The giveaway is simple. Below you will find a “Rafflecopter” with a variety of ways you can enter the giveaway. Share, Like and Tweet through out the weeklong contest. The giveaway has already begun and lasts until the end of the day this Friday, November 30th. There are lots of easy ways to enter and the more you do, the more chances you have to win.
Concept: Letters and Sounds, Listening, Word Play, Phonics, Sight Words, Spelling, Letter Writing
Are “Monkey Math School Sunshine” and “Monkey Preschool Lunchbox” highly requested apps in your home? Well we have exciting news today! That delightful monkey is back with more cute antics while teaching your child important pre-reading skills.
Monkey Word School Adventure uses mini games to help lay the foundation for a successful reading experience. Each game adjusts to your child’s ability level. Many of the games also allow kids to self-correct to solve the given problems. Beyond the educational design, the games are really fun which means kids come back to the app again and again.
With Monkey Word School Adventure you are able to customize the play for up to three children. The language learning ranges from letter recognition and writing to spelling and phonics introducing word components such as consonant blends, digraphs, and irregular vowels. Kids even get to collect flora and fauna to play with in their custom Terrarium.
We also love the amount of control parents are given to make sure their kids are successful! Use the “Knack” mode to allow the app to auto adjust, based on your child’s answers. The level your child is currently on is noted in the settings page. Not only are you able to easily find your child’s level, but they provide information about what is happenning in the level your child is on.
Show What You Know
Activity 1: Hide and Seek
1. Begin with four cards. Write one letter on each card. For young children start with familiar consonants, like the ones in their name. Review the letters and the sounds each letter make together with your child.
2. Have her close her eyes as you hide the cards around the room. Try hiding behind pillows or under a lamp with a small corner visible. Have her open her eyes. You might say something like this, “Somewhere in this room is a letter that makes the sound fffffffffffff (/f/). Look and you will find it. If you are having trouble I will give you hints.”
3. You might provide HOT and COLD clues or if the house is being destroyed remind them that drawers and closets do not need to be emptied. Depending on your child, you can move from easy letters like “t” to the more difficult like “q” /kw/ and “x” /ks/. You can also check to see if your child knows both sounds for “c” (/s/ & /k/) and “g” (/g/ & /j/).
Activity 2: Rhyming Riddles
You might begin the fun by saying something like this, “I am thinking of something you wear on you hands in the winter. It rhymes with kitten. What can it be?” or “I am thinking about something you find in a family room. It rhymes with hair. What can it be?”
A few rounds of this game takes no time at all. But, here is what happens in those few minutes. Your child begins looking for something in the room that rhymes with hair. She starts with a table. Table-hair-table-hair. Rhymeless. How about sofa and so on.
It is important for children to rhyme so they can detect relationship between cat, sat, hat (word families). They will be able to read words they have never seen before with this method and sometimes without a moments thought. Rhyming builds a sensitivity to sounds. It takes a sharp ear to tell that tap and lap rhyme while tap and lab to not. This will give them a distinct advantage when reading.
Draw and Tell by Duck Duck Moose gives your child tons of tools, colors and patterns to create amazing art work. But wait there’s more! After you are done drawing, press the record button and describe what your picture is all about.
Our review team adores this app and we want you to see why. Watch Draw and Tell by Duck Duck Moose in action in the KinderTown and Time to Play video review:
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 apps backgrounds and start creating. Tools like crayons, stickers, paint and erasers are used while this app records your child singing, talking and moving stickers all over 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-app from Duck Duck Moose.
Cyber Monday is just around the corner. We are in the mood to save some money and spread the joy of a good deal this year. Join us on Monday, November 26th from 8am to 8pm EST for hourly deals and contests. You will find us active on our three favorite social media sites:
Each hour, on the hour, we will tweet and post an app deal on Facebook and our blog. Follow closely because there will be free app codes given away throughout the day. Let’s not forget the big prize we are all hoping for – the iPad mini!
From 12:01am on Friday, November 23rd through 12:01 am on Saturday, December 1st you will have daily opportunities to enter our iPad mini giveaway. We will have a rafflecopter giveaway running on our blog, so enter early and often. We will share the winner’s name on Saturday, December 1st.
To get the party started, we have a pre-Cyber Monday promo code giveaway for you. From the developers, Tribal Nova, we are giving away 5 codes for Ice Land Adventure. Plus, 5 codes for our Math app, Jewel River. Start tweeting, liking and sharing!
Story Dice is an open-ended experience that sets the stage for storytelling and language to develop. The app is simple. Tap the screen and a set of picture dice (you choose from 1 to 10) appear on the screen. Use these pictures to create a unique collaborative story, play memory games, or inspire your child’s next composition. There are lots of ideas for using the app in the settings page. We have a few suggestions, such as allowing the screen to freeze (tip: Take a screenshot of the set of dice you are working on. If you tap the screen a new set appear), or adding a back button. The developers are very thoughtful and have some more features, including new dice, ready for a future update.
Sid the Science Kid Read & Play shares stories and activities from the beloved children’s show. Two stories address science and health topics. Each story is read aloud, but the graphics are just screenshots from the show without any interactivity. The third book is filled with kid-funny jokes that tie nicely to the science concepts in the two stories. There are also 5 activities that our parent review kids and parents really enjoyed. Each activity is short, but kids returned to the app often and benefited from the repetitive nature of the games. “A great app for introducing your kids to science concepts” – the parent review team.
Eye Paint Animals uses the world around you to create creative art. Each picture is custom colored using the world around you. Tap a portion of the picture and it transforms into whatever pattern you are viewing through your devices camera. We love how kids get inspiration from the world around them 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!
Thanksgiving is this week! Oh my! If you are like us, there are still a million things to do. With the kids off of school or just home like usual, we needed some great crafts and activities to keep the Thanksgiving spirit (and the little hands busy). Here is what we found:
If you are having the family to your house this year, encourage your kids to be in charge of setting the “kids table.” The Kids Activity Blog – by the Quirky Mammas has everything you need! We love the detailed placemats and napkin rings.
The Berenstain Bears Give Thanks is a delightful story that addresses many conversations that happen around Thanksgiving. The familiar characters struggle with eating a familiar turkey, show great teamwork in creating a first Thanksgiving reenactment and finally spending time being thankful. A wonderful tale which you can share with the whole family.
Extend the app:
Start a thankfulness tradition in your home. Purchase a binder, photo album or make a simple book. This year when you spend time as a family thinking about all the things you are thankful for, write down the family contributions and add them to the binder. Next year, bring the binder out and talk about how the year has changed. Add more things that your family is grateful for.
This book provides a meaningful discussion about being thankful that a young child can grasp. This book celebrates Thanksgiving by showing appreciation for the big and small things that occur in a young child’s life from “playdates, swings, and slides” to “dancing, music, and art.” The story reminds children we should be most thankful for family.
Turkey Gobble is an app that will drive the adults in the home nuts, yet create endless delight for your child. This free app opens up to a rafter of Turkeys. Tap each one and listen to a different turkey (or pretend turkey) gobble. That’s it! For free, you will have some fun on “turkey day” with this app.
Extend the app:
Use this app to inspire some real learning about turkeys. If you can’t get to a turkey farm, below is a link for a YouTube video that gives kids a real look at our feathered friends.
Texas Turkeys – Texas Park and Wildlife: We like this video because it highlights important facts about real turkeys. For young kids, the short video is broken up into small bits that you can watch, pause and talk about with your child.
As Thanksgiving approaches, Turkey fears that he will be the centerpiece of the holiday meal. He must find the perfect disguise to avoid his fate. He tries to pass for different farm animals. He does not look like any of them. He desides a rooster is the way to go. When he hears the farmer tell his wife that if they can’t find the turkey, maybe they should eat the rooster for dinner, the protagonist comes up with the perfect ruse. This book is as silly as it sounds.
My Thanksgiving provides a nice collection of holiday themed images and vocabulary. The app starts off like a book, with narration that talks about each of the vocabulary words on the page. As you move through the app it lessens the narration and provides just the spoken vocabulary word to go along with the illustration and text. A great app for getting conversations started about the different traditions and iconic images of Thanksgiving.
Extend the app:
Try out one of the many Thanksgiving themed projects we have pinned on our “Thanksgiving Crafts” pinterest board.
This is a very sweet story that many children (especially ones with big brothers and sisters!) can identify with. The book is about Mini, a pilgrim who wants to help. But everyone is too busy or she’s too little to help with any chores. What makes this book unique is the setting. She’s wanting to help stack wood and mend dresses and bake bread. All of these activities can lead to great questions/discussions about early Americans.
It is patterned as a parody of the celebrated Clement Moore poem. Eight children embark on a Thanksgiving field trip that will change their lives forever. Deeply touched by the turkeys’ plight, the children (who have grown mysteriously fatter and have feathers sticking out from under their clothes) board the bus to go back to the city. Wonderful, surprise ending.
This app gets you laughing with 4 wacky games. Start with singing ‘yer own version of “She’ll be coming ’round the mountain” by filling the word “coming” with any of the pictures on the screen. Just tap the picture button at the right time, and you’ll find yourself singing “She’ll be dancing down the mountain when she comes.” Three more games include dressing the turkey, creating music by tapping on bottles, washboards and other unique instruments, and lastly, makin’ pies that no one would ever want to eat. This is a really fun app! Our only word of concern is that the graphics are quite “adult.” There is nothing inappropriate, but the app would have been recommended for ages 5 and up if the graphics were more kid friendly.
Using your device’s camera, take a picture to turn into a puzzle. Kids get completly engaged in searching around for pictures. Our parent testers even got caught up in the app! They talked about ways they tried to find visibly complex and challenging pictures with their kids (take a picture of a pile of leaves, good luck solving that puzzle). Vary the levels of difficulty by changing the number of tiles - 4, 9, or 25 – to divide your picture into.
Add some challenge by asking your child questions about the pictures they take:
What colors are in the picture?
What is happening just outside this picture?
Can you take a picture of something that is (orange, cold, square) and turn it into a puzzle?
But wait! The camera feature is not even the best part.
The way you solve each puzzle is completely unique to the app store. There are no pieces to drag into place. Your picture is broken into squares. Each square is rotated to create a strange looking picture. You need to turn each piece to face the direction you want by tilting your device left or right. With a simple tap on a square you can lock that piece from rotating. Fix one piece at a time or try to solve your puzzle with as few moves as possible. It is a simple but effective (and we think quite brilliant) idea and we hope to see more games like this.
As I am sure you guessed, every parent and child who we used this app with LOVED it!
Show What You Know
Activity 1: Venn Diagrams for Kids
Here is a simple way to get started talking about categories and using graphic organizers (like Venn diagrams) with your child.
Start simple! Ask your child to name something red. Next, ask her to name something red and soft. Make it more difficult by asking her to name something, red, soft and not cloth. Yes, indeed it is getting harder.
Here is another example: Name a big category such as GAMES. Then add games you play with a ball (subcategory). Games you play without using your hands. Games you play indoors.
Remain flexible. Develop your subcategories based on your child’s response at each stage. We often used this activity with our boys when they were about kindergarten through second grade. In recent years, Venn diagrams and a variety of other graphic organizers have been more widely used in the classroom. Thinking logically about categories and subcategories helps children to understand all subject areas, but especially science and technology.
Activity 2: Guess My Group
You might begin by saying “I’m thinking of a group. It is a group of animals. Only animals that live on a farm can belong. What eight farm animals would you put in my group?” If they get stuck you might give clues. “Maybe an animal that crows in the morning” It takes logical reasoning to group cows, pigs, sheep, turkeys….while excluding all sorts of animals like lions and a hamster. Finish the activity by sharing the leader role with your child. Have him form a group of his own choosing for you to add objects to.
Foods for Thanksgiving dinner
Flying things that aren’t birds
Musical instruments you blow into
Ways that people move only using their legs
Right now our family is working on “Things the iPhone replaced.” We have come up with 16 (so far).
You can play orally or keep a large piece of paper on the fridge. For those of you that are crafty, how about a beautiful paper roll like the one on the right that we found on the Infarrantly Creative blog. Anyone can add to it as an idea comes into her head. Just change the large category periodically.
You didn’t have to count, right? You just saw the dots and knew it was three. That is called “subitizing” and it’s something that is necessary for your child to develop. Subitizing, the ability to instantly recognize quantities, helps us in recognizing patterns and computing quickly. There is debate if it can be really “taught” but we know that with lots of experiences playing with numbers, kids develop it.
So what does this have to do with today’s video review? Our app, Jewel River, is all about giving kids a playful place to develop subitizing. Watch the app in action to see what we mean.
Jewel River combines vibrant artistry and game play with a meaningful educational experience. Your child will feel like they are playing a game while practicing the important skill of subitizing. Subitizing is the ability to instantly recognize how many are in a set without counting. Jewel River provides supported practice for young children to make and recognize sets of 3, 4, and 5 jewels. This app blends together one and two player options, thoughtful hints, and increasingly challenging play, into an important number sense experience. Jewel River is an app you need to have for your young child.
Oh, what comes out of the mouths of children! Our team of teachers and parents have shared many stories of strange things our kids have said. With the addition of Preschool Gems to our book collection we can continually be surprised and filled with laughter at the wonderful (and often curious) things that children say.
For the past year I have laughed along with the tweets coming out daily from the @preschoolgems twitter handle. When I saw these hilarious tweets, shared by teachers of young children, were being compiled into a book I knew I had to have it! (Full Disclosure: Lucky for me, having a platform like KinderTown at my disposal put me on a short list to receive a free copy of the book to review)
Preschool Gems is a book entirely composed of the quirky, completely honest, and extremely funny things that children say. Curated by Leslie McCollom, many of the quotes are taken from her experiences working with preschool-aged children. The result is a book that makes those sitting near you while reading wonder what in the world could be so funny.
Each quote is a short statement revealing the complex environment that is the young child’s mind. Young children, ages 3 to 6, are developing language at astonishing rates. They often hear adult conversations and mimic and take the language for their own use. This leaves classroom teachers and parents with a treasure trove of magical moments!
Here are a few more of our favorites:
So now you are going to go and order PreSchool Gems so you can read more! Then you are going to want to order one or two to give as teacher presents this year. (You know that a book like this is much better than another holiday mug) You’ll also want to consider a book for your family and friends. You probably have a friend who has a “linguistically dynamic” child that could easily be quoted in this book.
Enjoy the book “PreSchool Gems” by Leslie McCollum. And don’t forget, you can also check out daily quotes on twitter and on the PreSchool Gems Facebook page.
Here are a few more quotes to send you on your way.
Concept: Letters and Sounds, Listening, Word Play, Phonics, Sight Words, Spelling, Letter Writing
Monkey Word School Adventure uses mini-games to help kids get started on the road to reading. Games include learning spelling, letter identification, rhyming and much more. Kids love the fast paced and engaging activities. Parents get so much value out of the descriptive settings page that break down the learning in each mini-game. The app auto adjusts based on your child’s play or gives the controls to the adults for customizing the app. Either way you will know what your child is working on! A child safe app with options for customizing the app for multiple children.
ABC Theater: The Alphabet Song is an app for young children to hear, see and trace the letters of the alphabet. In the “Learn Song” activity, children see a capital letter, hear the letter name, trace the capital letter and watch a picture of a word that starts with the letter come alive on the screen. There is no reinforcement of what that pictures name is, so adults will want to spend time talking and asking questions about what is seen on the screen. Two other activities in the app let you sing the full ABC song and play along using a xylophone. We encountered a few notifications and open links in the parent page that take you to the appstore, so we recommend this app for joint play until these links are locked. Overall the app has a very pretty design and provides a nice ABC experience for young children.
Bo’s Jigsaw Puzzles uses the characters from our other favorite Heppi apps, Bo’s Bedtime and Bo’s Dinnertime, to create fun puzzles for young kids. Choose from over 20 puzzle pictures that can be divided into 4, 9 or 16 pieces. Simply drag each piece into place with support of the image adjusted to be slightly transparent in the background. A very easy app to get young children started on digital puzzles. Jump in and play puzzles together with your kids. If they use this app alone be aware that there are buttons on the main screen that take you out of the app and into the app store.