. The most exciting part of this app may be the sign language animations from the bottom menu! Starfall ABCs is a must-have app for children learning their letters, letter sounds, and beginning to read.

 

Gappy Learns Reading – iOS, Google Play, Kindle Fire

Gappy's First Words

Gappy Learns Reading supports young kids by building words letter by letter and sound by sound. Gappy gets lost from his home and your child needs to build 10 words to get him to his house. After building 10 words, prizes can be earned to customize the house. There are four levels in the app to accommodate a wide variety of abilities, from early learners who are beginning to work on letter identification, to early readers who have greater knowledge of how words are formed. Customization in the app includes turning on and off word sets and letter formation. This is a well-designed app for learning about letters and sounds while building words.

 

Reading Raven Vol. 2 – iOS only

readingraven2

Reading Raven Vol. 2 continues the excellent language development play from the original app. Designed to build on Reading Raven Vol. 1, kids work through digraphs (sh, qu), blends (spr, mp), and reading words and sentences with word lengths up to six letters. The play is the same with colorful thematic areas for repeated practice that thoughtfully build on each other. Adults can customize the activities for their child’s needs, and learn about all the levels right inside the app.

 

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Multiplication Apps for 5-8 Year Olds

If you have a child learning their multiplication facts, then these apps will be an engaging alternative to flashcards. Check out the money app for students at this level who are learning how to count more complex money amounts.

Pet Bingo  iOS only

Read KinderTown's reviews of top math apps.

Pet Bingo provides practice for students who are learning to master their basic facts. The app can be used by several different students by setting up multiple profiles. Math problems are answered by identifying the correct answers on the bingo board. Students have the option to access a hint to help solve each problem. Play continues until the student earns five in a row on the bingo board. Once the student correctly answers five in a row, they earn a prize in order to care for their pretend pet. Instructors can check the report card section for each user to monitor progress in learning different types of facts, such as adding 0 to a number or adding doubles.

 

Quick Math Multiplication Table and Arithmetic Game iOS only

Read KinderTown's review of QuickMath.

QuickMath works to improve basic math fact fluency by offering the additional challenges of speed and accuracy. Students can select the operation they want to practice or choose the mixed operation mode. When math facts are presented, students write their answer anywhere on the screen with a finger or stylus. The app automatically adjusts to students’ levels and increases the difficulty of the facts as they progress. Students are encouraged to beat their scores from past sessions. Quick Math allows for multiple users, so siblings, friends, or classmates can use the app together. Instructors can track student progress and see how much time has been spent using it. The app is $1.99 and appropriate for students ages 6-12.

 

Motion Math: Wings  iOS only

motionmath

Motion Math: Wings integrates 6 ways of seeing quantities to reinforce multiplication. The app shows multiplication in six different visual forms: rows of dots, clusters of dots, “groups” of dots, a grid, a labeled grid, and symbols. Game play is simple; students simply tilt their devices to move their birds from side to side, lining them up with the amount of blocks or numbers that equal the greatest number. Levels range from beginner to advanced (which will challenge adults). There is an option to purchase additional levels.

 

Freefall Money iOS, Android

Freefall Money

Freefall Money tackles the concept of counting money. This app does not include instruction on how to count coins, so your child should have a basic understanding of this concept before they use this app.  Activities include sorting coins, matching groups of coins to a total amount, and adding coin values to find the total amount. Instructors can set the number of coins that are presented to students in each activity, ranging from 3 coins to 10. The coins can be moved around in order from least to greatest to assist students in counting the total value of the coins.

 

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Best Math Apps for 6 year-olds

If you have a 5- to 7-year-old at home who is working approximately at the first grade math level, or who is working through Math-U-See’s Alpha level, your child would benefit from these apps:

 

Base Ten Bingo  iOS only

BaseTenbingoThis app also exists as a website: http://www.abcya.com/base_ten_bingo.htm

Base Ten Bingo is appropriate for students developing number sense, counting skills, and place value understanding of units, tens, and hundreds. Each student can create a personalized avatar and then choose from options such as Bingo, Practice, My Bugs, or Home. In the Bingo section, a student can choose to play with units; units and tens; or units, tens, and hundreds. In the practice section, students must read and make the number that appears with the units, tens, and hundreds blocks. For each section completed correctly, a playful bug is added to the My Bugs section.

 

Todo Telling Time  iOS, Android

todo

Todo Telling Time includes six games that develop skill in telling time. Three levels of play are included in each of the games. The concepts about the clock, such as counting by 5′s and arranging the numbers correctly on the clock face, are developed in several of the games. Additional games related to the concept of time include understanding the days of the week, months of the year, and the calendar. The app includes a fun quiz section that can be used to assess a student’s development of these skills.

 

Motion Math – Hungry Fish Available on iOS, Android, Kindle Fire, Apps for Windows, Windows Phone

motion math hungry fish

Motion Math: Hungry Fish helps students learn how to build quantities. Children discover how to create different quantities through free play. Successful combination of numbers to equal a given quantity results in the fish growing and earning rewards within the game. Addition practice is provided in this version, with options to buy activities related to subtraction and negatives. As always, Motion Math does a great job of introducing how to play the game through thoughtfully scaffolding strategies on familiar counting techniques. Multiple children can use this app to save their progress and easily navigate between easier and harder levels. Overall this app provides a beautiful environment to learn and practice the different ways quantities can be created.

 

Measurement HD available for iPad only

measurement hd

Measurement HD consists of five engaging measurement games. Students learn to move the hands of a clock, compare objects that are heavy and light, explore the concepts of more and less and long and short, and learn the months of the year.

 

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Gift Guide: iTikes Map

iTikes MapiTikes has created a nice hybrid product for early learners. The iTikes Map is compatible with your iPhone but can also be a stand-alone toy (although that sounds a little sad, doesn’t it?). The map offers several ways to interact with different types of maps. The map comes with interchangeable card maps of different subjects: dinosaurs, world facts, music, solar system, world cats, and world dogs. Each of the maps use three different levels of difficulty on the topic in order to engage a wider age range of children. When playing with the map, use the pen to tap on the pictures around the map to hear fun facts to learn about the region. The dogs and cats map of the world was especially of interest to my daughter.  If using the iPhone, the app will provide additional tidbits of information in the form of 3D interactive images and animated facts. The iTikes map is a great way to introduce children to different topics around the world while building map-reading skills. The toy is easy to use for young children, and teaches a wide variety of topics.

iTikes App

Where to Buy: Amazon, Wal-Mart

Who it’s great for: Children ages 3-6 with an interest in other cultures and places around the world.

Educational Value: The interactive maps provide many different types of educational information on topics around the world using videos, music, 3D diagrams, and interactive features in the free app. The toy offers many options: different maps, use with or without the iPhone, and three different levels of play. It’s more than a toy; it’s an educational experience.

Platform: iOS for iPhones

Price:$20.48

 

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KinderTown iPad Giveaway [OVER]

We’d like to show our appreciation of your hard work as parents and educators with a few giveaways.

UPDATED

 

Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway!

 

Kimberly K. had the most entries and won the iPad mini.

 

The follow-up winners each won a $10 Demme Learning gift card.

 

All of the winners have been contacted via email.

 



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Gift Guide: Coding

Here are some less techy gifts that will inspire that same higher-level thinking and problem-solving required for programming.

We’ve recently talked about apps that promote coding skills, so here are some less techy gifts that will inspire that same higher-level thinking and problem-solving required for programming.

Hello Ruby: Adventures in Coding by: Linda Liukas

hello ruby

Hello Ruby is a captivating story about a little girl named Ruby who has to solve a puzzle. She is spunky and bold. She is given a map to solve the problem and must travel to different locations in an adventure world. Along the way she is solving different clues in order to gain the rubies she needs. The book is organized into chapters and each chapter includes a problem to solve and introduces a special character.  In the back of the book, there are activities to complete with your child that go along with each chapter and use the type of thinking skills presented in the chapter. For example, Ruby learns how to repeat the task of connecting sticks with rope to create a ladder, and uses that skill to solve the problem of reaching the ruby. Overall, the storybook is delightfully crafted and appeals to children ages 6-9, with parents interested in facilitating learning activities.

Robot Turtles: The Game for Little Programmers!

Robot Turtles

Robot Turtles is a board game for kids that revolves around the concepts of the Logo programming language. Players as young as 4 can dictate the movement of their turtle on the board by using cards that give commands to the turtle. The commands tell the turtle to turn, move forward, or side to side. The goal is for your turtle to reach its own jewel. The game has other components that can be introduced gradually once your child has a basic understanding of how the game works, such as obstacles, repeat cards, and lasers. These additional components make the game interesting and challenging for older children. Lastly, Robot Turtle has done a great job of making programming understandable for parents, and providing clear directions in the booklet that accompany the game. I especially appreciated the Quick Start Guide and the additional resources provided online. The game is well developed for parents as well as children.

 

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PBS Kids ScratchJr

Want to explore coding with your child? Check out PBS Kids ScratchJr, and see what you can create together. pbskidsscratchjr

PBS has developed a coding app using their most famous characters in an interface designed to inspire your youngest coder. The app features coloring blocks that snap together to create a code for the characters to follow to make a mini-movie. Make Peg and Cat jump up and down, or make sea creatures swim with the Kratt brothers.  KinderTown likes the “Story Starters” section to fuel your learner with the possibilities of coding. This is helpful for parents new to coding, too. Also, check out the “How to” video the first time you explore the app. You’ll find that the beauty of coding is that your child is creating with technology, not just interacting with a device. The app is appropriate for children ages 5-8, and is available for both iOS and Android.

Additionally, check out our other recommended apps for coding with young children.

 

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