Apps for Building a Love of Nursery Rhymes
Nursery Rhymes are important to develop a love of language and build a foundation for future reading skills. Read this blog post to learn more and enjoy these apps.
Baa Baa Black Sheep by Duck Duck Moose makes the familiar childhood nursery rhyme come alive with interactive silly characters and a search-and-find game, which links all the screen play together. The app is a wonderful activity for kids who love to explore and discover. We appreciate how it encourages young children to be inquisitive. Have “ Baa Baa Black Sheep”. The app includes pleasing music and young children’s voices to accompany the game play. The app costs $2.99 and is appropriate for children ages 3-4.
Little Miss Muffet lets your little one interact while listening and reading a familiar childhood nursery rhyme. Each line of the rhyme is presented on a page with many hotspots that your child can tap to listen and learn. For example, count the daisies and the apples. Our child testers liked that the apples fell with letters on the app. Put the letters together to spell the word apples. Each page is dedicated to learning either letters and words, numbers and counting, or colors. Two other nursery rhymes are hidden in this app as well. Overall, this app is a fun and valuable tool for learning nursery rhymes. The app costs $2.99 and is appropriate for children ages 3-4.
This charming e-book app comes to life with pages of classic Mother Goose nursery rhymes. The table of contents includes ten classic nursery rhymes with pictures reminiscent of your childhood. Each page of the app has interactivity; including making Jack jump over the candlestick and making the rain in “Rain, Rain, Go Away” disappear. In addition, your child can put Humpty Dumpty back together again. This app allows your child to have the app narrate the story or read it aloud themselves. The app costs $4.99 and is appropriate for children ages 3-4.
Goosed Up Rhymes gives nursery rhymes a modern twist. The most popular nursery rhymes that we all know and love are read and acted out on the screen with modern animation. KinderTown likes how the animation helps children comprehend the rhymes. Our child testers enjoyed all the special interactive areas on the screen for each rhyme. There are eight animated nursery rhymes that include features such as fixing Humpty Dumpty. This is a fantastic app to listen to nursery rhymes over and over again. The app costs 2.99 and is appropriate for children ages 3-4.
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Summer Science Activity: Will it Absorb Water?
Experimenting with water is the summer is an engaging way to learn about science. Try this activity to learn about absorption.
Will It Absorb Water? Gather materials, make predictions, and test to see which materials absorb or do not absorb water. Discuss the results.
- 2-4 items that will absorb water, such as a paper towel, construction paper, sponge, piece of fabric, cotton ball, coffee filter, baby diaper, or tissue paper
- 2-4 items that do not absorb water, such as aluminum foil, foam, wax paper, plastic wrap, plastic straw, marble, or coin
- Medicine dropper or pipette
- Small bowl of water
- Food coloring (one color)
- A pan in which to test items or place a small samples of each item in the sections of a muffin tin or ice cube tray
- Display the items to be tested in no particular order.
- Place a few drops of food coloring in the water. This makes the absorption easier to see.
- Explain that absorption is the act of taking in small particles through holes or small openings. Demonstrate this concept with a tissue or other item.
- Before testing each item, ask your child to predict if he thinks it will absorb the water.
- Have him place a few drops of water on the item.
- Ask him to describe what he sees.
- When finished, review which items absorbed the water and those that did not.
Place a stalk of celery (with the leafy greens attached), leaf of cabbage (Napa works well), or a carnation in a jar or vase full of colored water to demonstrate water absorption in plants. Have your child predict what will happen. Check back daily to observe changes. It may take a few days to see the full effect.
Quality Educational Apps with a Nature Theme
Summer is a great time to get outside and enjoy nature. Enjoy these Nature Themed Apps.
Educational Apps with a Nature Theme
Domi Domi Nature Shapes – Matching and Sorting for Toddlers works to develop early childhood skills in a calming nature environment. Children must match the outlines of the creatures to the fully colored animals including crabs, owls, sea turtles, and sea horses. As your child progresses throughout the five different areas, the difficulty level increases from marching shapes to sorting the objects by color, type, and size. Sorting objects is a key skill for early childhood development. The app only has five games areas, and children may progress through them quickly. Many children would enjoy repeating the games again and again. The app has wonderful graphics and a soothing quality to the music and nature scenes. The app costs $2.99 and is appropriate for children ages 2-4.
Grandma Loves Bugs is an app that practices different types of skills that are appropriate for children ages 3-5. The app includes 10 mini-games and 8 educational videos for children to enjoy. The app works on skills such as matching letters, memory skills, identifying groups, and looking for differences. Grandma is charming as always and needs help finding the bugs in her hair. This app offers great basic skills practice for the summer. Children can also catch fireflies, draw a spider web, and eat caterpillar leaves with Grandma. The app costs $1.99.
WWF Together is beautifully created with stunning pictures of endangered animals. It would be valuable to sit with your child and discuss “endangered species” while looking at the pictures on the app. Each endangered animal is displayed through origami and includes information on creating your own origami creatures. You can even pose with the origami creature for a unique selfie! The app also provides a few interactive activities that coordinate with some of the animals featured in the app, including racing a jaguar and outjumping a snow leopard. The app includes facts about the animals, but these are not read aloud. There is a 3-D interactive globe which pinpoints exactly where endangered species exist, and children can calculate their distance from the species. Our child testers loved discovering the videos embedded within the app of endangered animals. This app is appropriate for children ages 4-8 and is a wonderful learning experience for the whole family.
3 Math Apps to Help Prevent the Summer Slide
Summer is here, but the learning shouldn’t stop. We have gathered 3 great apps that will help prevent the summer slide for your children in the area of math. These apps track your child’s progress and can be purchased on a monthly basis to supplement any curriculum your child has completed during the past school year.
Prevent the Summer Slide with These Math Apps
Todo Math is a free app designed to practice early childhood math skills. Todo in Spanish means “all” and is designed to inspire play with all the early childhood math concepts. It includes 20+ multi-level games. It 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 they would like to play. It includes multiple levels of math games and adaptive play, where the games automatically adapt to your child’s skill level. Other options for children are the Mathematical Missions, designed to motivate children to engage longer with the mathematical concepts. Parents, you can sign up for a parent account which will provide you with a more detailed look at how your child is progressing through the app. 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, or levels PreK-2nd grade. There are additional in-app purchases to access more content. The additional content would be beneficial to support your child’s math practice over the summer months and help prevent the summer slide.
My Blee Math offers a wide variety of elementary math lessons on topics such as measuring line segments, working with money, mental math and multi-digit addition for students ages 5-8. KinderTown likes how the app gives initial instruction on a particular concept before the child is asked to practice or apply it. The instruction is given with a unique robotic-like voice. Another great feature is the use of “MyScript” technology that can identify a child’s handwriting as she writes her answer directly on the screen. Children will also find the use of the digital manipulatives which include movable rulers, blocks, protractors, etc. both interesting and helpful for solving problems. My Blee is an app that would benefit students who need additional practice with math concepts. The app offers communication to parents about their student’s progress through frequent emails. The app is free for 10 minutes each week. Subscriptions can be purchased for students who need more time per week for $9.99 a month or for $74.99 for a year.
Splash Math is an interactive workbook style app where you’ll find all the math practice your child needs to reinforce what they have learned throughout the school year. There is a nice mix of multiple choice, fill in the missing pieces and choose an answer problems. Kids will find some questions that require reading, so parents will want to stick close when starting the app. Parents get complete customization of what math concepts and skills are presented to multiple children in the app. Splash Math comes in a variety of levels from PreK-5th Grade and reinforces math concepts learned during the corresponding grade level. You must purchase each level as an individual app for $9.99 and it includes the entire year’s worth of skill review.
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Paper Bag Painting
My daughter loves to paint. She wants to paint every day, and paint supplies can become expensive. Today, I had a brown paper bag around, and it turned out to be the perfect canvas for paint because it is extra thick and stands up to the paint well. We used regular and glitter paints and different size brushes. She decided to paint a nature scene. This is a great way to spend a summer day!
Lazoo Art Box is a fabulously creative digital coloring book for children ages 3-5. The app presents a child with a starting place for adding creativity to an existing scene or page in the coloring book. When your child is finished, watch the page come alive as the objects perform short animations. The app is extremely easy to use and kid-friendly. There are 3 interactive areas; Let’s Squiggle, Let’s Color, and Let’s Draw. For each area your child is prompted to draw with their finger and then press the Play button to view the animation. The app does a nice job of providing directions and vocabulary to accompany the picture. There are a variety of coloring tools provided at the bottom of the screen including stickers, markers, spray paint, and paint rollers for a variety of effects. There is also a blank page where children can create their own pictures. This would be a great app to keep on your phone to use when you are on the go this summer! Lazoo Art Box is $1.99 and available for iPhone and iPad.
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Anticipating summer? Get in the mood with these summer-themed apps.
This app features a theme of camping and has nature and adventure lovers in mind. KinderTown loves the Grandma and Grandpa characters created by Fairlady media; this app focuses particularly on lovable Grandpa. Grandpa invites your children on a hike through the woods where they choose a trail and identify plant and tree species with his help. In the app, children have to drag forest animals to the food they eat and identify coordinating shapes of common tools used when camping, such a pocket knife or hatchet. Another feature of the app is a word find, which may be more challenging for beginning readers interested in the app and who may need the assistance of a parent. Kids love going on a hike with Grandpa, picking special stuffed animals to sleep with, and roasting marshmallows and hot dogs over the virtual campfire. As with other Grandpa apps, when children get the answers correct, Grandpa offers a high five that children get to slap (gently). Camping with Grandpa is a great way to get in the mood for summer camping. Camping with Grandpa costs $2.99 and is appropriate for children ages 4-8.
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Bug Art provides an informal environment for children to learn and play with bugs. The free paint area allows children to paint and use stickers to depict a bug scene. The bug designer area allows children to choose a basic stencil and then design a unique bug around the stencil. Pictures can be saved in the app and shared with friends. The app also has free play areas where children can race bugs or use the iPad to make them fly through pathways. This app is a fun creative experience with bugs. Bug Art costs $2.49 and is appropriate for children ages 3-5.
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Park Math HD by Duck Duck Moose works on a variety of math concepts. Park Math HD is a thoughtful app that moves users seamlessly through counting, addition, subtraction, sequencing, patterning, and comparing while being developmentally appropriate for early learners. Unlike many of the math apps in the app store, Park Math HD does not simply have children answering questions or tapping on objects; Park Math HD integrates three levels of learning into a park concept to practice and investigate math concepts in a meaningful way. Addition and subtraction are practiced in a story problem format. Park Math HD costs $2.99 and is appropriate for children ages 4-6.
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10 Items from the Dollar Store for the Sandbox
The weather has gotten warmer, so it’s time to get into the sandbox.
For this post, I’ve used a container instead of a traditional, full-sized sandbox, which lengthens the season during which the sandbox can be used. In addition, you can use it in different locations. Carry the container to a covered porch or garage on a rainy day or use it inside when the weather is cold. I also chose colored sand for our makeshift sandbox; it’s available at big box stores and LOVED by kids. These smaller sandboxes are also great for smaller houses or apartments that might not have room for a traditional sandbox.
Sandbox Items Found at the Dollar Store
Here are 10 items we found at the dollar store to use in the sandbox:
- Paintbrush – My son likes smoothing out the sand with the paintbrush, as well as making roads for the cars and trucks. Also, it’s a nice tool to practice writing letters and numbers in the sand.
- Measuring cups – My daughter likes to fill these up and dump them out over and over, and I like using the real measurements with her. (For example, if we call them the 1/2 cup, ¼, etc., I feel she is gaining an understanding of what these actual measurements look and feel like and hope she will be able to transfer that knowledge to other areas later.)
- Imitation gems – The dollar store generally has lots of different colors, shapes, and sizes. My kids enjoyed “hiding” them from their sibling and then having them find them later.
- Mini dustpan and brush – Brushing sand into the dustpan is great practice for developing motor skills, but it’s also handy for cleaning up sand that ends up outside the “box.”
- Kitchen strainer or serving spoon – This can be used as a sifter in the sandbox and as a tool to find the gems. They are also great for moving sand or just watching the sand fall through the holes.
- Mini watering can – The sand will fall out of the can as it is poured, but it is also great if you choose to add a little water to your sandbox.
- Pie pans – My children used these to make pretend blueberry pies, mud pies, etc.
- Kitchen spatulas – These are fun for stirring the sand around and around.
- Paint holder – These worked nicely for moving large amounts of sand because of the nice handle. (You can see a red one pictured in the photo at the top of this post.)
- Cars, trucks, tanks – The dollar store is a great place to get toy vehicles for the sandbox. Ours stay in the sandbox for use only in this location. This makes them novel when the sandbox is out and keeps the sand from being relocated to the house.
Now, while your kids are playing, be sure to join them. Here are 3 questions you can ask your child as they play:
- What are you making?
- Where did you come up with that great idea?
- How can we play together?
There are also lots of free things around your house that work well in the sand, too. Any container recently recycled after being cleaned out, paper towel rolls, plastic silverware, plastic cups, or old plastic containers without lids all can be used for sand play. You can easily and inexpensively round up an afternoon of fun in the sandbox.
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Apps for Spring
Spring is a time for children to head back outside and re-investigate the world around them. Talk about what is happening outside and then follow up your conversations with these apps.
Plants by Tinybop is a fabulous app to explore, play, and learn about plants this spring. The app is based on three biomes: the grasslands, tundra, and desert. Once inside the deciduous forest, the seasons change, the weather changes, and children can interact with the plants and animals. The app allows for multiple logins, so children can explore at their own pace. The learning within the app is based on what your child explores within the biomes. While the app does provide labels in the various biomes for plants and animals, it does not provide facts about each one within the app. Also, the app does not include narration, so be sure to talk to your children while they are using the app. Be sure to explore their wonderfully created handbook about plants for parents on their website. It provides a purposeful way to explore the app and facts about the different biomes as well as further websites to explore. Plants by Tinybop is a truly unique educational app for children ages 4-8. Plants costs $2.99.
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GazziliScience introduces young kids to science topics in engaging and kid-friendly play. In the app, kids progress through 6 science learning areas that teach through discovery and narration. Explore sections such as “Plants,” “Water Cycle”, and “Seasons” this spring. After completing each area, go to the Gazzili fun page, where you use prizes earned in the game to build a unique contraption. GazziliScience costs $1.99 and is appropriate for children ages 4-7.
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Dr. Panda Veggie Garden playfully gives kids the tools to be gardeners. There are 12 fruits and vegetables to grow. Over 30 activities, such as plowing, digging, picking off insects, and planting seeds, are sequenced appropriately for growing each type of produce. The app is more geared towards amusement and working through 1- and 2-step tasks than learning the sequence of growing fruits and vegetables. Each task is fun and easy for kids to work through, but there is not much free play in the games. In addition, there is not any language provided for your child. Be sure to supply rich vocabulary and questions while interacting with this app for your child to gain the most out of the experience. The app costs $2.99 and is appropriate for children ages 3-6.
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Best Apps for Learning About People
Kids love to learn about other children around the world, and one of the great advantages about the iPad is that you can easily access information from around the world to have at your child’s fingertips. Enjoy these apps that celebrate all types of people!
Learn About People with These Apps
Wee-You Things (iOS only)
Wee You-Things is a beautiful e-book app that shares an important message. “You-things” in the app are all those unique things about people. The message in the app is that we all have “you-things,” and that is what makes us special. Kids are greeted by over 20 unique characters to learn about each one’s “you-thing.” Interactivity on the page highlights, in some very funny ways, the character’s special quality. You are sure to hear some giggles when your children use this app. What we love about this e-book is that it opens up so many possibilities for conversations between adults and kids. You-Things is an excellent social learning app that is a must-have for your kids. Wee-You Things is appropriate for children ages 3-8 and costs $2.99.
Barefoot World Atlas (iOS only)
Barefoot World Atlas will completely mesmerize all members of your family. Open the app to a globe dotted with images that just beg to be tapped. Read and listen to fun facts by touching the images on the screen. Looking for more depth? Search by country and region to learn facts that give you a look into the lives of people and places around the world. The app is completely worth the price and will be appreciated by both adults and kids. Additional information packets such as World Art or Great Cities can be purchased for $0.99. We see this app becoming one the family sits on the couch and uses together. Barefoot World Atlas costs $4.99 and is appropriate for children ages 5-8.
One Globe Kids – children’s stories from around the world (iOS only)
One Globe Kids is an app designed to bring kids in other countries and cultures into your child’s world. The app allows children to learn about kids from around the world. KinderTown loves the pictures and voices of the children included in the app as they share different aspects of their everyday life. The app opens by allowing your child to personalize their experience by choosing their language and adding a photo of themselves. Then children can explore different cultures by spinning the globe and tapping hot spots that indicate a child is featured from that part of the world. Each child featured includes facts about that child’s native country, language, and even a tutorial on how to speak a few words in that language. Pictures of the child in their home country are included and show what a typical day in the life of the child might include. The app is appropriate for children ages 3-8 and provides an easy way for children to learn about other cultures without ever leaving home. One Globe Kids is completely kid safe with no advertisements or information being shared with others. There is a section where children from other countries can ask your child questions, and they can record their responses as if they were talking to that child, but the information is not shared outside of the app. The app is free and includes a profile of one child in Haiti. Additional content can be purchased for the price of $1.99 per country. One Globe Kids has an education version available as well called Globe Smart Education 1, which provides all of the content for one purchase price of $3.99.
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Apps for Learning About Government
What is an election? What are laws? Who is running for president? Your children may be asking questions like these as our country experiences a presidential election year. Check out these apps to help them learn more about how government works and help explain the some of the difficult concepts associated with election and government.
Learn About the Government with These Apps
How America Works by KIDS DISCOVER for iPad (iOS only)
This app tells about the different parts of American government and reads like a magazine for kids. It includes videos and interactive learning activities that discuss democracy, how a bill becomes law, and checks and balances within our government. Be sure to enjoy the 3D representation of the Oval Office and Air Force One with your child. Browse the gallery of all 44 presidents. The app is $2.99 and appropriate for children 6-8. Also, visit the KIDS DISCOVER website for a free lesson plan to accompany the app.
BrainPOP Jr. (Android and iOS)
BrainPOP Jr. uses cartoon style movies, quizzes, and facts to teach children. The app tackles difficult concepts for younger kids such as U.S. history and government. Be sure to check out the free video, The Branches of Government, in the Social Studies section. Free content is available within the app, but a subscription to BrainPop will give you access to a complete digital video library. The subscription can be completed through an in-app purchase. There are two options for a subscription: BrainPOP Jr. Explorer Subscription, which offers the free movie of the week plus 3 related movies for 1.99 a month, or the BrainPOP Jr. Full Access Subscription for $5.99 a month.
BrainPOP Jr. is a wonderful app for sparking curiosity in children and can serve as a resource to answer the many questions children may have about a wide range of topics. There are videos on Science, Social Studies, Math, Language, and more. Each video is followed by an easy or hard quiz for which KinderTown encourages parentparticipation, as reading is needed.
News-O-Matic, Daily Reading for Kids (iOS and Android)
News-O-Matic is a news magazine for kids. This magazine contained within an app includes interactive activities and videos. News-O-Matic features 5 daily stories covering the United States and international news, sports, arts, science, and more. The articles are written by their staff of journalists, including educational experts, and reviewed by psychologists to ensure age-appropriate content. The content of the articles is designed for young readers to understand. The app is also ad-free, so the distractions are limited. News-O-Matic also features complete playback of the articles via a Read-to-Me function, making the information accessible to younger students and struggling readers. Definitions and pronunciations are provided for difficult words within articles. A few games are featured as they relate to the news of the day. The app also offers a Spanish translation. A special school edition exists for classroom settings or homeschool environments. KinderTown’s favorite feature that is only included in the school edition is the ability to change reading levels within the app from a first-grade reading level up to a sixth-grade reading level. In addition, the school version includes assessment questions for students. News-O-Matic is a very complete educational news magazine for kids and lots of features for educators and parents. News-O-Matic is appropriate for children ages 5-8 and offers many different choices for price and time duration for subscriptions.
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Tags: App, brainpop, civic, Educational, election, government, kids discover, KinderTown, laws, politics, president, review