KinderTown transforms mobile devices into powerful teaching tools by finding and organizing the best educational apps for kids ages 3-8 years old. Our mission is to improve early childhood education by empowering busy parents with the tools to be better teachers. KinderTown is a fully self-funded startup founded by a successful entrepreneur.
About the Director of Education Role:
We are actively looking to hire a full-time Director of Education. The ideal applicant will have experience running a preschool or kindergarten classroom and can also talk about mobile educational apps like the geekiest of tech geeks.
Here’s what you need to know:
What you’ll do:
Review educational apps and organize them based on subjects and target skill levels
Write blog posts, emails and other materials highlighting activities parents can do to have deeper and more educational interactions with their kids
In conjunction with TIme To Play do weekly video app reviews
Help drive future KinderTown product decisions by providing an expert educational perspective
Connect with parents, teachers and developers to learn from and guide KinderTown to support their unique needs
Even more cool stuff we’d rather not talk about publicly
What we’re looking for (note: these aren’t requirements):
4 year degree in early childhood education, elementary education, child psychology or related degree
Strong background in designing curriculums for children 3-8 years old
Knowledge of best practices for using technology as a learning tool
Experience as a power user of educational iPhone and iPad apps for kids
Strong opinions about how technology should be used for learning in and out of the classroom
Experience running a preschool or kindergarten classroom
Great writing skills
Willingness to work as a freelance contractor
Desire to work for a startup and an appreciation for its perks and challenges
*Experience designing mobile educational games or children’s educational media a HUGE plus*
Wonder if you’re a fit? Try answering these questions:
What are your top 3 favorite educational apps for preschoolers? What makes them great from an educational perspective? What makes them great from a usability perspective?
What activity can parents do in conjunction with one of the above apps to interact with their kids and extend the learning offline?
What skills critical to early childhood development do you think can better be taught with use of mobile technology?
We are a remote team with people in New York City and Austin. We prefer candidates be located near one of these cities, but this is not a requirement.
Please email email@example.com with answers to the three questions above along with a resume.
Subject: Social Studies
Category: Social Skills, People and Places
Age: 3 to 4
Price: FREE (with in-app purchase for extra pictures and packs)
So, your toddler is getting past the beloved traditional peekaboo stage. Growing up too fast? You both enjoyed the activity? Knock Knock Family by Curio Makers takes the traditional peekaboo game to another level.
Enter the app and listen to hear a knock on the door. Your child then decides who is at the door. Three cutouts are in the door give visual clues. Tap and swipe and the visitor is revealed.
The game can be customized with your child’s family and friends as the visitor. Voices can be recorded on the device. I recorded my voice wishing one of ours a “happy Birthday” and bringing a flower (each visitor is paired with an object for the embedded shape matching puzzle). Praise happens frequently in the app and gets repetitive, but the gameplay is engaging.
The FREE app includes six sample family members. Interesting add ons can be purchased. If you add on, you need to hit “restore prior purchase” top Right. We really love that parents and kids can customize the app with their own pictures, text, speech and choosing a special gift for each guest to bring.
Kay Welch, Education Advisor for KinderTown
Show What You Know
Activity 1: Hide and Seek with Balloons on a Rainy Day
What you’ll need:
10 balloons blown up
Permanent magic marker
1. Blow up 10 balloons and number them 1 to 10 with a permanent marker. For older children you could use numbers counting by 2’s, 5’s perhaps 100, 200, alphabet, ABC order.
2. Hide the balloons around the house. If you play this with more than one of your children have one child do this part. Have your kids work as a team to find the balloons in order. If they find the 8, they can’t get it out of its spot until they have found 1-7.
Our youngest son loved playing this game with his big brothers. After finding all of the balloons, he enjoyed counting all 10 and identifying the numbers. It was wonderful watching the kids work together to accomplish a group goal. Hiding the balloons upstairs and downstairs worked out well because it got my active boys moving around indoors on a rainy day.
Activity 2: Making Faces
Get out those old magazines you have around the house. Cut out the eyes, noses and mouthes of the people, animals and drawings from the magazine. Shoot to have 3 to 5 different choices for each body part.
Put the cut-outs out for your child to choose from. Using a baking sheet or colored piece of paper, watch your child make and match the body parts together to make silly faces.
It is a week of giving for us at KinderTown! In partnership with StoryToys, the developers of Farm 123, we are giving away a $25 iTunes gift card and 5 codes for Farm 123.
Here’s How to Win
Our contest is via Rafflecopter, which makes it much easier for us to notify you of winning. Winners will receive an email the Monday after the contest ends. Double check to be sure you don’t have KinderTown emails ending up in your spam folder!
Log into the Rafflecopter to like, rate, tweet and share! We will randomly select winners via the Rafflecopter entries. The contest will end this Sunday, May 19th at midnight EDT.
Take 2 minutes to watch our video review of Farm 123
Farm 123 ~ StoryToys Jr
Category: Number Sense
Concept: Counting/Reasoning, Number Recognition
Age: 3 to 5
Price: $2.99 (There is a FREE, try before you buy, version too)
Farm 123 StoryToys Jr is a delightful app for the youngest of app users. This interactive ebook makes counting come to life with colorful animals that kids need to count, tap, move and interact with while hearing and seeing numbers. The app is playful with plenty of interactive hotspots, silly kid-friendly language, and counting/number games. A new favorite app at KinderTown, having Farm 123 on your iPad or iPhone is money well spent!
Age: 4 to 7
Toontastic Jr. Shrek inspires the beginning storyteller in your family to create tales starring their favorite Shrek characters. Jump right into the game play and create stories by choosing beginning, middle and ending scenes. The app takes you through a short scene intro, then invites you to continue the tale with the in-app recording feature that captures your voice telling the story. The app also records how you manipulate and move the characters and props in the scene. The “Story Share” feature is perfect for storytelling with friends and family who are near and far. In a secure part of the app that you set up and manage, you can log in and connect with friends who also have the app on their devices. KinderTown highly recommends Toontastic Jr. Shrek as an app that helps your child’s stories blossom.
Category: Pre-Reading, Reading
Concept: Word Play, Phonics
Age: 4 to 6
Alphabet Animals I Mix breaks apart three syllable words for your child to rebuild. Words like cucumber, strawberry and dinosaur are paired with matching animal pictures. These words and pictures are split apart by syllable into three pieces. Kids swipe across the top, middle and bottom or the app to build real or pretend words. The app never rewards you for building a specific word. Kids just swipe along hearing individual syllables to make silly words and discover words they know. There are 13 words to build in the app and no real game play or feedback, so this might be a short app for some kids. We like it for the discovery, reinforcement and freeplay built around syllables.
Age: 5 to 7
Word Wonderland is a phonics game app for kids working on beginning vowel sounds to more complex blends and digraphs. This app has a game feel as kids need to get the frog across the lily pads by dragging and dropping words that follow a given phonics rule. Multiple kids can have their own account in the app. Kids enjoy the game play and get to practice their phonics knowledge in the process. Not a rich educational app, but perfect for a homework break or a little bit of learning in a playful app. There is a free version to try before you buy, which we recommend for parents to take a look at.
Category: Number Sense
Concept: Counting/Reasoning, Number Recognition, Operations
Age: 3 – 6
Ask most young children how old they are and they will answer you by raising a series of fingers. If you are lucky, you’ll get a verbal answer as well. Kids initial number learning is inexplicably tied to their fingers. While reliance on finger counting can backfire as kids get older and work on numbers beyond 10, for our young kids little fingers are a big part of learning!
Our app today, Little Digits, recognizes how important finger counting is for kids. This free-play game provides a completely unique experience, only possible because of touch screen technology. With a simple placement of a finger, or set of fingers on the screen, kids see a matching colorful number monster appear on the screen. The number monster changes depending on the amount of digits you have on the screen.
There are three play areas in the app that reinforce numbers 1 through 10, early addition and subtraction. There is even an option to record your voice saying the names of each presented number and symbol.
Before playing Little Digits you need to turn off multitasking gestures from the settings app on your device. The iPad has a feature where you can open, close and switch between apps by swiping or pinching with four to five fingers on the screen. You don’t want that to happen while you are playing Little Digits, so simply turn that feature off on your iPad.
See for yourself the learning potential by taking 2 minutes to watch our video review of Little Digits.
Show What You Know
Activity 1: Sticker Math
Kids love stickers, we love stickers. Why not do math with stickers! Play a game of sticker math using stickers from around the house or after purchasing the easy to remove “dot stickers” from your local store.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Encourage quantity by giving your child prompts like: Put two stickers on you cheeks. Put one sticker on your nose. Put five stickers on your finger tips.
Sticker Math Art: On a piece of paper ask your child to put down a given amount of stickers, anywhere on the paper. Ask them to count the stickers. Then create objects on paper integrating the stickers. Example: 5 stickers could be 5 robots with one sticker for each belly.
Make a sticker ruler: On a long strip of paper, add your stickers one after another on the paper and write the numbers in order like a ruler. Measure objects around the house, counting how many stickers long and tall each object is.
Activity 2: Guess My Number
Choose a secret number and have your child give a range that your number falls within. You can start small, with 1 to 10, or use a larger range (such as 1 to 100, 25 to 75, or 150 to 250). Kids take a guess at your number. Respond to their guess by telling them whether their guess is larger or smaller than your number. Keep playing until the number is correctly guessed.
Children will quickly develop strategies that help them zero in on your secret number. To extend this game, choose a secret number from a wide range such as 1 to 500 and give one clue. Clues such as, the number is even, it ends in 4, or the sum of the digits is 9. Give kids a context to start guessing.
Dinorama gives your child a dinosaur zoo to successfully manage. Start with one dinosaur and grow your zoo by keeping customers happy and interested. Managing money is an important part of running the zoo, so kids will experience the importance of saving, spending and planning for future needs. Overall a fun app that is completely child safe and does require reading.
KidsCraft is an easy to use app that guides parents through fun activities to do off the app with their kids. When you open up the app you’ll find multiple craft projects with easy to follow directions and inspirational pictures. Activities include working with modeling clay, felt name art, wax drawing, making maps and building a city – all using items you could find around the home or on a quick trip to the store. This is not an app young kids will be able to use independently, it’s designed for parents to inspire creative play in the home.
EyePaint MyDIARY uses your child’s world to create art. Each picture is custom colored using the world around them. Tap a portion of the picture and it transforms into whatever pattern kids are viewing through the devices camera. We love how kids get inspiration from their world using this app, and then recreate those textures using traditional drawing tools. The app is also great for kids to think about the different ways they can transform the same picture. The possibilities are endless!
Princess Fairy Tale Maker brings the best features of the developers drawing app – Draw and Tell – into an outstanding storytelling experience. Choose from a blank page, your photos or one of the apps backgrounds and start creating. Lots of stickers with characters, props, faiytale friends, accessories and text can be added to the scene and manipulated when you are recording. Looking for inspiration? Try out the variety of coloring pages where you decorate a pre-made image and add it into your story. Simply drag, drop and put your images in order to create custom story sequences.
It is teacher appreciation week, a time to send a big thank you to the classroom teachers and other inspirational instructors in our kids lives. If you are still looking for something special for the educators and mentors that your kids spend their days with, look no further! The Dandelion Moms, specifically the creative Melissa Northway, have created a curated list of meaningful craft ideas you can create together with your child this week.
Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week:
Since 1984, the National PTA has designated time each May for communities nationwide to honor teachers for their work with children. Parents, students, and schools across America celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week to show appreciation for the work and dedication of teachers and reaffirm the commitment to parent-teacher partnerships.
Mrs. Clinger was my sixth grade teacher and I still think about her after all these years. She was just an amazing and caring teacher and really gave 110% to the kids! So in support of all the great teachers – we found some really crafts you can give to your kids teachers in honor of Teacher Appreciation Week that starts this month.
Age: 3 to 8
Every so often we come across a story creation app that we just have to share. Kid in Story, from LocoMotive Labs, is one of our current favorites. While story making takes some extra effort from an adult, you’ll find features that help make the process move a bit quicker.
Templates: You’ll find a variety of templates already created in the app, with more coming in future updates. Titles like “The Playground” and “Let’s Get a Haircut” show how you can create a simple early reader book or familiarize your child with a new experience. The great thing about the templates is you can edit pictures, text, and delete or add pages. It is nice not to have to create every story from scratch.
Picture Editing: Each story is built around pictures. You can use the pictures from stories in the community library or create your own from scratch. Instead of having to edit your pictures outside of the app to work with Kid in Story, you can do the editing right in the app with the easy to use move and scale tool. Our only suggestion is to be careful with your changes as there aren’t undo buttons in all areas of the app yet!
Alpha Tool: Pictures alone don’t really put kids in the middle of the story. Being able to “add kid” does! In Kid in Story you can choose to “add kid” into any page in any story. The trouble with most apps is that you have to find a close up of your child or fit their face into a circle cut out of the image, but not with Kid in Story. They included an alpha tool that lets you choose any picture and remove the background from the image. Note: As with any alpha tool, it is best to choose a picture with contrasting colors between your child and the background for the clearest results.
Text and Speech: Each page allows you to easily type in text and add speech. Kids can tap to hear the speech read more than once per page.
Sharing: You can read all your stories right in Kid In Story. If you don’t want to keep your story creations to yourself, LocoMotive Labs have solved this issue as well. Each story can be emailed, added to dropbox and then viewed in the free Kid in Story Reader app. It would be just as easy to read the book in iBooks or another tool already on our devices, but quality books don’t easily transfer to those apps. The Kid in Story Reader allows you to have a much more engaging and kid-friendly reading experience.
Overall we see a lot of value in Kid in Story. If you have ever purchased a set of early reading books you realize how expensive it can be, and how quickly they are consumed. We highly recommend Kid in Story for parents who want to create a personal, short story library using the words their kids favorite words and subjects. What a great way to be reading at home!
Age: 3 to 8
When you share a story with your family and friends, they will need the free Kid in Story Reader app. You can’t author or edit with Kid in Story Reader, but it is an excellent tool for reading books created with Kid in Story. With the Kid in Story Reader app you can also simply download a book from the community library and start reading. The nice thing about the community library is that it allows parents and teachers to use the resources of others instead of always having to re-invent the wheel (so to speak). The stories in the library are curated and checked for kid-safe content. You’ll find this community has three books currently, but will be growing.
Show What You Know
Activity 1: Paint Swatch Fun!
Identifying syllable patterns in words are important for helping your child to learn to visual decode full words.
Stop off at your local home goods store and pick up some paint swatches. Try and grab the swatches that have a square cut already on the swatch. If you can find any, take a razor and cut a window in the paint swatch.
When working on your spelling lists or reading a book drag the paint swatch along the text, word by word. You’re using the paint swatch to help your child isolate individual words and the syllables in longer words. This also works great on the iPad as you can touch the screen using a paint swatch without the screen reacting!
Extend the specific syllable pattern learning by having your child rewrite the spelling words using a marker or other bright color on the specific syllable pattern to call attention to the pattern in each word.
For kids not yet decoding multi-syllable words, use the paint swatch to move from word to word while reading a books. Young kids can also lay the swatch to reveal a sight word or letter they know well.
Activity 2: Printable Books
As we mentioned earlier, keeping the just-right early readers that your child needs can get expensive! Here are a few of our favorite websites for free early readers that you can easily print, fold, color and add to your child’s home library.
Launchpad Toys (http://launchpadtoys.com) announced today the release of Toontastic Jr. Shrek, a playful movie making app inspired by Shrek, the beloved DreamWorks Animation SKG, Inc. (Nasdaq: DWA) animated film, available exclusively on the App Store for iPhone, iPad & iPod touch.
Toontastic Jr. Shrek is a unique, innovative, and educational app in which kids ages 3 & up can create, remix, and retell the classic Shrek story all while recording their own voice.
Featuring a host of Shrek characters and scenes from the classic Shrek movie, Toontastic Jr. Shrek brings out the moviemaker in every child while teaching key storytelling skills that promote creativity at a young age.
With Toontastic Jr. Shrek, families can also connect, talk, and create movies collaboratively online using Launchpad Toys’ groundbreaking new StoryShare feature.
The Toontastic Jr. Shrek App is available for $2.99 from the App Store on iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch or at www.AppStore.com.
For a limited time, KinderTown is offering a 30 day free trial of the KinderTown Power Parent Membership which gives you complete access to Power Packs, weekly newsletters and free search. The KinderTown Power Parent Membership is already being used by parents to find activities, app and product recommendations tailored to their child’s developmental learning needs.
Power Parent Membership Highlights
Complete access to the KinderTown Power Packs. Power Packs are “mini” lesson plans designed specifically for parents that guide them in teaching their children specific subjects. They go beyond apps to combine learning and play. Each Power Pack has ideas for activities, games, assessments, and other materials that parents can easily do right in their home.
Weekly Show & Tell newsletter delivered right to your inbox with our featured app of the week and supportive learning-play activities.
Full access to KinderTown’s complete app store including video reviews and free app search.
What happens after the free trial?
To start your free trial you don’t need to give us a credit card or any other form of payment. When the trial expires you’ll just see a message that you will need to subscribe for further access to the Power Parent Membership benefits.
How to get started
Download the free KinderTown app and sign up for the free trial membership on the home screen. Signing up is fast and simple through Facebook or by creating an account with KinderTown.