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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3 Fun Apps for Summer Math Practice

Summer is a great time to continue working on your math facts to stay sharp for the school year. Try these top picks for KinderTown’s math fact practice.

Summer is a great time to continue working on your math facts to stay sharp for the school year. Try these top picks for KinderTown’s math fact practice.

 

Montessori Math Challenge, calculate faster! (iOS, Android)

montessorimath

This app includes different kinds of math games to practice math facts including multiple choice, find the missing digit, open answer and the bubble game in which you find the answer in floating bubbles. All four operations are available in the full game for $1.99, but only the addition is accessible from the free version. The default setting uses all four modes so parents can customize their child’s needs from the settings menu. There is a helpful scribble area if your child needs to use it for computation. KinderTown also likes the multiplayer option within the app which allows up to 4 children to play from the same parent or teacher account. The app indicates whose turn it is and displays everyone’s score after 5 operations. This app provides an engaging experience to practice math facts.

 

Math Bingo (iOS, Android)

mathbingo

Math Bingo is a fun way to practice math facts. Children choose a character, identify if they want to work on adding, subtracting, multiplying, dividing or a mix of all four, tap on easy, medium or hard, and then set to work filling a bingo board with bugs as they solve math problems. Children love to earn a bug to keep in their bingo bug collection and playing with the bugs as a reward after they have correctly answered the math fact problems. Play against friends, parents, and siblings to see who can receive and keep a high score on the board. The app is $2.99 and available for iPhone and iPad.

 

Quick Math – Multiplication Table and Arithmetic Game (iOS)

 
 

Read KinderTown's review of QuickMath.

Quick Math 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 their 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.

 

Related Blog Post: Keep Math Skills Sharp Over the Summer (Demme Learning)

 

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Best Travel Apps for Children Ages 6-8

Here are a few travel apps to keep your children engaged while you are in the car, airport, or enjoying some down time.

Traveling with children ages 6-8 is an enjoyable experience, and there are so many different ways to enjoy your time together. Here are a few travel apps to keep them engaged while you are in the car, airport, or enjoying some down time.

 

MebyTinybop

Me by Tinybop

This exploration app focuses on your child and everything that makes them unique. This app is perfect for children ages 6-8 because they enjoy expressing their interests, talents, and abilities. Children can record their likes and dislikes, make their own symbols, and answer hundreds of different questions about themselves represented by small bubbles floating on the screen by different categories. Some examples of the prompts presented in the app include: “This color makes me feel sad,” “When I grow up, I would like to be,” “My family includes,” “When I’m scared, I.” The app is easy and intuitive for kids to use; tap the floating bubbles and create an answer. They can draw their answers, record themselves with the microphone, or make a video. Parents, make your own avatar and answer the same questions as your children. A fun way to share and connect with your child for $2.99.

 

Read KinderTown's reviews of top math apps.

Winky Think Logic Puzzles

Slide and move shapes and explore cause and effect in Winky Think Logic Puzzles. Children are introduced to the concepts of each puzzle slowly, and they must drag and move shapes around the screen to solve the puzzles. Creative obstacles are introduced such as pins, ice, bars, and lines. The game offers three different skill levels with 180 games in each level. The app is designed so players can progress at their own pace. Children can use multiple fingers to slide the shapes on the screen, but parents will want to be sure to disable Multitasking Gestures in the settings to prevent the ability to use multiple fingers to accidentally send you out of the app. Parents, you will enjoy these puzzles too, and you can watch your child’s problem-solving skills as they play or make suggestions in order for them to advance to the next level. A user-friendly replay button is located in the bottom right hand corner to reset the puzzle if needed. As each level progresses, additional obstacles are presented, and children earn different tools to solve the problems. Winky Think Logic Puzzles is $2.99, available for iPhone and iPad and appropriate for children ages 4-8.

 

pettesonsinventions3

Pettson’s Inventions 3

Pettson’s Inventions 3 guides young children through physics challenges. 36 invention challenges are presented on a map, and each section contains several related inventions. This app is a delightful experience for exposing young children to problem solving and basic contraption play. If the app is too hard for your child at the beginning, go to the settings page and turn off the “fake” objects which add more challenge. Each invention challenge involves the use of simple machines. Students must match the pieces up into the correct order to make the machine move and complete a task such as helping the bunny reach the carrots. Each challenge slowly becomes more complex as children understand how each machine part works. A bike part is earned for every invention section that is completed correctly to help the character, Pettson fix his bike. Pettson’s Inventions 3 is $2.99 and appropriate for children ages 6-8.

 

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Best Travel Apps for Children Ages 4-6

These educational travel apps apps are enticing enough that your children will want to use them while you are traveling this summer.

These educational travel apps apps are enticing enough that your children will want to use them while you are traveling this summer. They can create a new element, an imaginative short story, or tinker with inventions of the past and present. Download them before you set out on your next adventure.

 

Toca Boca: Elements (iOS, Android, Kindle)

toca lab

This app is the chemistry lab for young kids! It’s the perfect place for exploring how different materials interact. The app is ingeniously designed around the world of a science lab. The incredible part is that children do not have to be able to read or understand all there is to know about chemistry to engage in tinkering in the lab. As children dabble with the “elements,” they create new “elements” for their own periodic table. Please note that the “elements” and periodic table are not based on the actual scientific reactions occurring but rather give children the understanding that when elements are placed under certain conditions, a new element can be created. The app does not provide narration so parents be sure to provide lots of vocabulary and ask your child lots of questions while using the app. For example: What do you think is happening? Encourage them to ask questions too. This app will make your child feel like they have all the tools of a mad scientist! The app is appropriate for children ages 4-8 and free at the time of this publication.

 

Toontastic 3D (iOS, Android)

toontastic3d

Toontastic 3D is one of the strongest storytelling and literacy apps we have in KinderTown. This app is excellent for kids because not only is it highly motivating to use, it is an amazing learning experience that uses the iPad to its full advantage by using the camera, voice recorder and amazing graphics. Children can create their own unique story with interesting interactive characters such as pirates, robots or jellyfish. The app contains 3 different supportive structures for kids to create their own story including; short story, classic story and science project. Build, create, edit, publish – you can do it all in this app. KinderTown loves the Idea Lab that is included for kids who need additional prompts to get started. Toontastic is free and appropriate for children ages 4-8.

 

Journeys of Invention (iOS)

Journeys of Invention delves into the most fascinating inventions in history.

This app is designed for the curious child. Ever wonder what the inside of a light bulb looks like or an old typewriter? The app, created by the Science Museum in London, includes pictures and videos that are completely fascinating; most feel like you are holding the invention in your hands. Journeys of Invention is a wonderful app for any child (or adult) interested in science, technology, and math.

 
 
 

Word Games for Kids -Futuba (iOS)

word games for kids

Word Games for Kids is highly recommended as a multifaceted game to use with your family. The app is completely customizable for what you want kids to learn and play. This is one of the few apps designed completely for social play. Either play with the provided content or create your own. Up to four players can sit around the iPad. Tap “start” and the game begins. One game might have the center showing a picture of a pig. The first player to tap the word “pig” on their panel scores a point. After winning three rounds, the child is awarded a Futaba which is a small seedling. Word Games for Kids comes with several learning sets, but what makes this app exceptional is the fact that you have complete control of the content. Design your games by using the camera on your device or add your own text. The latest update provides an option to use Dropbox to upload images. The amount of customization allows both parents to get creative. The options seem limitless and all for free!

 

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