We recently asked KinderTown parents for their thoughts on summer learning loss. The responses were thoughtful and varied, but one thing remained consistent: kids are going to be learning this summer. Here is my summary of the ways parents are planning on encouraging their child’s growth this summer:
• Playful, exploratory activities.
• Continuation of the household routine for many homeschooling parents.
• Communication and activities supported through emails with their classroom teacher.
• Lots of iPad and iPhone apps for entertaining and motivating educational play.
As always, we want to help. Throughout the summer we are going to post new apps and ideas for using them for fun learning play. Here are a few to get you started!
Suggested ages: 6 and up.
What it helps your child learn: Science (Investigation), Art (Creativity) and much more!
One day, while I was working at my community garden, I saw a dad, young girl and boy come out onto the neighboring soccer fields with great excitement. The kids were bouncing around chattering in high voices. The dad was carrying something quite large in his arms. I stepped back to watch what was going on to discover that they were about to launch a homemade rocket! Within a few minutes the rocket had launched into the air while the kids looked on with shrieks of joy. I, too, was in awe as the rocket soared into the sky.
What does this story have to do with the DIY App? Well, the app not only gives you and your children a place to gather ideas for projects. It lets your child keep track and share all the projects, creations, and inventions they make this summer. Perfect for the budding engineer, artist or inventor in your house. There is so much value in this app, which is linked to a fantastic website and is FREE!
Dora ABCs Vol: 1, 2 and 3
Suggested ages: 3 to 6.
What it helps your child learn: Language (Letters and Sounds, Letter Writing, Phonics, Rhyming, Word Play)
For more formal learning this summer look to the Dora ABCs series of early reading apps.
Getting a child ready for preK or kindergarten next year? Have a child who can identify the letters in their name and is ready for more formal letter learning? This app reinforces letter knowledge through tracing and repetitive letter sounds voiced by Dora.
What to do off the app: Follow this app up some finger painting. Sit alongside your child and practice forming letters with colorful streaks of paint. Don’t want the mess? Add paint to a ziplock bag and form the letters by pressing down on the outside of the bag. With these activities parents get to be Dora, reinforcing the letter sounds and talking about words that start with each letter.
Rhyming and other wordplay activities are not only fun for kids but will help them be stronger readers as they get older. This app has kids identify pictures that rhyme with a given word and picture. A very simple game, but one kids really enjoy playing.
What to do off the app: Rhyming is not a quiet or silent activity. Your child needs to say the different words and pictures in the app to hear the rhyming pattern. Take rhyming off the app. Start a game of “round rhyming” in the car. One person starts with a word and you go around the car making up real and pretend rhyming words until you stump someone.
Add the beginning sounds to words to label the given picture. All the letter sounds and rhyming you practiced in the first two apps get applied here. This is also one of a few apps that asks kids to change the beginning sounds in the words to make new words – another valuable phonics experience.
What to do off the app: Looking for a way to add more word building experiences into everyday play? Stock up on notepaper and fun writing tools. Cut papers into different sizes, pair the paper with a cup of colored pencils, pens or markers and leave these two items around your child’s favorite play area. You will see lists, notes, drawings and all kinds of “print” (written communication) emerge during their play.
Suggested ages: 3 to 5.
What it helps your child learn: Social Studies (Social Skills), Math (Logic Games)
This app is really fun. Short early learning games are paired with cute images from the favorite Pip and Posy books. Match pairs, put together puzzles, play spot the difference and color on a variety of coloring pages. Our favorite is the face making game. Match the given emotions and faces by watching your own face mirrored in the app.
What to do off the app: We do not doubt that all these in-app activities are similar to box games you have in your playroom. Balance the screen time with the similar games you have in your house. Also, plan a trip to your local library to pick up the Pip and Posy books for your family reading time.