Dr. Seuss E-books
Read Across America Day is this week, and libraries and schools across the country will celebrate by reading Dr. Seuss books to children. Try some of these apps together with your child that celebrate reading! For more fun with words and sounds, check out our Power Pack Sound Play for children ages 3-4.
Dr. Seuss E-book Apps
Dr. Seuss ABC (iOS only)
This e-book reinforces your child’s growing knowledge of letters, sounds, words, and vocabulary. Your child will enjoy tapping the pages of this delightful ABC book in order to find hidden surprises. The e-book reads aloud to your child and highlights the words as they are read. You can also change the settings to allow the app to “Read to me” or “Auto Play.” The “Auto Play” feature reads the pages and turns the pages to allow the book to play like a movie continuously. In each story, letters are referred to by their size such as “Big A” and “Little a.” Be sure your child knows that this means uppercase and lowercase. The book engages your child by repeatedly asking questions such as, “What begins with C? or D? E?” etc. Try asking your child this type of question as you enjoy the story together.
Dr. Seuss Treasury (iOS only)
Oceanhouse Media has created a Treasury of Dr. Seuss books. Here you will find the e-book versions of many of the classic Dr. Seuss books your child may already know and love. For example, Hop on Pop, Horton Hears a Who!, Green Eggs and Ham, and Cat in the Hat. Check out the rest of the books and read a new title with your child. The e-books include interactive and engaging features such as reading aloud to your child, highlighting the words, and looking for fun hidden treasures by tapping the scenes. The app is subscription based which gives your family access to 55 digital Dr. Seuss books.
Related Blog Post:
Celebrate Read Across America Day with Dr. Seuss E-Books (2014)
Tags: 3-4, App, books, Dr. Seuss, eBook, Education, KinderTown, preschool, Read Across America, Reading, review
Expanding Your Child’s Vocabulary with Apps
As children grow, their vocabulary expands from their immediate environment such as family members’ names and foods they like to eat, to naming everything they can see, to eventually learning more sophisticated topics through books and literature. Reading to your child even as he begins to learn to read independently increases his vocabulary and knowledge of educational topics. Try these apps for a different approach to build on your child’s existing vocabulary. Download our Power Pack on Vocabulary for more ideas and activities to expand your child’s vocabulary.
Vocabulary App Recommendations
Noodle Words Action Set 1 (iOS only)
Noodle Words Action Set 1, is the first of two apps that present fun, interactive, engaging, and appealing word play experiences for children. Noodle Words supports vocabulary development and increases comprehension through motivational word play activities. The app presents individual words to your child and then demonstrates the meaning of the word with a creative visual. For example, the word “grow” is accompanied by a vine that continues to grow out of control as your child repeatedly taps around the screen. Children love the repetitive visual effects that illustrate the meaning of the 18 different action words included in the app. Playing Noodle Words with your child will be some of the most fun you will have learning vocabulary together. Noodle Words is $2.99 and appropriate for students ages 4-6.
Martha Speaks Word Spinner (iOS, Android, Kindle, and Windows)
Martha Speaks Word Spinner is a fantastic board game app that will inspire lots of family fun! This app is an interactive board game that is played on your iPad. Choose your pup game piece, spin the wheel, and see who can get to the dog house first. There are six games to choose from within the app to play on each turn. Word Spinner gets kids listing words, telling stories, and playing charades. The games present open-ended questions such as “Name several kinds of fruit.” The app does not correct these types of questions, so parents will need to provide the feedback. Your child will need an engaged adult or sibling to listen and respond to the answers. The vocabulary in the app ranges from simple words like “clothing” to more advanced concepts like “prehistoric animals.” A wonderful game for the whole family! Martha Speaks is free and appropriate for children ages 5-8.
Endless Alphabet (iOS, Android, Kindle, and Windows)
Endless Alphabet is a super silly, wacky, hilarious vocabulary learning app for kids. Children can scroll through words inside a friendly blue monster’s mouth. Tap on one that looks especially interesting and learn what the word means. Kids need to build the word, letter by letter first, then watch, listen and learn about the meaning of each word. Wacky, weird letters and colorful, interesting (non-scary) monster characters play the starring role in the app. There are no high scores and no climbing levels in Endless Alphabet. This app is just about learning new words in a playful, discovery-focused way.
Tags: apps, Educational, endless alphabet, engaging, KinderTown, learning, marta speaks, noodle words, review, vocabulary
The act of storytelling develops vocabulary, understanding of character, and story organization. Using a storytelling app will augment that process for your child, as you provide the occasional vocabulary help or guiding questions. Check out our Power Pack on Storytelling that will provide you with more ideas and a greater understanding of how to grow this skill within your child.
Superhero Comic Book Maker (iOS only)
This app does an awesome job of making storytelling easy for children as young as three years old. It is easy to navigate, and the pieces to create a story are embedded nicely within the app. To begin, children choose the comic maker button and select a background as the setting for the first scene in their story. Children can easily record narration for each character as they develop a story. By returning to the main menu children can create additional scenes and then combine them into a longer story. Even if children only use one scene to create a mini story, they are building vocabulary and language skills. This app provides an inviting environment for young learners to start creating stories. This app is appropriate for children ages 6-8 and costs $1.99.
My Story (iOS only)
Your child can use stickers, markers, photos, and voice recordings to create an original book with My Story. This app also allows for the creation of multiple users so more than one child in a household or classroom can have an individual account within the app. This feature is great for classrooms or learning centers. My Story also allows for sharing if enabled by email, on social networks, or in iBooks. Parents be sure to help your child with this if you are interested in sharing stories with family and friends. This app is appropriate for children ages 5-8 and costs $3.99.
Draw and Tell (iOS only)
Draw and Tell brings the best features of drawing apps into one fabulous art and storytelling experience. Children can choose from a blank page, browse your photo library, or select a background from within the app to start creating a story. The app provides tools such as crayons, stickers, paint, and erasers. Your child can narrate his story while the app records the audio and stickers moving around the screen. Children who are not feeling up to creating their own picture can try the variety of coloring pages where they can drop paint into the lines to create a vibrant scene. Draw and Tell is $1.99 and appropriate for children ages 3-8.
Tags: App, art, creation, draw and tell, drawing, Educational, ios, KinderTown, my story, power pack, review, storytelling, superhero comic book maker
Top 3 Apps for 3 Year Olds
If you have a 3-year-old in your home you are probably looking for new and creative solutions to add to your repertoire of daily activities to satisfy your child’s eagerness to explore, discover, and problem solve.
Top 3 Apps for 3 Year Olds
Check out these top 3 apps to encourage your child’s natural curiosity, as well as our free Power Pack focused on ways to interact with books with your 3-year-old. Then download KinderTown and search by age for more app suggestions for your young learner.
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.
Beck and Bo (iOS, Android)
Beck and Bo delights young children with a dynamic free play environment that always has a new surprise popping up. There is no pressure to complete each thematic area in a specific way, which is something we appreciate about the app. Upon entering the app children will find twelve thematic scenes. Objects or questions are presented one at time in each scene for kids to experience thematic vocabulary. Once a scene is finished they can continue to play in the area or view each object in their own scrapbook. Beck and Bo is a fantastic app for playful discovery that understands how young children learn.
Monkey Preschool Explorer (iOS, Android, Kindle Fire)
The Monkeys provide an all new entertaining app that is simple for children to navigate, includes interesting graphics, and incorporates exploration as the center theme. The Monkey Preschool Explorers app provides a mixed review of early childhood concepts such as colors, numbers, shapes, letters, and association skills. One game includes Milo the Monkey driving a jeep through the jungle and children have to tap on the lower case and upper case letter indicated. At the end, children can play a fun racing game and choose a hat for Milo as a reward. The developers of Monkey Preschool have a “Thups Knack” system which changes the difficulty of the game as children play. The app costs $2.99 and is appropriate for children ages 3-5.
Tags: 3 year old, App, beck and bo, books, creative, Educational, grandma's preschool, ios, KinderTown, monkey preschool explorer, power pack
Top Science Apps for Young Children
Young children are keenly aware of their surroundings, which inevitably relates to science. Check out these great apps for young children interested in science.
Top Science Apps
Grandpa in Space (iOS only)
Grandpa in Space provides children with an engaging science experience where they can learn science facts. The app does a nice job of integrating other content areas while learning about science. Other skills presented in the app include: identifying shapes and opposites, memory skills, and rhyming. The app presents the skills in an outer space-themed environment where children can design their own space ship, ride in it with grandpa, and watch short interesting movies about each planet in between practicing skills. We love grandpa’s guidance in learning and his high fives!
Weird But True by National Geographic (iOS only)
Weird But True is a fantastic free app for children who love to read books with fun science facts or impress their friends and family with interesting tidbits of information. The facts are presented to children in a colorful way, and they can rate the “weirdness” of the app and collect their favorites by pressing the heart. The Weird But True app is free and contains a “pack” of free facts. Additional packs require an in-app purchase that is gated with a math fact (that children may be able to solve). We suggest that you monitor your child’s use of the app so he or she does not mistakenly make in-app purchases. A fascinating app for the fact-lover in your house!
Gazzili Science (iOS only)
Play with items in a water tank, plant a seed and watch it grow, or taste an apple pie! Gazzili Science introduces young learners to science topics in a kid-friendly environment. In the app, kids progress through six science learning areas that teach through discovery and narration. After completing each area your child can go to the Gazzili fun page where prizes earned throughout the game are used to build a unique contraption. The app also includes an option to turn on the printed narration of the app for hearing impaired students, and that’s pretty cool!
Related Blog Post:
4 Superb Science Apps for Kids
Tags: App, Educational, facts, gazzili science, grandpa in space, ios, KinderTown, memory, national geographic, review, rhyming, science, Shapes, space, weird but true
Pre-Reading Skills: Beyond Letters and Sounds
Preschool and Kindergarten students (ages 4 to 6) learn to identify letters when learning how to read. It is also valuable for children at this age to practice rhyming, identifying letter sounds, segmenting words into individual sounds, and identifying syllables in words to support and strengthen their beginning reading skills.
Read with Doc McStuffins: 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. This app ranks at the top as one of the best we’ve seen for preschoolers.
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?”
Check out the Power Pack: Letters and Sounds: Ages 5-6 for more tips about how to effectively use apps to help your child learn pre-reading skills, as well as hands-on activities you can do with your child.
Tags: activities, disney, doc mcstuffins, educational app, Kindergarten, KinderTown, letter sounds, letters, power pack, preschool, Reading, review, rhyming, skills, students, syllables
Language Arts Apps for Elementary Students
Here are a few Language Arts Apps for elementary students, approximately grades K-3.
If you are using Spelling You See – Listen and Write, check out Starfall ABC’s and Gappy Learns Reading.
Language Arts Apps
Bluster Deluxe (iOS only)
Bluster Deluxe challenges students to make connections in word patterns as they read. Content focuses on rhyming, prefixes and suffixes, synonyms, homophones, adjectives and more. The game offers options for playing against others or working independently. Children will need to have a solid foundation with reading word lists in order to avoid frustration. If your child is beginning to read chapter books, this app would be a great fit to boost their vocabulary.
Starfall ABCs (iOS, Kindle Fire and Google Play)
Starfall ABCs brings each letter to life with pictures, animation, games, songs, and stories! Using a clear and articulate voice, each letter is identified by name, sounds, and words. Children interact with each letter by tapping, sliding, sorting, and dragging objects through five or more screens of engaging phonics learning. Many of the letters include real pictures as well as animations. The most exciting part of this app may be the sign language animations from the bottom menu! Starfall ABCs is a must-have app for children learning their letters, letter sounds, and beginning to read.
Gappy Learns Reading (iOS, Google Play, Kindle Fire)
Gappy Learns Reading supports young kids by building words letter by letter and sound by sound. Gappy gets lost from his home and your child needs to build 10 words to get him to his house. After building 10 words, prizes can be earned to customize the house. There are four levels in the app to accommodate a wide variety of abilities, from early learners who are beginning to work on letter identification, to early readers who have greater knowledge of how words are formed. Customization in the app includes turning on and off word sets and letter formation. This is a well-designed app for learning about letters and sounds while building words.
Reading Raven Vol. 2 – iOS only
Reading Raven Vol. 2 continues the excellent language development play from the original app. Designed to build on Reading Raven Vol. 1, kids work through digraphs (sh, qu), blends (spr, mp), and reading words and sentences with word lengths up to six letters. The play is the same with colorful thematic areas for repeated practice that thoughtfully build on each other. Adults can customize the activities for their child’s needs, and learn about all the levels right inside the app.
Related Blog Post:
Winning Word Apps
Tags: adjectives, animation, apps, blends, bluster deluxe, book, demme learning, digraphs, Educational, elementary, game, gappy learns reading, homophones, interaction, ios, KinderTown, language arts, learning, letter, pictures, prefixes, Reading, Reading Raven, rhyming, sentences, songs, spelling you see, starfall abc, stories, suffixes, synonyms, vocabulary, word patterns
Multiplication Apps for 5-8 Year Olds
If you have a child learning their multiplication facts, then these multiplication apps will be an engaging alternative to flashcards. Check out the money app for students at this level who are learning how to count more complex money amounts.
Multiplication Apps for 5-8 Year Olds
Pet Bingo (iOS only)
Pet Bingo provides practice for students who are learning to master their basic facts. The app can be used by several different students by setting up multiple profiles. Math problems are answered by identifying the correct answers on the bingo board. Students have the option to access a hint to help solve each problem. Play continues until the student earns five in a row on the bingo board. Once the student correctly answers five in a row, they earn a prize in order to care for their pretend pet. Instructors can check the report card section for each user to monitor progress in learning different types of facts, such as adding 0 to a number or adding doubles.
Quick Math Multiplication Table and Arithmetic Game (iOS only)
QuickMath 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 a 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.
Motion Math: Wings (iOS only)
Motion Math: Wings integrates 6 ways of seeing quantities to reinforce multiplication. The app shows multiplication in six different visual forms: rows of dots, clusters of dots, “groups” of dots, a grid, a labeled grid, and symbols. Game play is simple; students simply tilt their devices to move their birds from side to side, lining them up with the amount of blocks or numbers that equal the greatest number. Levels range from beginner to advanced (which will challenge adults). There is an option to purchase additional levels.
Freefall Money (iOS, Android)
Freefall Money tackles the concept of counting money. This app does not include instruction on how to count coins, so your child should have a basic understanding of this concept before they use this app. Activities include sorting coins, matching groups of coins to a total amount, and adding coin values to find the total amount. Instructors can set the number of coins that are presented to students in each activity, ranging from 3 coins to 10. The coins can be moved around in order from least to greatest to assist students in counting the total value of the coins.
Related Blog Post:
Make Memorizing Math Facts Fun With These 10 Activities (Demme Learning)
Tags: android, App, arithmetic, coins, counting, Educational, facts, freefall money, ios, KinderTown, math, money, motion math: wings, multiplication, pet bingo, quick math, review, visual
Best Math Apps for 6 Year-Olds
If you have a 5- to 7-year-old at home who is working approximately at the first grade math level, or who is working through Math-U-See’s Alpha level, your child would benefit from these math apps.
Best Math Apps for 6 Year-Olds
Base Ten Bingo (iOS only)
This app also exists as a website. Base Ten Bingo is appropriate for students developing number sense, counting skills, and place value understanding of units, tens, and hundreds. Each student can create a personalized avatar and then choose from options such as Bingo, Practice, My Bugs, or Home. In the Bingo section, a student can choose to play with units; units and tens; or units, tens, and hundreds. In the practice section, students must read and make the number that appears with the units, tens, and hundreds blocks. For each section completed correctly, a playful bug is added to the My Bugs section.
Todo Telling Time (iOS, Android)
Todo Telling Time includes six games that develop skill in telling time. Three levels of play are included in each of the games. The concepts about the clock, such as counting by 5′s and arranging the numbers correctly on the clock face, are developed in several of the games. Additional games related to the concept of time include understanding the days of the week, months of the year, and the calendar. The app includes a fun quiz section that can be used to assess a student’s development of these skills.
Motion Math – Hungry Fish (iOS, Android, Kindle Fire, Apps for Windows, Windows Phone)
Motion Math: Hungry Fish helps students learn how to build quantities. Children discover how to create different quantities through free play. Successful combination of numbers to equal a given quantity results in the fish growing and earning rewards within the game. Addition practice is provided in this version, with options to buy activities related to subtraction and negatives. As always, Motion Math does a great job of introducing how to play the game through thoughtfully scaffolding strategies on familiar counting techniques. Multiple children can use this app to save their progress and easily navigate between easier and harder levels. Overall this app provides a beautiful environment to learn and practice the different ways quantities can be created.
Measurement HD (iPad only)
Measurement HD consists of five engaging measurement games. Students learn to move the hands of a clock, compare objects that are heavy and light, explore the concepts of more and less and long and short, and learn the months of the year.
Read about other math apps here.
Tags: 6 year-olds, apps, base ten bingo, Educational, hungry fish, ios, KinderTown, math, math-u-see, measurement hd, motion math, review, todo telling time
Gift Guide: iTikes Map
iTikes has created a nice hybrid product for early learners.
The iTikes Map is compatible with your iPhone but can also be a stand-alone toy (although that sounds a little sad, doesn’t it?). The map offers several ways to interact with different types of maps. The map comes with interchangeable card maps of different subjects: dinosaurs, world facts, music, solar system, world cats, and world dogs. Each of the maps use three different levels of difficulty on the topic in order to engage a wider age range of children. When playing with the map, use the pen to tap on the pictures around the map to hear fun facts to learn about the region. The dogs and cats map of the world was especially of interest to my daughter. If using the iPhone, the app will provide additional tidbits of information in the form of 3D interactive images and animated facts. The iTikes map is a great way to introduce children to different topics around the world while building map-reading skills. The toy is easy to use for young children, and teaches a wide variety of topics.
Where to Buy: Amazon, Wal-Mart
Who is iTikes Map For?
It’s great for children ages 3-6 with an interest in other cultures and places around the world.
What’s the Educational Value of iTikes Map?
The interactive maps provide many different types of educational information on topics around the world using videos, music, 3D diagrams, and interactive features in the free app. The toy offers many options: different maps, use with or without the iPhone, and three different levels of play. It’s more than a toy; it’s an educational experience.
Platform: iOS for iPhones
Tags: 3d, animated, App, cats, dinosaurs, dogs, early learners, guide, hybrid, interactive, ios, IPhone, iTikes, map, music, review, space, toy