New apps in KinderTown – Scribble Press, Math Evolve, Butterfly Math and more

New apps in KinderTown this week feature a diverse variety of storytelling and math apps. Special this week: Each app featured is good for the whole family to use together.

Visit the education blog every Tuesday to see the new apps approved by KinderTown!

Every Tuesday we update the KinderTown app with the new apps we have reviewed and KinderTown approved. Go to the KinderTown app to search and find more apps you have not downloaded yet. View the KinderTown blog for a quick look at our featured apps with complete reviews.

Scribble Press

Subject: Language

Category: Pre-Reading, Reading, Comprehension, Writing

Concept: Storytelling, Reading, Writing

Age: 4,5,6

Price: Free

Device: iPad

Scribble Press is a must-have app for the family who loves to read, story-tell and create books together. Scribble Press walks you through creating a story by providing lots of ideas from the start and support until your ready to add your finished book to an eBook reader or my favorite: printing your very own book! Choose from book templates or create your own book from scratch. The app encourages young learners by providing complete stories where they only need to fill in the important details. Endless possibilities – Endless fun! For the parents of young children, you will need to work with your child while using this app as reading and typing skills are needed.

Math Evolve

Math Evolve Lite

Subject: Math

Category: Number Sense

Concept: Addition & Subtraction

Age: 6

Price: 1.99 (Lite version is Free)

Device: Universal

Math Evolve is an arcade style game that encourages children to think critically, and quickly, to solve simple addition or advanced division problems. Soar through different environments zapping numbers while dodging all kinds of obstacles. Challenging game-play was highly motivating for our app testers. A long lasting app for building number fluency. Math Evolve is for the child who is already adding and can handle a fast-action game-play app. Take the time to check out the LITE version first!

Traditional Storyteller – The Giant Turnip

Subject: Language

Category: Pre-Reading, Comprehension

Concepts: Listening, Storytelling

Age: 4,5,6

Price: 4.99

Device: Universal

The Traditional Storyteller – The Giant Turnip, is an incredible app that brings a favorite story to life. Listen and watch the story of a man who plants a turnip seed and the adventure that follows. There are no pictures or text, your child will watch a storyteller expressively tell the tale. When the story is done go back and sequence the parts of the story, listen to all the best parts again or retell the story your self with the in-app recording feature. What an amazing experience for children to have at their fingertips!

Butterfly Math

Subject: Math

Category: Number Sense, Geometry, Logic

Concept: Addition & Subtraction, Counting, Shapes, Sequencing

Age: 4,5,6

Price: 0.99

Device: Universal

Butterfly Math has your child dragging and dropping butterflies to practice a great variety of math concepts. Drag butterflies in and out baskets to count, add, subtract, identify shapes, sequence and much more. In each activity your child manipulates butterflies to answer a math problem. This app has no speech but the game play is so simple that you don’t miss it. We do hope they add it in the next version!

The Grouchies by Debbie Wagenbach

Subject: Social Studies

Category: Social Skills

Age: 3,4,5,6

Price: Free

Device: iPad

The Grouchies by Debbie Wagenbach is a free app to keep on your iPhone or iPad for those moments when you need a simple but powerful story. The classic “Grouchies” story is presented with only pictures and text. It reads like an adult eBook with no interactivity. We recommend this app because the story is so meaningful for children. Simply swipe along the pages while you cuddle up and read to your child.

If you haven’t tried this app – you should!

Family friendly apps? Those are our favorite kinds of apps!

Check out this newly updated, family-friendly app already in KinderTown.

iLuv Drawing Animals

Subject: Art

Category: Creativity, Drawing

Age: 4,5,6

Price: 2.99

Device: iPad

iLuv Drawing Animals – Learn to draw reveals 40 different animal sketches with step by step directions and numerous features for personalization. Integrating easy to trace shapes, lines, and curves iLuv Drawing creates an environment for young children to develop fine motor skills. Designing a platform open to creativity and customization opens this app up to enjoyment for all ages, including adults. Save your creations into the app’s drawing book or export your work into photos, email or facebook. Go off your device and create these drawings on paper with ease!

 

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Stop and Go! | App Review & Activities

What stands out in Stop and Go! is how perfectly suited the activities are to the attention span and interests of toddlers and pre-schoolers.

Stop and Go!

What stands out in Stop and Go! is how perfectly suited the activities are to the attention span and interests of toddlers and pre-schoolers. The app is all about transportation. 12 different vehicles cruise onto the screen and stop at a clever stop light where you listen to a parent and child comment about what they are seeing.

 

Read KinderTown's review of Stop and Go!

There are two features that make this app one of our favorites for young children. First, is the overall pace which is fine-tuned to move the child along in a very natural way but also allows the child to slow down and speed up the pace as they interact with the vehicles. The second is how Stop and Go! added a layer of interactivity where kids explore the environment and tap around for hidden interactive elements. Together these features make this app one children go back to again and again.

 

Activity 1: Stop and Go! City

Make your own Stop and Go! city using cardboard boxes and a lot of imagination

 

What You’ll Need:

 

• Cardboard boxes.
• Construction paper.
• Toy vehicles.
• Other craft supplies from around the house.

 

Your cardboard boxes get transformed into buildings by adding windows and doors made out of construction paper. Your child might enjoy drawing lamps and plants in some of the windows like in the Stop and Go! app. Keep your buildings simple or create more elaborate homes using paint and art materials from around the house.

 

After making your city, set it up in your child’s room for some independent play time. Gather toy cars, trucks, motorcycles and other vehicles you have and watch your child’s imagination run wild.

 
Spend some lap time together with your child while using the Stop and Go! app. Then bring out the buildings when you are getting ready to cook dinner or need to some adult time. We love seeing how children bring their experiences on apps like Stop and Go! into their free play time.

 

Activity 2: Stop and Go! Out Your Window

What You’ll Need:

Optional: Set of vehicle cards.

 

There are lots of family fun games to play in the car. There are lots of family fun apps for kids to use in the car too. We like to hear about families using both – and even better when the apps and the family fun games can go together! Stop and Go! introduces many of the vehicles that you see on the road and driving around town. Use your time in the car to hunt out these vehicles.

 

If your child is looking for a project encourage them make the family a set of vehicle cards to keep in the car. Index cards and crayons are all you need to make a good set of vocabulary cards.

 

Have one person in the family choose a vehicle from the Stop and Go! app. Challenge the kids to watch out their windows and be the first one to spot that vehicle. Add more fun by finding cars, trucks and motorcycles with specific colors. Depending on where you live you might find yourselves searching a while for either the tractors or taxis.

 

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New Apps in KinderTown – A Little Book About Feelings, Addition Top It, Montessori Letter Sounds HD, and more

New apps in KinderTown this week feature an exceptional eBook to help children understand their feelings, an addition game, a traditional “simon” memory game and a stellar Montessori literacy app.

Visit the education blog every Tuesday to see the new apps approved by KinderTown!

Every Tuesday we update the KinderTown app with the new apps we have reviewed and KinderTown approved. Go to the KinderTown app to search and find more apps you have not downloaded yet. View the KinderTown blog for a quick look at our featured apps with complete reviews.

A Little Book About Feelings  (iPhone)

A Little Book About Feelings  (iPad)

Subject: Social Studies

Category: Social Skills

Age: 3,4,5,6

Price: 0.99

A Little Book About Feelings is an eBook to help your child understand and learn to express the emotions they are feeling. Adapted from the popular “Ruby Studio” that has a line of children books and activities that encourage development of emotional literacy. The story is filled with cute, fuzzy characters that express and share their emotions. Ruby narrates a story that helps children understand that emotions change often and how important it is to talk about the emotions we are feeling. There are some interactive elements in the app but mostly it is a story that children will benefit from hearing over and over again.

Everyday Mathematics Addition Top It

Subject: Math

Category: Number Sense

Concept: Addition/Subtraction

Age: 5,6

Price: 1.99

Device: Universal

Everyday Mathematics Addition Top It is a 2-player adding game that challenges children to answer addition problems to see who can get the most points. Take turns adding up numbers 1 – 10 and deciding which sum is bigger to earn points. The screen is very busy with lots of buttons, colors and shapes. The app does a good job of leading users through the multiple steps to play the game. Great app for children who are working on addition up to 20. We hope in the future the app will have more levels with larger numbers.

Zoola Simon

Subject: Language

Category: Pre-Reading

Concept: Listening

Age: 3,4,5,6

Price: Free

Device: Universal

Zoola Simon is a super memory game for kids. Play in the classic color mode or add animals and musical instruments for more fun. Three levels make this app a long lasting one. Memory games are important for developing listening and concentration skills plus they can be played in a way the supports learning new vocabulary. Zoola Simon does a good job of making cute and zanny characters that children love coming back to play with again and again. See who can go the longest with Zoola Simon!

Montessori Letter Sounds HD

Subject: Language

Category: Pre-Reading, Reading

Concept: Letter and Sound Recognition, Phonics, Letter Writing

Age: 3,4,5

Price: 4.99

Device: iPad

Montessori Letter Sounds gives parents and children a progression of early literacy skills that fully integrate the philosophy of self correction. 4 levels start children playing with sounds and increase in sophistication to building words. Writing, pictures and sounds are integrated into activities that our children testers loved such as: recording themselves saying new words, making name tags, tracing and smoothing out letters in the sand. Overall a quality educational experience that follows the Montessori methods. We encourage you to read more about everything this app does on the developers webpage.

If you haven’t tried this app – you should!

Alien Buddies

Subject: Art, Language, Math

Category: Colors, Number Sense, Pre-Reading

Concept: Counting, Number Recognition, Letter and Sound Recognition

Age: 4,5,6

Price: 1.99

Device: Universal

Alien Buddies has given a lot of attention to details in this childrens app. Activities consist of matching colors, numbers, letters, shapes, putting together puzzles and completing connect the dots, all done in an eye catching way. The alien characters are unique, the colors are brilliant, and the activities have both hints and parental options to add difficulty. This app is very entertaining for children and the activities, which lightly cover early education skills, are beneficial for children to engage in.

 

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Show & Tell: Hand Painted – Animals

Hand Painted – Animals

Subject: Science

Categories: Life Science

Target Age: 3, 4, 5, 6

Device: Universal

Price (as of publishing): $2.99

View Hand Painted – Animals on the App Store

Hand Painted – Animals is a special app for us because it was one of the first apps submitted to us to review when we launched KinderTown in November 2011. This app is still a favorite, with its beautiful artistry, thoughtful lap  sit game for parents and children to use together and variety of games and levels. Good for all ages, we hope you enjoy this app as much as we do.

The first thing you notice when using Hand Painted – Animals is the amazing animal illustrations. Each animal parent and baby is thoughtfully drawn with great attention to detail. We appreciate this level of effort because we know it is time consuming and expensive to create.

Your youngest child will love sitting in your lap and matching pictures of mommy animals to their babies with you. As your child gets older they will enjoy progressing through the other game modes. Both traditional matching and memory games have three levels of difficulty and use the same brilliant illustrations.

Our favorite activity is the category game. Children tap animals that fit into a specific category. Again with three levels, they might be looking for animals with tails, animals that have feathers or animals that are mammals. This game works on the important and challenging skill of categorizing that children need to practice often in order to develop a sophisticated understanding.

Show What You Know

Activity 1: Pretend Play

This activity may seem simple. It may happen naturally while reading an animal book or playing an animal themed app. We want to encourage you to see the apps and other technology in your child’s life as another catalyst for play.

While using Hand Painted – Animals take time to get up and move like the animals. While playing the game with your child try to match the animal faces with your own silly face. Inspire your child to act out the animal movements after each memory match. Understand the categories of animals better by trying to be an animal that belongs (or doesn’t belong).

Children are natural explorers. One reason why we love Hand Painted – Animals is because children naturally engaged in conversation about what they were doing in the app and extended their excitement in playful ways. Encourage this by playing along with your child too.


Activity 2: Elephant’s Toothpaste

“What’s this?,” you ask? You really have to make it to find out.

You’ll need:

1. Plastic water or soda bottle – anything with a narrow neck will work

2. 1/2 cup 20-volume or 6% hydrogen peroxide – Find this at a beauty supply store

3. Squirt of Dawn dish detergent

4. 3-4 drops of food coloring (for more fun)

5. 1 teaspoon yeast dissolved in approximately 2 tablespoons very warm water

6. Funnel

7. Plastic bin, baking dish or anything else to contain the toothpaste as it grows

Put the bottle inside the plastic bin. Insert the funnel into the top of the bottle.

Add the ingredients in this order:

1. Hydrogen peroxide mixed with food coloring
2. Dawn dish detergent
3. Yeast mixed in water
4. Lift the funnel and watch

Be ready with 2 or 3 sets of ingredients because your child is going to want to make the toothpaste again. Enjoy watching your child touch, smell and start asking lots of questions.

Learn more about this activity and pictures and videos of elephant toothpaste at Steve Spangler Science.

 

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How KinderTown Reviews Apps: The Review Matrix

Reviewing at KinderTown is not a simple task. After reading reviews, descriptions and screenshots we make the call to put an app through the review matrix.

Reviewing at KinderTown is not a simple task. After reading reviews, descriptions and screenshots we independently make the call to put an app through the review matrix. Apps that pass the review matrix by meeting a portion of the criteria described below also may get a second round of evaluating with children, parents and teachers.

 

The KinderTown Review Matrix is built around four sets of criteria. Two sets focus on educational strategies, and two sets focus on user features.

 

Educational Strategies

Set 1: Educational Value

To evaluate educational value we look for explicit, authentic learning paired with effective feedback.

 

Explicit learning means that the objective presented in the app is easily identifiable. Before we even look at game play or the activity, we want to see a clear learning objective or educational experience.

 

Authentic is often thrown around lightly to describe educational activities. When we use authentic to describe learning we take it very seriously. For an app to use authentic learning it should simulate real experiences and be relevant to a child’s world. This is especially important for our 3-6 age range.

 

Authentic environments support children who are not developmentally ready to be making sophisticated, abstract connections make sense of difficult concepts. Play is the best example of authentic learning because with play, children actively explore, role play and discover to engage in the world around them.

 

The beautiful thing about app technology is that children can interact in authentic environments that are difficult to recreate at home or in the classroom. Speaking from my own experience designing lessons for the classroom, consistently creating authentic learning environments can be difficult to achieve. Apps that are not clearly authentic but use best practices from lesson design are always considered at KinderTown.

 

Feedback is a critical element that has long-lasting effects on children. Anyone working with children questions what is the best way to be constructive with praise. Research points to praising children for their effort instead of the product produced. We look for apps that model feedback on rewarding and praising children for the attempts they make or for reaching a goal instead of giving feedback only for answers right or wrong.

 

Set 2: Engagement

To evaluate engagement we look for meaningful, fun activities that use scaffolding to keep children motivated and create a long shelf life for the app.

 

Meaningful and fun can vary greatly from child to child. We evaluate these areas based on if the content would be relevant to different learning styles and if the app uses incentive strategies to keep children engaged. We believe the most powerful incentive is effective feedback as it develops intrinsic motivation. Strategies such as earning collections, sensory breaks, and social engagement also add to length of engagement.

 

Scaffolding is vital to educational app design and is directly related to engagement. Scaffolding is the way concepts and skills are thoughtfully layered on previous learning. Scaffolding lessens frustration by making every task slightly more challenging but not to the point where the child feels they can not accomplish the task. Often apps provide multiple levels or build in analytics that modifies the difficulty based on how the user interacts in the app.

 

User Features

Set 1: Ease of Use

Apps for children age 3-6 need to take into account a large span of developmental growth. A 3 year old is going to engage with a device in a much different way than a 6-year-old.

 

We look for apps that pair developmental appropriate content with suitable design. If the app is teaching number identification geared towards 3 and 4 year-olds but the user is required to drag and drop small items across the screen, or pinch and reverse pinch to get through the game there is a gap between design and educational value.

 

Ease of use also means that the child is safe in the app. Buttons for tweeting, liking, emailing, getting more apps, or upgrading the content are not necessary for children to engage in independently. We understand that these buttons are excellent tools for parents but we prefer they be locked or hidden from the child.

 

Set 2: Design Features

This last set is where we look for how apps integrate extra features that add to the whole experience.

 

We especially like to see apps that add parent features. Apps that use speech, which is critical for independent use and vocabulary development. Apps that allow multiple children to use the app, save their work, and personalize their experience. Lastly, we appreciate apps that have a recording or reporting feature for parents.

 

Summary

Let me remind you what kinds of apps get approved by KinderTown:

 

We believe just about any app (even the oft-cited Angry Birds!) can be amazing in the hands of a parent or teacher who knows how to tie it to meaningful knowledge and activities. Since children are often using apps independently and don’t always have a parent or teacher to make the content meaningful, KinderTown looks for stand-alone apps that children can enjoy and learn from without the assistance of an adult.

 

Our objective is to do the time consuming job of discovery for parents. We aim to approve apps that meet the needs of the majority of children. We look for apps that possess quality design and demonstrate a knowledge of how young children learn. We approve a limited amount of apps so that parents can find what they need without having to spend a lot of time searching.

 

Download the most popular guide to finding and using educational apps for kids!




New Apps in KinderTown! – The Traditional Storyteller, Months of the Year, Learn Shapes! and more

New apps in KinderTown this week feature fantastic stories and learning about shapes.

Visit the education blog every Tuesday to see the new apps approved by KinderTown!

Every Tuesday we update the KinderTown app with the new apps we have reviewed and KinderTown approved. Go to the KinderTown app to search and find more apps you have not downloaded yet. View the KinderTown blog for a quick look at our featured apps with complete reviews.

The Traditional Storyteller – How the Elephant Got His Trunk

Subject: Language

Category: Pre-Reading, Comprehension

Concept: Listening, Storytelling

Age: 4,5,6

Price: 4.99

Device: Universal

The Traditional Storyteller: How the Elephant Got His Trunk, is an incredible app that brings stories to life. Listen and watch as the story of how Elephant went from just a cute little button nose to a long trunk unfolds. There are no pictures or text, your child will watch a storyteller expressively tell the tale. When the story is done go back and sequence the parts of the story, listen to all the best parts again or retell the story your self with the in-app recording feature. What an amazing experience for children to have at their fingertips!

Months of the Year – Children’s Story Book (iPhone)

Months of the Year – Children’s Story Book (iPad)

Subject: Math, Science

Category: Measurement, Physical Science

Concept: Calendar

Age: 3,4,5,6

Price: 1.99

Months of the Year is an eBook to help your child learn about the calendar months and seasons. Each page is clearly read and followed by an interactive short activity that reinforces the text. Your child gets to ski down the slopes in January, sort the spring fruit in May and dress up for Halloween in October. Unfortunately, the words are not highlighted as the story is read. Also, there is an ad at the end for the free TouchyBooks interactive book app. Overall, Months of the Year is a beautiful and fun eBook that your family is sure to enjoy.

Learn Shapes!

Subject: Math

Category: Geometry

Concept: Shapes

Age: 3,4,5

Price: 1.99

Device: Universal

Learn Shapes! is straight-forward, repetitive and positive. Great for young children to learn about the 12 beginner shapes, the features of each shape and what they look like in real objects. Children are moved through a series of activities that teach the shape, then has the child identify and match the shape. In the puzzle area children see how a picture is made up of different shapes. Brightly colored, clearly spoken and designed in an age appropriate way. With this all your child will get to learn a lot about the basic shapes.

iStoryBooks

Subject: Social Studies

Category: World Cultures, History, Social Skills

Age: 3,4,5,6

Price: Free

Device: Universal

iStory Books is one we are recommending because of the amount of content you get for free. 25 books include everything from fairy tales to biographies of historical figures. Each story is presented with clear pictures and well spoken text. There is no interactivity and the words are not highlighted. With this app your child gets to listen to tales from Africa, folk tales that have been told for generations or learn a little bit about important historical figures. One of the best features is that parents can choose which books are most appropriate for their child. Happy reading!

If you haven’t tried this app – you should!

i Learn With Poko: Fun counting and additions! (iPhone)

i Learn With Poko: Fun counting and additions! HD (iPad)

Subject: Math

Category: Number Sense

Concept: Addition and Subtraction

Age: 4,5,6

Price: 1.99, 2.99

Last month the developers updated this app and it is working superbly now! Make sure to update or download this app for your child who is already counting objects up to 20 and is ready to start learning about addition. 

i Learn With Poko: Additions! has 3 addition games that work on combining small groups of objects to reinforce the properties of addition. Game environments include bowling, sandbox fun, and filling up a toy box. Three levels work on progressively larger quantities of objects and an in-app system increases or decreases the difficulty to limit frustration but encourage learning. We really like how each of the game environments are easily replicated off the app. You just might find your child practicing addition while cleaning up their bedroom or playing out in the yard.

 

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Crayons and Communication: Tapping into the Minds of Children

This kindergarten classroom practiced communication through stories, drew solutions to math problems, and more.

In my kindergarten classroom children drew with pencils, crayons and markers on a daily basis. They practiced communication through stories, drew solutions to math problems, illustrated their observations of the world, shared their happiness and sadness, all on paper. What amazed me was that these same children, in front of the computer or with the tools of the SmartBoard, would go from “drawing-communicators” to what I can best describe as “color explorers”.

 

My students loved using a computer program called Kid Pix. They would add lots of colors, stickers, patterns, even type. Then they would blow up all their work with one of many “eraser bombs”. They just loved clicking away, filling up the screen with colors, pictures, letters and numbers. They would spend easily an hour on Kid Pix if time allowed. What could be more fun?

 

Were They Communicating Anything?

It wasn’t clear how they were applying what they were learning. My job was to provide a place where children could learn and grow. I needed to provide both the fun and try to get some learning or a product to emerge naturally.

 

One solution was to switch to using Microsoft Paint. No eraser bombs, no stickers, just colors, lines and a paint bucket. Was it fun? Not really, but I was able to get pictures that communicated what my students were learning. The problem was my students stopped asking to use the computer for drawing. They would groan when we were going to computer lab and beg to use Kid Pix.

 

What I began to understand was that although the exploration is fantastic, a great space for children to learn and grow, needed to figure out what I could do with the technology to keep the exploration and add the communication. After seeing children engage with a few well designed drawing apps I finally got my answer. There is something that technology can add to what children do with paper and pencil alone that does not sacrifice the depth of learning and communication.

 

A Transformed Drawing Experience

 

One of these fantastic apps is called Doodlecast, which is an app for children to create their own stories. The app contains blank screens and a variety of story starters. Choose from nine colors and use your finger to draw on the screen. Simple, right?

 

What Doodlecast does to transform the general drawing experience is that it adds a non-obtrusive recording feature. Children are still able to freely draw with their finger, but the unique playback feature lets adults tap into what is going on in the mind of the child. Also, I found that a 5 year old watching themselves draw and talk gets just as excited as when they get to launch a bomb to erase their work as in the computer programs I have used.

 

Drawing has the power to stimulate young children, give a them a way to communicate and allow us to understand how well they understand complex and abstract ideas. Why not use a tool that for $2.99 provides children an interactive, fun way to encourage creative drawing and communication? I believe fully in the power of paper, crayons and markers, but I am glad that we now have options like Doodlecast!

 

Happy Drawing!

 

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Reading Raven | App Review & Activities

Reading Raven is a self-paced, phonics-based reading app for emergent readers.

Reading Raven

Reading Raven is a self-paced, phonics-based reading app for emergent readers. Young children need to spend time in front of letters and words. Noticing the letters and words around their world and most importantly, in books (both paper and eBooks). All this exposure to letters and words will help children when they start to blend the sounds together to read on their own.

 

Read KinderTown's review of Reading Raven.

Reading Raven has one of the strongest educational and design foundations we have seen. Reading Raven has done a wonderful job of creating a variety of phonics activities that support and motivate children in practicing skills that will help them be strong readers. The app will take your child from when they are just discovering what a letter is through when they are blending letters together to make words. The app also seamlessly connects writing each letter to the phonics activities which helps reinforces letter identification and formation in context.

 

Parents and teachers are given in-app tools for customizing their children’s learning experience. Make sure to read the parent and teacher guide in the app and visit the Reading Raven website for videos and more information.

 

Activity 1: Read – Read – Read

We can not encourage parents often enough to spend time reading to and with your child everyday. It does not have to be in a formal setting. Just grab a book and plop down somewhere and read.

 

Spend a lot of time in the car? Download eBooks and share your device with your child or just keep a backpack with books in the backseat. See activity #2 for more ways to use books on the road.

 

Don’t have a set routine? Set up a chart with your child to read one book a day together before bed. Set a goal that is good for the whole family. There is nothing wrong with showing your child how adults need to be held accountable too.

 

Your child is already a reader? Here are some ideas to keep reading fun:

 

• Read to the family pet.
• Set up an author chair and stuffed animal audience.
• Include Grandma and Grandpa.
• Visit the local library.
• Read  on a Saturday morning with a mug of hot cocoa.

 

Activity 2: Favorite Stories Read by You<

 

What You’ll Need:

 

• Your child’s favorite books.
Read to Kids app (or any other recording app/device)
• Some quiet time.

 

Children love hearing repeated stories. Often there is just not enough time in the day to read stories as many times as our little ones would like. If you can get some quiet space, take the time to record yourself reading your children’s favorite stories.

 

We like the Read to Kids app because it allows you to create the page turn sounds. The app also has a built in timer that shows how long to wait for the page turn. Let your children use the app to record themselves reading a favorite book or just telling their own stories.

 

Happy Reading!

 

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Guest Post From the Developers of Reading Raven

We are delighted to share more information with Kindertown fans about our recently released product, Reading Raven for iPad. With our initial 1.0 release, parental feedback has been extremely positive and since its release less than a month ago, Reading Raven has consistently ranked among the top 200 paid apps in the Education category of Apple’s App Store.

The idea that sparked the creation of Reading Raven came when Early Ascent founder, Scott White, was researching how he could best teach his five year old son to read. The apps he found felt one-dimensional and narrow, while the workbooks seemed effective, but dull. Thus Reading Raven was developed to combine the high educational value of workbooks with the unique user experience of touch screen mobile devices in an educational game format that is fun and engaging.

Reading Raven is phonics-based, and unlike other learn-to-read apps, even phonics apps, it takes children all the way from learning foundational pre-reading and reading skills to reading sentences and very short stories. The lessons include nearly a dozen different types of games and activities, including printing practice, word building, rhyming games, and reading aloud activities. Lessons are staged in a natural progression so that everything a child learns builds on what they have learned before and each success leads to another.

Working closely with experienced educators, the Reading Raven curriculum was adapted from a highly successful early-learning tutoring program. As part of this adaptation, the Reading Raven team has made full use of the iPad’s ability to engage children’s senses with the interactive touch screen and superior-quality voice, music, and visual content. Many of the activities dynamically adapt in speed or touch tolerance, based on individual children’s responses, so that the level of motor control is set at just the right level. Young children can even record their own voice while learning to read words and sentences and hear feedback that helps them improve their pronunciation.

Another key part of this adaptation was the involvement of our team of artists and designers who transformed traditional workbook activities into lively learning adventures that captivate children’s attention. The Reading Raven character was created as an “adventure guide” to accompany children through these various reading lessons, each set in a unique, playful setting with a new cast of delightful characters. During these learn-to-read adventures, children encounter everything from fly-eating frogs and ball-balancing seals to Yeti, the abominable snowman. By transporting kids into a world that stimulates their imagination and challenges them at just the right level, children avoid any anxious feelings of being pressured or tested. Instead they feel empowered to learn in a way that feels natural, fun, and rewarding.

Creating a reading tool that young children find enjoyable is a key goal of ours, but even more important is to give every child a solid foundation of skills to become able and confident readers. Children learn in different ways, and each child has unique strengths and struggles. Reading Raven acknowledges children’s individuality by allowing parents and teachers to customize their child’s learning experience by selecting the activities that meet each child’s needs. Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, Reading Raven can become a personalized tutor who can reach kids who are just learning the alphabet to kids who are ready to read sentences. Our hope is that no matter where kids begin their journey with Reading Raven, they will be able to grow their reading skills at a pace that feels comfortable for them.

Check out this video to see Reading Raven in action:

Yet there is more we can do. We are actively working to make Reading Raven even better and getting quality feedback from parents and teachers is vital to ensuring Reading Raven is effectively meeting the needs for as many budding readers as possible. We encourage you to send any thoughts, suggestions or feedback to: feedback@earlyascent.com. You can also stay connected by visiting our Facebook page or following us on Twitter at @readingraven.

Happy Reading Adventures!
— The Early Ascent Team

(KinderTown: Read our review of the Reading Raven educational app)

 

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New Apps in KinderTown!

New apps in KinderTown feature learning about animals, letter writing and a great app for reinforcing your bedtime routine.

Check back to the education blog every Tuesday to see the new apps in KinderTown!

Bo’s Bedtime Story (iPad)Bo’s Bedtime (iPhone)

Subject: Language

Category: Pre-Reading, Comprehension

Concept: Listening

Age: 3,4,5

Price: 1.99

Device: iPad, iPhone

Bo’s Bedtime Story is a great way for your child to practice how to get ready for bed each evening. Bo’s 10 interactive pages walks through each step of getting ready for bed, from picking out pajamas to taking a bath and then settling down to sleep. Each page has an interactive element which reinforces an early learning skill like sorting, matching and counting. By listening carefully and comprehending what the story is asking, your child will easily be able to complete all the activities and then be ready to start their own nighttime routine. We love how this app can be used as a cool down before bedtime.

Write My Name by Injini

Subject: Language

Category: Pre-Reading, Reading, Writing, Vocabulary

Concept: Letter Writing, Sight Words, Letter and Sound Recognition

Age: 3,4,5,6

Price: 1.99

Device: iPad

Write My Name by Injini blends a variety of learning experiences together in one well-designed app. Children will be practicing writing while learning letter names, sight words and increasing their vocabulary. Start by tracing and writing your name. Move on to working on uppercase and lowercase letters where children hear the letter name and are guided through how to form each letter. Finally practice writing over 100 commonly used words and watch a quick animation that models the words meaning. Two tracing modes allow ch

ildren to practice with the app making the lines or in fingerpaint mode to see their own work. P

arents, go on the app first to set up your children’s names and read through the information pages.

What Did Snakey Eat Free

Subject: Science

Category: Investigation

Age: 4,5

Price: Free

Device: Universal

What Did Snakey Eat Free by the National Wildlife Federation is a silly app that will have your child laughing while they try to figure our what is in Snakey’s belly. Game play moves slowly and is quite simple. Look at the shape of what is under Snakey’s skin and choose from 3 pictures to reveal what is inside. Both animals and objects have been eaten. Choose the matching picture and watch Snakey “throw-up” what is inside, to the delight of your young child. This app works on visual discrimination, but your child will love it because of all the “gross” bodily functions – puking and burping – that are in this app. Not a lot of learning, but if you are okay with the “gross” stuff than your child will have a blast!

ZOOLA

Subject: Science

Category: Life Science

Age: 3,4

Price: 3.99

Device: Universal

ZOOLA is a wonderful app for learning to recognize and name animals. Explore 5 categorie

s of animals. Tap on an animal picture to hear the real sound they make. See images of the adult male and female, baby and a special heart image that shows the animals as a family. Delightful music plays along and listening to the actually recordings of

the animal sounds is a fantastic feature. After exploring add your own animal pictures or play with the in app games: memory match, puzzle or Simon Says. Beware there is an easy to tap contact button that is not locked with links to Facebook, email and the app store.

If you haven’t tried this app – you should!

2BME Firefighter

Subject: Social Studies

Category: Community

Age: 4,5

Price: 1.99

Device: Universal

This week out kid testers could not get enough of 2BME Firefighter!

2BME Firefighter is an app for young children to learn about firefighters, firetrucks, and fire safety. Experiencing a day in the life of a firefighter while exploring the uniforms, equipment, how to answer emergency calls and more. Rescue a lost cat from a tree and put out fires from apartment windows. When you are done exploring, take a quiz to see how much you have learned. A really nice feature is the tutorial where children practice tapping, dragging and swiping. There is also a lite version with a small sample of content to check out before you buy.

 

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