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.


Bluster Deluxe – iOS only

Bluster deluxe

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 – available on iOS, Kindle Fire and Google Play

starfall abc's

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's First Words

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.


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Multiplication Apps for 5-8 Year Olds

If you have a child learning their multiplication facts, then these 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.

Pet Bingo  iOS only

Read KinderTown's reviews of top math apps.

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

Read KinderTown's review of QuickMath.

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

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.


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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 apps:


Base Ten Bingo  iOS only

BaseTenbingoThis 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 Available on iOS, Android, Kindle Fire, Apps for Windows, Windows Phone

motion math hungry fish

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 available for iPad only

measurement hd

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.


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Gift Guide: iTikes Map

iTikes MapiTikes 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.

iTikes App

Where to Buy: Amazon, Wal-Mart

Who it’s great for: Children ages 3-6 with an interest in other cultures and places around the world.

Educational Value: 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



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KinderTown iPad Giveaway [OVER]

We’d like to show our appreciation of your hard work as parents and educators with a few giveaways.



Thank you to everyone who entered the giveaway!


Kimberly K. had the most entries and won the iPad mini.


The follow-up winners each won a $10 Demme Learning gift card.


All of the winners have been contacted via email.


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Gift Guide: Coding

Here are some less techy gifts that will inspire that same higher-level thinking and problem-solving required for programming.

We’ve recently talked about apps that promote coding skills, so here are some less techy gifts that will inspire that same higher-level thinking and problem-solving required for programming.

Hello Ruby: Adventures in Coding by: Linda Liukas

hello ruby

Hello Ruby is a captivating story about a little girl named Ruby who has to solve a puzzle. She is spunky and bold. She is given a map to solve the problem and must travel to different locations in an adventure world. Along the way she is solving different clues in order to gain the rubies she needs. The book is organized into chapters and each chapter includes a problem to solve and introduces a special character.  In the back of the book, there are activities to complete with your child that go along with each chapter and use the type of thinking skills presented in the chapter. For example, Ruby learns how to repeat the task of connecting sticks with rope to create a ladder, and uses that skill to solve the problem of reaching the ruby. Overall, the storybook is delightfully crafted and appeals to children ages 6-9, with parents interested in facilitating learning activities.

Robot Turtles: The Game for Little Programmers!

Robot Turtles

Robot Turtles is a board game for kids that revolves around the concepts of the Logo programming language. Players as young as 4 can dictate the movement of their turtle on the board by using cards that give commands to the turtle. The commands tell the turtle to turn, move forward, or side to side. The goal is for your turtle to reach its own jewel. The game has other components that can be introduced gradually once your child has a basic understanding of how the game works, such as obstacles, repeat cards, and lasers. These additional components make the game interesting and challenging for older children. Lastly, Robot Turtle has done a great job of making programming understandable for parents, and providing clear directions in the booklet that accompany the game. I especially appreciated the Quick Start Guide and the additional resources provided online. The game is well developed for parents as well as children.


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PBS Kids ScratchJr

Want to explore coding with your child? Check out PBS Kids ScratchJr, and see what you can create together. pbskidsscratchjr

PBS has developed a coding app using their most famous characters in an interface designed to inspire your youngest coder. The app features coloring blocks that snap together to create a code for the characters to follow to make a mini-movie. Make Peg and Cat jump up and down, or make sea creatures swim with the Kratt brothers.  KinderTown likes the “Story Starters” section to fuel your learner with the possibilities of coding. This is helpful for parents new to coding, too. Also, check out the “How to” video the first time you explore the app. You’ll find that the beauty of coding is that your child is creating with technology, not just interacting with a device. The app is appropriate for children ages 5-8, and is available for both iOS and Android.

Additionally, check out our other recommended apps for coding with young children.


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Gift Guide: Crayola DigiTools

I was excited to try out Crayola's DigiTools made especially for the iPad. I purchased the Deluxe Pack so that I could test drive all of the different tools and apps that accompany them.

I was excited to try out Crayola’s DigiTools made especially for the iPad. I purchased the Deluxe Pack so that I could test drive all of the different tools and apps that accompany them. Crayola's DigiTools

Where to Buy: Amazon, Wal-Mart

Who it’s great for: Children ages 3-7 with interest in a tablet, early learning centers or preschools, occupational therapists.

Educational Value: Crayola DigiTools provide a motivating experience for children who may need practice holding a marker or stylus correctly, but the tool becomes cumbersome after prolonged interaction with the iPad. Children reverted to the traditional use of their fingers to navigate the app.

Platform: iOS for iPads

Price: 39.99

Crayola’s accompanying apps include: Crayola Effects App, 3-D App and the Airbrush App. Each app is set up in a similar way, but utilizes different tools.

crayola appCrayola Effects App – The app begins by having your child choose one of the 25 backgrounds on which to create their design, or choose a blank background. My daughter instantly liked the Crayola digital marker, because she could hold it naturally and color as she would on paper. But the pictures had much smaller spaces to color than the size of the tool, so she ran into some problems when she tried to color in the smaller spaces. Also difficult was the fact that the digital marker requires more pressure than a regular crayon.  The rolling tool is not available in the deluxe pack, although it still appears as an option within the menu, and that was a confusing factor for my daughter, too. What she enjoyed most was coloring in the pictures, and the stamping tool, to add stickers to the page. The app includes the option to save the drawing, to send it to a friend, as well as undo and redo buttons.

3-D App – The general setup of this app mirrors the Crayola Effects app. The menu is designed in the same way: choose a background, this time they are already shaded and colored to give a 3-D effect, draw with the corresponding tools, and share it with a friend, or save it.  This app features the use of the 3-D Stylus, which uses two touch points to draw two different lines that appear in 3-D fashion when using the glasses. 3-D crayola app

Airbrush App – The menu is very similar to the Crayola Effects app, designed in the same way. But this app features the Airbrush tool, which allows children to virtually spray paint their paper.


Overall, the apps do provide experiences for children using stylus-like tools for drawing. They don’t exactly encourage beautiful art work; because the tools are such a fun distraction to experiment with, my kids didn’t focus on thinking through a concept and rendering it. They just wanted to use all the tools. But eventually my children laid the tools down, and selected the options from the menu and used their finger as with other drawing apps. These tools would be great to use with children who are working on correct pencil grip and need a motivating medium to practice that skill.


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DNA Play

Check dnaplay2out the latest app from the developer, AvokiddoDNA Play.

Avokiddo has done the impossible by translating the difficult and detailed subject of deoxyribonucleic acid into a game of cause and effect. Without explicitly teaching about DNA, this app uses the concept of DNA for play and creativity. When you dive into the app you are prompted to

DNA Playcreate a creature by solving the DNA puzzles that appear at the top of the screen. When adding a puzzle piece correctly, the creature grows a new eye, or a longer neck, etc. Keep matching the puzzles in the DNA, and your creature has been created. Your child is learning about cause and effect as they complete the puzzles, thereby effecting the shape of the creature’s body. After the creature has come to life, several props enter the scene and the creatures play, dance, sing or enjoy each of the props in different ways.  DNA Play is appropriate for children ages 4-9, and is available for iPhone and iPad.


DNA Play 1
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KinderTown Tech Toys: Tiggly Math

KinderTown is getting into the holiday spirit and thinking about great Tech Toys for all the children on your gift list.KinderTown is getting into the holiday spirit and thinking about great Tech Toys for all the children on your gift list.

At KinderTown, we’re thinking about you during the season of giving, and we’re going to review the season’s best Tech Toys for the tech-loving kids on your list! The Tech Toys we choose will be both educational and super fun. So join us here each week leading up to Christmas for a new installment.

Tiggly MathTiggly Math

Tiggly Math engages young learners in learning to count, add, and interact with number concepts. The Tiggly Math product includes 5 counting rods that interact with the iPad apps. Young learners will enjoy stamping the rods on the iPad screen in order to engage with the app. Tiggly has created 3 free apps that work with the Tiggly Math product. Tiggly Chef, Tiggly CardToons, and Tiggly Addventure.


KinderTown’s Tech Toy Guide:


Where to Buy: Amazon, Target, or on the Tiggly website.

Who it’s great for: Children ages 3-7 with interest in a Tablet, early learning centers, or preschools

Educational Value: Tiggly math covers a wide variety of early learning math skills while still allowing for lots of exploration and play. Children love using the rods to interact with the screen and the free cleverly-developed apps that accompany the toy.

Platform: iOS for iPads, Samsung, Kindle, Kurio

Price: 29.99


Let’s take a closer look at the experience your child will be getting with each of the Tiggly Math apps:



Tiggly CardToons: This app provides a basic introduction to the numbers 1-5. Children tap the rods on the screen to create yellow circles to drag and count, along with the narrator. The yellow circles then become part of a cartoon, or “cardtoon,” if you will (they do). The colorful pictures create a story about the number that children adore. The cardtoons are created from torn paper, and make up 25 different stories within the app.


Tiggly Chef: The star of this app is the Italian chef who invites children to create their own recipe, to use the math rods to find a certain number of an ingredient, or to add numbers together to find a total. My children love to imitate his accent…especially some of his favorite phrases such as “What  are you waiting for?” and “Let’s get cookin’!” Children can use the rods to create an addition sentence that shows how much of an ingredient there is all together.  Children love the wacky cooking creations they are able to make, all while they’re learning to add, count, measure, and problem-solve!


Tiggly Addventure: Tiggly Addventure takes kids into their own math world by making number lines three-dimensional. Children have to choose a rod that will act as a bridge to help their Tiggly friend make it across the number line. The number line problems become more sophisticated as your child plays with the app. Choose the correct rod to help your Tiggly friend make it to an indicated space on the number line. Children navigate the adventure by going across and up the number lines to different levels of the Tiggly World.

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