Best Apps for Creativity for Ages 3-5

These apps focused on creativity will inspire the artist, scientist, teacher, and musician in your student.

Creativity is the ability to think in new, unique, or unusual ways. Creativity gives us the ability to problem solve and learn cognitive skills. This is why, especially for early learners, creativity is extremely important. Luckily for us, creativity comes in many forms. We’ll give you a start with these creativity apps that will inspire the artist, scientist, teacher, and musician in your student.

 

My PlayHome School (iOS, Android)

My PlayHome School is a digital playhouse that inspires conversation, role playing, and collaborative interaction. Manipulate a variety of character dolls throughout different rooms of the school. There are plenty of interactive elements in each room to make the play much more dynamic and extends a child’s interest with the app. For example, your child can play being a teacher, or experiment in the science room. This is an excellent app that lets kids take ownership of their play through exploration, storytelling, and role playing. They do an excellent job of adding rooms and characters with free updates. The app is $3.99 and does not include in-app purchases or advertisement, just lots of fresh ways for your child to create and explore. The app is for iPhone and iPad and is appropriate for children ages 3-5.

 

Read KinderTown's review of My PlayHome School.

 

Dr. Panda Art Class (iOS, Android)

There are six different virtual art activities for your child to experiment with in Dr. Panda Art Class. Create your own pottery with the virtual lathe. Then fire it and paint it. Fold origami paper to make a virtual pinwheel to play with in the wind. Design a virtual kite to sail through the sky. Put colored pegs on a board to create a design. The best part is that they can experience the process over and over again and play with their finished creations. The app is $2.99 and appropriate for children 3-5.

 

Read KinderTown's review of Dr. Panda Art Class.

 

Sago Mini Sound Box (iOS, Android, Amazon)

Sago Mini Sound Box, called a 21st century rattle by the developers, is a fantastic early sound exploration experience. Nine different thematic areas produce a variety of sounds with a tap, shake, or slide on the iPad. Sounds emerge from colorful spheres of various sizes that materialize as you touch the screen. Join your child to make a chorus of barking dogs, farm animals, or our personal favorite, the crystal clear chimes. The app is appropriate for children ages 3-5 and is $2.99.

 

Read KinderTown's review of Sago Mini Sound Box.

 

Draw and Tell (iOS only)

Draw and Tell brings the best features of drawing apps into one fabulous art experience. Choose from a blank page, your photos, or one of the backgrounds in in the app and start creating. Tools like crayons, stickers, paint, and erasers are used while this app records your child singing, talking, and moving objects as they create on the screen. Not feeling up to creating your own picture? Try out the variety of coloring pages where you get to drop paint into the lines to create a vibrant scene. This is another top free app from Duck Duck Moose. It is appropriate for children 3-5.

 

Read KinderTown's review of Draw and Tell.

 

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8 of the Best Educational Apps for Older Children

"My children are growing out of the age range for KinderTown. Do you have any recommendations for older children?" TL;DR - yes. 😀

My children are growing out of the age range for KinderTown. Do you have any recommendations for older children? TL;DR – yes. 😀

 

This is a great question from one of our KinderTowners. Included in KinderTown are many apps that would apply to older children; while we focus on apps for ages 3-8, we have many apps at the upper age limit that extend beyond the age range. Check out these apps that work best for children ages 9-12.

 

Best Math Apps for Older Children

At this age the multiplication and division facts are typically memorized and apps are a great way to practice them. They may interest your child more than worksheets or flashcards. Check out these apps for multiplication and division facts: Operation Math works against a timer to solve math facts, which can be motivating for some children but intimidating for others. The app is setup to evoke children on a secret spy mission to solve the equations. Try Operation Math Code Squad for use with multiple children which has a similar theme. Another great app for older children is Quick Math. This app offers choices from the four operations to practice. The app works to motivate students by beating their own best time. A less intimidating timing device and less of a threat when you are competing against yourself but motivating for children.

 

Full app reviews: Operation Math | Operation Math Code Squad | Quick Math

 

Best Language Arts Apps for Older Children

For 9-12 year olds, language arts is more complex. Here are few suggestions for great apps in this subject area. Word Runners – This app works to develop your child’s comprehension skills and vocabulary in a creative way. The app is built with many different worlds where children can advance through by choosing creative adjectives, defining words, or choosing the best vocabulary work to finish a sentence. There are lots of creative opportunities to work with words as you progress through the worlds. Duolingo – this app is great for anyone learning a new language. The app is free and aims to give access to anyone who wants to learn a new language. A great resource for everyone!

 

Best Science Apps for Older Children

Science becomes more approachable at this age and children are often interested in a wide variety of topics. Capitalize on their curiosity with these apps; Sound Uncovered – This app offers a large amount of content on every aspect of sound that you can imagine. The content is diverse with interesting pictures, facts, diagrams, and multimedia activities to play with sound. If you have a fan of space concepts, the NASA app is a must have. The information is updated directly from NASA and includes amazing pictures and updates on their current and past work. Lastly, experimenting and tinkering with objects is often a fascination for children in this age range. Try the app Monster Physics. This app presents tutorials about physics concepts in the atmosphere through a fun game as well as an open ended environment for play and discovery.

 

Full app reviews: Sound Uncovered | NASA | Monster Physics

 

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3 Fun Fall Apps for Kids

Fall is upon us and most kids are engaged in learning about pumpkins, apples, and the change of seasons. Try out these fall apps to extend their learning.

Fall is upon us and most kids are engaged in learning about pumpkins, apples, and the change of seasons. Try out these fall apps to extend their learning.

 

The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin (iOS only)

The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin is a triumphant story of a pumpkin who looked different from all the others in the pumpkin patch and how those differences made him valuable. This eBook from Ocean House media brings a meaningful story with lots of interactivity to your device. There are three play modes: read to me, read myself, and auto play. We appreciate the expressive language and wordplay in the story. The app does have a narrator with a slightly scary voice and a thunderstorm scene that may make it not suitable for some children. Enjoy recording the story together with your child after you have read it and listen to it in playback mode. You just might find yourself planning a trip to a pumpkin patch after this story! This app is appropriate for children ages 3-6, and the cost is $2.99.

 

Read KinderTown's review of The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin.

Sydney the Scarecrow (iOS only)

Scarecrows are always an enjoyable addition to fall play. The app tells the story of the scarecrow and his job in the farmer’s field. He manages to make friends with all the animals he originally had to scare away. This app will work on your child’s listening comprehension as it asks the child to complete tasks with the scarecrow before turning the page. This was the favorite part for our child testers!  The art in the app is cleverly done with felt and is reminiscent of the felt board used when I was a child. The app is $1.99 and appropriate for children ages 3-5.

 

Read KinderTown's review of Sydney the Scarecrow.

It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown (iOS and Android)

The favorite Halloween special has turned into a fun story book for kids. The classic story is supplemented by engaging interactive elements such as dressing up the characters in Halloween costumes, choosing their own pumpkin, and bobbing for apples with Snoopy. Because the app tells the story in a similar manner to the movie, it will provide hours of enjoyment for you and your child. The app is $4.99 and appropriate for children ages 5-8.

 

Read KinderTown's review of It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.

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Back to School Language Arts Apps

School is back in session, but that doesn't mean the fun has to stop. Get your child engaged in language arts with these fun apps!

School is back in session, but that doesn’t mean the fun has to stop. Get your child engaged in language arts with these fun apps!

Amazon Rapids

Amazon Rapids is a new creative app that appeals to struggling readers or children who like to read digital content. The app does an excellent job of setting up an easy approachable system for children to listen to books as they are read aloud or to enjoy for independent reading. In the process of setting up the account the child and parent can choose interests together as well as a fun character and name to represent them in the app. There is a 7 day free trial that will allow you to try the experience with your child. The stories are comical and cartoon-like in nature. My daughter explained it well when she said, “It’s a text message story!” The appeal is well constructed for the next generation of digital readers! The app is free and there are different subscription options available. The content is appropriate for children who are just learning to read as well as independent readers ages 4-12.

 

Read KinderTown's review of Amazon Rapids.

Homer – Kids Learn to Read App 2-8

Homer is a full “Learn to Read” series of lessons for kids. The app features letter-sound instruction, sight word introduction, read-aloud stories, and a mixed review of concepts. The app introduces a letter and through game play children must identify the sound in the beginning, middle and end of words. This is an essential skill for developing phonemic awareness in preparation for learning to read. Also included through the lesson progression is the introduction of sight words. Sight words are words that cannot be “sounded out” but rely on more instant recognition to develop fluent reading skills.

 

The app does a nice job of mixing instruction with a review of previously-taught concepts and the reading aloud of real books, which are all key components of learning to read. This app would be appropriate for children who are learning their letter sounds and are just beginning to read, or who need a review of the letter sounds. In addition, the app encourages children to record their voice saying the letter sounds, and reading the books and words included in the app. Children are most often at this developmental level during kindergarten and first grade. In addition, the developers conducted research  with children who were beginning to read and used the app and showed that the use of the app 15 minutes a day led to an increase in their beginning reading skills. KinderTown agrees that routinely working 10-15 minutes with apps focused on reading skills will encourage your early reader’s development in this crucial area. Check out their website for a free 1 month trial. Homer is free to download but does include in-app purchases to buy additional lesson content.

 

Read KinderTown's review of Homer.

FarFaria Stories to Read Along

FarFaria is an app I can’t stop thinking about, and one I downloaded instantly. I have my master’s degree in reading, so I get excited about books for the iPad. This digital library is one of the best I have seen. It’s creatively crafted and offers something for every interest and age level. When the app launches, an enchanting map of different islands appears which correlate with the different types of digital books offered in the app. For example: Adventure Island, Classics Grove, or Animal Kingdom. Choose a location and a selection of books appear.

 

Here are some of FarFaria’s great features:

 

• Houses over 600 stories
• Five new stories are added each week
• Offline access to your favorite books
• Highlights the words read to your child
• Has an option to read myself, autoplay, or read to me
• Costs $3.99 a month or $39.99 a year

 

I know I am keeping this handy for use with my kids this school year. It would be great for travel and could be used for your bedtime or nap time routine if you are away or on the go. I always lug a few favorite books when we go away, but I’d love to replace it with FarFaria. I especially love Sing Along City. These are books that correlate to your child’s favorite songs. My daughter loves The Wheels on the Bus, so that was her first choice. Explore all the different locations to find out which is your child’s favorite.

 

Read KinderTown's review of FarFaria Stories To Read Along.

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Back to School Apps for Preschoolers

Get a head start on this school year with these fun educational apps designed for your preschoolers.

Get a head start on this school year with these fun educational apps designed for your preschoolers.

Axel Scheffler’s Flip Flap Ocean (iOS only)

This app is a creative execution of an e-book based on the book by Axel Scheffler. The illustrations in the book are structured with a split screen to show the combined features of different ocean animals to make a new animal. Each illustration has a poem that accompanies it that describes the new animal. Children can slide the animal halves to make new animals and the text changes as they create. It has delightful music and clear engaging kid voices to narrate the story. Preschoolers will especially enjoy the sing-song rhythmical nature of the text and benefit from hearing the rhyming words. There is a “read and play” option as well as “read to myself” option. The latter option would be great to use as you to sit beside your child and read the story together identifying the rhyming words as you discuss the different animals. The app is $.99 and appropriate for children ages 3-5.

 

Read KinderTown's review of Axel Scheffler's Flip Flap Ocean.

 

Grandma’s Preschool (iOS only)

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

 

Read KinderTown's review of Grandma's Preschool.

 

Tally Tots Counting (iOS, Android, Kindle)

Tally Tots makes counting fun! Numbers 1 through 20 are presented first by counting to the number, introduced with a short game and reinforced through tapping and counting while playing. Tally Tots even has a familiar number song that your child will enjoy singing as a familiar image from each game flies by. This is a great app to have for learning to identify and count up to 20! The app is $2.99 and appropriate for children ages 3-5.

 

Read KinderTown's review of TallyTots Counting.

 

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STEM Apps for Back to School

These fun apps will help engage your little learner in STEM learning.

Children develop STEM learning from an early age. You may see this STEM mindset with your child when they build with blocks, race paper airplanes, or maybe your child’s curiosity leaves them asking a lot of why and how questions. As a parent it is important to encourage your child to continue to explore the world of STEM. Whether you are just beginning to implement STEM into your child’s learning, or want your child to have extra practice, these fun apps will help engage your little learner in STEM learning.

 

The Robot Factory (iOS only)

Watch your child tinker with virtual parts to build a virtual robot in The Robot Factory. Your child will love using the camera feature to create a familiar face for their robot and adding the rocket jet pack piece to make the robot fly. In addition, the app utilizes a recording feature to allow your child to produce a personalized voice for the robot. After creating the robot, your child can experiment in the virtual play environment to see how the parts they have chosen work.  The virtual testing environment contains a variety of landscape features such as boulder traps and volcanoes that test the strength of the robot. The app is $2.99 and is appropriate for children ages 4-8.

 

Read KinderTown's review of The Robot Factory .

 

Daisy the Dinosaur (iOS only)

Daisy the Dinosaur is a free app that lays the very basic foundation for learning programming in the future. The app has two sections for your child to explore, free-play mode and challenge mode. In the free-play section, children can experiment with commands and see how Daisy moves as a result of their program. In challenge mode, children are presented with a problem to solve. They must use the commands given to complete the challenge. Use the easy drag and drop icons to make Daisy move. The amount of content in the app is not expansive, but a good amount for a free app. This app would serve as a great introduction to programming or to test your child’s interest in the topic and is appropriate for children 4-8.

 

Read KinderTown's review of Daisy the Dinosaur.

 

DragonBox Numbers (iOS, Android, Kindle)

The focus of DragonBox Numbers is to build number sense from 0-10. Your children will love the colorful boxes made into characters. There is a nice tutorial at the beginning which gives children the concept of how each number works in the app. Then combine monsters together, and make them into new numbers. For example, combine the 1-block and 1-block to make the 2- block. There is a ladder section where children need to combine the number blocks to make the given number on the ladder. For each ladder that is solved correctly the children earn a star. In the puzzle area, children play Tetris style games with the number blocks to solve the puzzle and earn coins. The coins are then used to buy new levels of increasingly difficult puzzles. Your child will enjoy this unique approach to learning and playing with numbers. The app is $7.99 and appropriate for children ages 4-6.

 

Read KinderTown's review of DragonBox Numbers.

 

Code Adventures: Programming Puzzles for Kids (iOS, Android)

The character, Aurora, introduces your child to coding in a fun environment in Code Adventures. Aurora uses speech bubbles to explain the gameplay to your child. If your child isn’t reading yet, you will need to read aloud the directions to them. Level 1 begins with the use of three basic commands in order for Aurora to collect a star or the rainbow portal. Use the red question box button at the top if your child needs support. Each command your child completes advances them slowly to challenge them incrementally to create more complex programming commands with Aurora’s guidance. The app is $3.99 and appropriate for children ages 4-8.

 

Read KinderTown's review of Code Adventures.

 

Related Blog Post:
3 Gift Ideas for Kids Who Want to Code

 

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Space Apps to Go Beyond the Solar Eclipse

With the solar eclipse as a primary topic of conversation everywhere, your children may develop, or renew, an interest in space with these space apps.

With the 2017 solar eclipse as a primary topic of conversation everywhere, your children may develop, or renew, an interest in space. These wonderful space-related apps can extend their learning about space to infinity and bey-…oh, apparently we can’t say that, but, well, you know!

 

Star Walk for Kids (iOS, Android)

A fascinating learning tool for your kids, Star Walk™ for Kids brings the solar system to life. Each planet has a fact card and a short video to explain key facts about the planet. There are extra movies as well that explain space-related ideas, such as the Hubble Spacecraft. A wide variety of constellations and stars turn the sky into an imaginative area for kids. The most amazing feature of Star Walk™ for Kids is that children can take an iPhone or iPad outside and point it to the sky to guide their exploration, and the app will map the stars seen from your location. This is a great activity for parents and children to do together. The app does not collect any personal information but is able to use the location features of your device. This app would be a great complement to any unit of study on the solar system. The app is $2.99 and appropriate for children 5-8.

 

Read KinderTown's review of Star Walk for Kids.

KIDS DISCOVER SPACE (iOS only)

KIDS DISCOVER SPACE is an excellent app for sparking and fanning the flames of a love of space and science. This very large app but is filled with brilliant image, facts, timelines and videos. Kids move through the pages with a simple swipe, but there are elements on each page for digging deeper. Some pages have a read aloud feature, but there are many areas where a parent needs to support a younger child by reading and explaining the text. Check out the Teacher’s Guide for more great learning ideas. The app is $5.99 and appropriate for children ages 5-8.

 

Read KinderTown's review of KIDS DISCOVER SPACE.

Space by TinyBop (iOS only)

Space by TinyBop is set up for free discovery of the world of space through your own spacecraft which navigates with you through the app. Each planet is represented and children can explore different parts of the planet. Don’t miss Jupiter’s Great Red Spot where children can drag various items into the spot to see what would happen on Jupiter. Check out the well written parent guide for ideas about how to direct your child through the app and questions to ask them. The app does not include explanations or narration so engage your child in a conversation about what is taking place as they navigate their own discovery. The app is $2.99 and appropriate for children ages 4-8.

 

Read KinderTown's review of Space by Tinybop.

 

Related Blog Post:
Family Activity: Design Your Own Spectroscope

 

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Math Apps to Use During the School Year

There are many math apps that span a wide spectrum of math content, often a full year’s worth for school or homework plans.

There are many math apps that span a wide spectrum of math content, often a full year’s worth of content that you could easily work into your school or homework plans. It’s helpful to find one your child enjoys and that easily combines with your routine if you feel he needs additional support in math or loves math.

 

Todo Math (iOS, Android)

Todo Math is a free app designed to practice early childhood math skills. The word todo in Spanish means “all” and is designed to inspire play with all the early childhood math concepts. It includes 18 multi-level games and has two different types of play; free choice and mission. In mission mode, the app gives a brief overview of each game and guides your child through each game one at a time. In free choice mode, all games are presented and your child chooses which one he would like to play. Free mode includes multiple levels of math games and includes adaptive play, which means the games automatically adapt to your child’s skill level. Parents, you can sign up for a parent account which will provide you with a more details about your child’s progress. Compared to most apps, Todo Math does contain a worthwhile amount of free content practicing many different areas of math for children ages 3-6. There are many different subscription plans available from 1 month to 1 year, ranging in price from $3.99-49.99. Check out their special version for schools if you are interested in the app for your classroom.

 

Read KinderTown's review of Todo Math.

1st Grade Math: Numbers, Counting and Addition Games (iOS, Web)

Splash Math 1st grade gives your child an interactive workbook to use on your iPad or iPhone. Fifteen chapters cover a range of math skills with three levels of difficulty and modes for practice or play. Children do need to be able to read and comprehend test-style math questions to use this app independently. The questions are read aloud but children need to read and choose from the multiple choices answers. The app begins with a placement test to be sure your child is receiving practice in relevant to his needs and adapts to his performance along the way. Children enjoy the rewards received for correct answers and can exchange them to “purchase” items for their digital pet. There is a monthly subscription fee of $9.99. A free trial is available for parents and a classroom version for teachers.

 

Read KinderTown's review of 1st Grade Math.

Treasure Sums – Lumio addition and subtraction math games for the Common Core classroom (Full Version) (iOS only)

This app presents fact practice in a unique way. A number is presented at the top of the screen which is the sum, for example 10. Then groups of rings are represented below and children must move gems with numbers on them to the rings so that the numbers make a sum equal to ten. This challenges your child to make connections between numbers beyond just the facts. In some problems your child may need to use inverse operations or mental math strategies to arrive at the correct solutions to the puzzles. There are helpful hints presented on the side for children who need extra guidance. There are three different episodes within the app that provide increasingly difficult challenges. The episodes cover addition and subtraction concepts with numbers up to 1,000.

 

Read KinderTown's review of Treasure Sums.

 

Related Blog Post: Make Math Fun with a Math Selfie (Demme Learning)

 

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3 Top-Notch Phonics Apps for Kids

It's back to school time, and we've got some great phonics apps to recommend for your kids.

It’s back to school time, and you may be starting to think about how you could incorporate the iPad into your child’s learning time this school year. A hot trend right now in educational apps are those which offer your child a learning experience that is intended to follow a progression. These phonics apps can be used over a longer period of time, may include a subscription fee, and contain more content than a traditional app. In the next few weeks I will be reviewing the pros and cons of these types of apps, and hope that you will find a few that will work for your children during this school year.

 

Phonics Museum (iOS only)

The Phonics Museum app is a colorful engaging phonics app for children. The app is aimed at serving children in preschool/kindergarten range who are just beginning to learn their letters and the associated sounds. The app is based on a classical approach to education and has been developed by Veritas Press. There is an intense focus on phonics with the intent to help children beginning reading skills which makes it a great supplement to other language arts activities your child is learning.

 

Read KinderTown's review of Phonics Museum.

The app proceeds with a systematic series of lessons that introduce your child to capital and lowercase letters, sounds, and how to write the letters. Consider using a stylus with your child instead of their finger to facilitate the transfer to writing. There are several styles of fonts used within the app which could be confusing for some children, however, this allows your child the opportunity to see the letters as presented in in various print and manuscript formats. The app follows a progression of watching an engaging video with a real teacher and short activities interspersed within the videos. The videos have a mix of a cartoon and a real teacher, Miss Biddle, who is reminiscent of Fred Rogers, Sesame Street, Reading Rainbow, and Captain Kangaroo (that many of us may remember) but with an updated feel. The app has delightful characters and a unique museum setting with graphics that are bright and engaging.

 

The app does begin with a sign-in procedure and an option to join free for two weeks. This is a great way to test the app with your child to see if you would like to purchase a monthly or yearly subscription. Parents, take the time to set up the app and download the content before working with your child. The app has lots of content so it does take longer than a traditional app to get started. Your child can only start at the beginning of the app. In future iterations, I hope to see a way to choose where a child can start interacting with the content. The app works nicely on the iPhone, so it would be great on the go!

 

Read4Kids (iOS only)

This app focuses on phonics skills and works through twenty lessons. It is heavily based on the phonetic approach to reading, but does incorporate sight words into the instruction. The lessons begin by introducing each individual letter and the sound associated with the letter and children are expected to progress through after starting at the beginning. There is an optional area with activities that parents can choose where their child engages and match skills and concepts they are already learning in their current curriculum. There is a helpful question mark to guide your child if he needs support. The voice in the app is rather robotic and may not be pleasing to your child’s ear. The stories are phonetically based and not accompanied by any picture support; therefore, you will want to provide your child with many reading experiences outside of the app. There is also no reward of gameplay associated with the app. The app is $2.99 and appropriate for children ages 4-6.

 

Read KinderTown's review of Read4Kids.

Hooked on Phonics (iOS, Android, Kindle)

Hooked on Phonics features over 250 songs, videos, and games to teach your child essential phonics skills. It comes with a seven day free trial and then you can opt into a subscription service. The app relies heavily on music video content to teach your child letter sounds. It also uses word chunks to teach your child how to begin to read and make associations between words. This app could carry your child beyond just learning the letters and sounds as it introduces small words and short phrases. As with many apps your child needs to “start at the beginning” and follow the progression mapped out by the creators. It would be helpful to have a placement area where parents could decide how and when their child progresses. Each lesson includes a video, games and activities for your child to explore the concept taught, as well as a short story. The app contains many different kinds of in-app purchases ranging from a one year subscription for $39.99 to a monthly option for $6.99.

 

Read KinderTown's review of Hooked on Phonics.

 

Related Blog Post: Develop Phonemic Awareness with These Educational Apps

 

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Stop the Summer Slide with Reading Apps

It isn’t uncommon for children, especially children who already struggle with reading, to fall victim to the summer slide.

It isn’t uncommon for children, especially children who already struggle with reading, to fall victim to the summer slide. Summer slide is what happens when the skills students obtain throughout the school year are forgotten over the summer months. Now you may be asking yourself, how do I prevent my child from the summer slide? The answer is simple; incorporate some form of reading every day. This could be having your child read their menu at lunch, you reading aloud to your child before bed, or with today’s technology literally in the palm of our hands, you can make reading more entertaining with one or more of the reading apps reviewed below.

 

Super Why! Power to Read (iOS, Android, Kindle)

Super Why! uses familiar characters to work with your child on letters, phonics, rhyming and reading comprehension. Super Why! has four games geared towards specific language learning concepts that most 4- 6-year old children need to practice. Letter identification, letter sounds and letter writing are tied together with word building activities. Rhyming is practiced by having children identify words with the same endings or word families. Comprehension skills are refined as children view pictures from common stories to identify the missing word in each sentence. Super Why! is a very engaging app with lots of color and action. The words are highlighted as they are spoken and word choices in the rhyming and comprehension activities are read aloud to support different levels of readers.

 

Read KinderTown's review of Super Why: Power to Read.

Montessori Preschool (iOS)

Montessori Preschool is an app that is free to download with lots of different purchasing options to customize your child’s experience. In the literacy section, the game “I Spy” is perfect for beginning readers to identify sounds in words through game play. For children who are beginning to learn their letters there are many activities to identify the letters and their corresponding sounds. In addition, children can trace the letters in print or cursive in the virtual sand box. For beginning readers, an illustrated story sectionpresents easy-to-read simple sentences, in which  children must match the pictures to the sentences. This is a great way for children to demonstrate their comprehension skills.

 

Read KinderTown's review of Montessori Preschool.

FarFaria Stories to Read Along (iOS, Android)

This digital library is one of the best I have seen. It’s creatively crafted and offers something for every interest and age level. When the app launches, an enchanting map of different islands appears which correlate with the different types of digital books offered in the app. Children can choose from locations such as  Adventure Island, Classics Grove, or Animal Kingdomand a selection of books appears. Please note that the books are created for FarFaria or are recreations of well-known classics.  Some highlights of FarFaria’s great features include: 1)600 stories 2)5 new stories each week 3)offline access to your favorite books 4)highlights the words read to your child 5)option to read myself, autoplay or read to me 6)$3.99 a month or $39.99 a year. I know I am keeping this app handy for use with my kids this summer. It would be great for travel and could be used for your bedtime or nap time routine if you are away or on the go. I always lug a few favorite books when we go away, but I’d love to replace these  with FarFaria. I especially love “Sing Along City.” These are books that correlate to your child’s favorite songs. My daughter loves the “Wheels on the Bus”, so that was her first choice. FarFaria, thank you for creating the perfect enchanting world of digital books for the iPad!

 

Read KinderTown's review of FarFaria Stories To Read Along.

Read with Doc: Letters and Sounds

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.

 

Read KinderTown's review of Read with Doc: Letters and Sounds.

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?” This app ranks at the top as one of the best we’ve seen for preschoolers.

 

Related Blog Post: Curl up with a Digital Book App

 

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