Wonders of Water: Demme Learning Day

Learn a fun water game with our family during Wonders of Water.

Summer Camp is for parents and kids to work together, exploring the world around you with activities that will take you outside, inside, and as far as your imagination will go! Learn more by reading the Welcome to KinderTown Summer Camp! blog post.

 

“Fill the Bucket Game”

 

Math-U-See® is a complete K-12 math curriculum produced by Demme Learning. This unique program develops by level, rather than by grade, presenting mathematical concepts incrementally. Students use manipulatives at most levels to establish an understanding of the concepts and then move on to solving problems until they have demonstrated mastery.

 

Students work with liquid measurement in the Gamma level (customary units) and the Zeta level (metric units) in the Math-U-See program. As you prepare to play this water game, you can refer to this printable to review measurement.

 

MATERIALS:

  • Tools for measuring liquids– measuring cups, pint jars or plastic containers, quart jugs, half-gallon jugs, gallon jugs; may also want to include liter bottles, 2-liter bottles, milliliter droppers or teaspoons (5 ml)
  • 2-3 identical buckets
  • Large container for holding water (kiddie pool, large washtub, ice chest) or access to outdoor faucet
  • 3 x 5 notecards

 

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • On the notecards, write at least two instructions related to the measuring tools you have, such as “Add 1 cup” or “Subtract 1 pint.” You can tailor the instructions to your students as follows:
    • PK/Early Elementary: measures in whole units, using the tools you have
    • Lower Elementary: measures that require substitution (ex., “Add 1 pint” but have no pint containers or “Subtract 1 gallon” but only have half-gallon containers)
    • Upper Elementary: include metric measures

There should be a minimum of 10 cards for each level, with more “adds” than “subtracts”.

  • Divide the children into teams, or allow them to compete individually, each one getting a bucket. Put instruction cards into piles.
  • Children take turns drawing a card from the appropriate pile and following the instructions. The team or person who fills the bucket first wins.

 

Wonders of Water Giveaway

Take photos of your family enjoying water activities by posting them to social media with the hashtag #WondersOfWater or uploading them below.

 

Related Blog Posts

Wonders of Water: Opening Ceremony (6/12)
Wonders of Water: App Connections (6/15)
Wonders of Water: Grab Bag (6/16)
Wonders of Water: Closing Campfire (6/18)

 

Next series: Discover the Sun.

 

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Wonders of Water: Grab Bag

As we continue our camp week focused on the Wonders of Water, I want to share one of my family’s favorite water activities.

Summer Camp is for parents and kids to work together, exploring the world around you with activities that will take you outside, inside, and as far as your imagination will go! Learn more by reading the Welcome to KinderTown Summer Camp! blog post.

 

As we continue our camp week focused on the Wonders of Water, I want to share one of my family’s favorite water activities. It’s playing in the creek. The concept is simple: water shoes, old clothes, and lots of cool water in a shady location. We take a few buckets and shovels to discover new treasures and creatures and play in the water. My children love enjoying the outdoors and there’s always something to be learned along the way. No fancy pools or beaches, just the creek in the neighborhood. Here’s an app to enjoy alongside your exploration at the creek.

 

Meet the Insects: Water and Grass Edition

Read KinderTown's review of Meet the Insects.

 

If you discover an insect near the water, use this app to help you learn more about the insect. Meet the Insect apps are packed with information, videos, pictures and an observation journal. The app includes an Insect Story section which provides diagrams and narration in a storybook format with interactive areas for kids to learn about insects. The See Insects section provides detailed information regarding each type of bug. The scientific name is used and real pictures and facts are read aloud to children. The quiz section offers two different types of interactive quizzes. KinderTown’s favorite section is the observation journal. This would be a great tool to study insects around your home environment, at the park or over a period of time. Children can add their own photos of the insect and record the location, weather and notes about the insect. There are three different editions of Meet the Insects: Forest Edition, Village Edition, and Water and Grass Edition. These apps would be an excellent addition to a study on insects or a resource for writing a report on insects. Each individual Meet the Insects App is $4.99 or you can purchase the app bundle for $9.99. Meet the Insects apps are appropriate for children ages 5-8

 

Wonders of Water Giveaway

Take photos of your family enjoying water activities by posting them to social media with the hashtag #WondersOfWater or uploading them below.

 

Related Blog Posts

Wonders of Water: Opening Ceremony (6/12)
Wonders of Water: App Connections (6/15)
Wonders of Water: Demme Learning Day (6/17)
Wonders of Water: Closing Campfire (6/18)

 

Next series: Discover the Sun.

 

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Wonders of Water: App Connections

Explore these great apps about water for virtual water fun as we continue through Wonders of Water.

Summer Camp is for parents and kids to work together, exploring the world around you with activities that will take you outside, inside, and as far as your imagination will go! Learn more by reading the Welcome to KinderTown Summer Camp! blog post.

 

Explore these great apps about water for virtual water fun as we continue through Wonders of Water.

 

Tiggly Submarine 

Read KinderTown's review of Tiggly Submarine.

Tiggly Submarine works with Tiggly’s new hands-on product Tiggly Words. Tiggly Words includes hands on vowel letters that interact with the iPad screen to make a multimedia experience for early learners. Travel through the underwater scene and select the correct vowel to complete words such as crab, fox, hen, and sun. Tiggly Words does a wonderful job of introducing the vowels to children in the context of beginning words. Understanding the vowels and their coordinating sound is an important pre-reading skill. Tiggly Submarine is appropriate for children who are beginning to learn to read, ages 4-7.

 

Science Museum Splash

Read KinderTown's review of Science Museum Splash.

 

Science Museum Splash is all the fun and splashing of tub time for your preschooler, without mopping up your bathroom afterward. Does an item sink or float? Test it and find out! Tip your iPad side to side to see the water move, and wipe away the virtual steam. Change the temperature of the water. Want to start over again? Pull the plug and watch the water disappear down the drain.  If you are feeling brave try out each of the items in your own bathtub! Science Museum Splash is free and appropriate for children ages 3-5.

 

Sprinkle Jr.

Read KinderTown's review of Sprinkle Jr.

 

Have fun with the virtual water, and your child will develop problem solving skills in the process. Children must spray water to unlock or solve the problem presented. Each scene includes movable items in the scenery that help you extinguish flames or achieve a goal such as picking the fruit from a tree and feeding it to the animals. There are 30 fun levels included. Sprinkle Jr. is $1.99 and appropriate for children ages 3-5.

 

Wonders of Water Giveaway
Take photos of your family enjoying water activities by posting them to social media with the hashtag #WondersOfWater or uploading them below.

 

Related Blog Posts

Wonders of Water: Opening Ceremony (6/12)
Wonders of Water: Grab Bag (6/16)
Wonders of Water: Demme Learning Day (6/17)
Wonders of Water: Closing Campfire (6/18)

 

Next series: Discover the Sun.

 

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Wonders of Water: Opening Ceremony

This week’s theme is Wonders of Water. Watch the introductory video and download the weekly planner.

Summer Camp is for parents and kids to work together, exploring the world around you with activities that will take you outside, inside, and as far as your imagination will go! Learn more by reading the Welcome to KinderTown Summer Camp! blog post.

 

This week’s theme is Wonders of Water. Watch the introductory video below, and download the weekly planner.

 

Download the weekly planner for Wonders of Water.

 

 

Remember there is not one right way to conduct camp. Complete as much or as little as you can. We hope your family engages in many of the learning experiences we have laid out for the week, but the key is to do things together!

 

Be sure to post your accomplishments online by using the hashtags #KinderTownSummerCamp and #WondersofWater. We’d love to know what you are up to! Check back on the blog each weekday to see what others have done, app connections and additional activities.

 

Thanks for participating in KinderTown Summer Camp!

 

Wonders of Water Giveaway

Take photos of your family enjoying water activities by posting them to social media with the hashtag #WondersOfWater or uploading them below.

 

Related Blog Posts

Wonders of Water: App Connections (6/15)
Wonders of Water: Grab Bag (6/16)
Wonders of Water: Demme Learning Day (6/17)
Wonders of Water: Closing Campfire (6/18)

 

Next series: Discover the Sun.

 

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Welcome to KinderTown Summer Camp!

Summer Camp is for parents and kids to work together, exploring the world around you with activities that will take you outside, inside, and as far as your imagination will go!

 

Welcome to KinderTown Summer Camp!

 

Summer Camp is for parents and kids to work together, exploring the world around you with activities that will take you outside, inside, and as far as your imagination will go!

 

Each of the weeks have a creative and educational theme. Join us each Friday for our opening ceremony where you’ll find the projects and activities for the week. During the next week, you can do some of the activities for yourself, and post how it’s going and what you’re proud of! Then, on Thursday, we’ll have a closing ceremony, and you can print out your certificate of achievement.

 

KinderTown Summer Camp Themes:

 

Wonders of Water (June 12-18)
Discover the Sun (June 19-25)
America (June 26-July 2)
No Place Like Home (July 3-9)
Under the Sea (July 10-16)
Sports of All Sorts (July 17-23)
The Great Outdoors (July 24-30)
How Creative! (July 31-Aug 6)
Master Builders (Aug 7-13)
Around the Kitchen (Aug 14-20)

 



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Maker-Inspired Apps

KinderTown nods to the Maker Movement with three apps that encourage using tools, making plans, and creating a final product!

Pettson’s Inventions Deluxe

Ropes, pulleys, belts, and gears to combine and play with! Read KinderTown's review.

Ropes, pulleys, belts, and gears to combine and play with! My son really loves the challenge offered by this app, and it has quickly become one of his favorites. I like that it works on problem solving and engineering thinking skills.The app introduces the quirky characters, Pettson and Findus, and they serve as the student’s guide in creating crazy inventions. Each invention challenge involves the use of simple machines. Students must match the pieces up into the correct order to make the machine move and complete a task such as helping the bunny reach the carrots. Each challenge slowly becomes more complex as children understand how each machine part works. A star is earned for every invention that is completed correctly. There is also a “versus” section where two children can challenge each other to complete the task as a timer ticks away. In the settings section, you can increase or decrease the level of difficulty. Children will love this introduction to how simple machines work together. Pettson’s Inventions Deluxe is $2.99 and appropriate for children ages 6-8.

 

World of Goo

The World of Goo is sure to inspire the messiest builders. Read KinderTown's review.

The World of Goo is sure to inspire the messiest builders. The heart of this app is playing with the gooey, stretchy substance. Students must stretch the Goo to complete a task such as making a bridge or reaching a higher object. Each challenge has a goal of a certain number of moves (or times you stretch the Goo) to complete the task. This is truly a unique game, and the graphics are captivating. The overall game is organized into chapters and tells a story as you complete the tasks. You have to try the World of Goo to fully appreciate the experience it provides. Playing with the Goo feels like a surreal cinematic experience! The World of Goo is $4.99 and appropriate for children ages 5-8.

 

Goldie Blox and the Movie Machine

The Goldie Blox app is inspired by the Goldie Blox toys. Read KinderTown's review.

The Goldie Blox app is inspired by the Goldie Blox toys. If you haven’t heard of them, they are engineering toys for girls made in appealing pastel colors. The app works to teach beginning animation skills. Children are given step by step directions for drawing simple shapes in different spaces in order to make an animation when played consecutively. The app is focused on creativity and uses photos, colors, shapes, and stickers to make a movie. Students can browse other creations for ideas, or watch the tutorials to learn new techniques for animation. The app is focused on children ages 4-8, and is free. Check out the Goldie Blox toys as well! From this app, you can print your creations and use them with the Movie Machine Toy Set. This combination would make a great gift for the girl inventor you know!

 

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5 Must-Have Apps for 6- and 7-year-olds

Six- and seven-year-old children are a sponge for learning. Their academic growth is exciting to watch. Use these apps to encourage and challenge them!

Six- and seven-year-old children are a sponge for learning. Their academic growth is exciting to watch. Use these apps to encourage and challenge them!

 

Rocket Speller

Rocket Speller offers children an engaging space scene in which to practice spelling. Read Kindertown's review.

Spelling skills are emerging as children are learning to read and write more complex words and sentences at this age. Rocket Speller offers children an engaging space scene in which to practice spelling. The app presents words to students and they must reconstruct the word. In addition, each word is presented with a picture to reinforce vocabulary development. Rocket Speller has the option to have the word displayed (visual hints), so students are reconstructing the word in order to build visual memory of the letters. Children like how getting a few correct answers leads to different choices for designing their own rocket ship and eventually blasting it off into space. From an educational perspective, Rocket Speller combines naturally occurring letter sounds together such as ck, ee, ea, and or. Rocket Speller offers some nice options for parents. There are several different categories of words to choose from, or you can mix them all together. Parents can choose to have the narrator say the letter name or sound. KinderTown recommends choosing the “sound” option when working on spelling words. Parents can choose between capital or lowercase letters to form the words. KinderTown recommends choosing lowercase for activities involving common words that mostly appear in lowercase print. Rocket Speller has five different levels that provide options for visual and audible hints, and smart technology that can determine when a child is having difficulty and provide assistance called Adaptive Assistance. Rocket Speller is $2.99 and available for iPhone and iPad.

 

Todo Math

Todo in Spanish means “all” and is designed to inspire play with all the early childhood math concepts. Read the KinderTown review.

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. There are additional in-app purchases to access more content.

 

Endless Wordplay

As children begin to learn to read they begin to notice patterns in words and how words relate to one another. Read the KinderTown review!

As children learn to read, they begin to notice patterns in words and how words relate to one another. Endless Wordplay practices this skill in a fun way! The lovable monsters are back! This time, with a focus on reading rhyming words. The monsters travel around a map with stops along the way. Once the monster stops, his mouth opens with a rhyming word. The word is sneezed out and the letters are scattered. Your child must reconstruct the word. The letter sounds are made when the letters are touched, and the word is read when the word is reconstructed. The app does require the child to reconstruct the word in letter order. The words continue to be presented and all relate to a rhyming family: ran, can, pan, tan. Once a series is complete, a sentence is presented with the rhyming words in context and the monsters act it out. The app is free and does have in-app purchases ($4.99) to buy more rhyming families once you complete the 3 free rhyme families. A great app for the beginning reader in your family.

 

Scribble Press

Scribble Press is a must-have app for the family who loves to read, story-tell and create books together. Read the KinderTown review!

Scribble Press is a must-have app for the family who loves to read, story-tell, and create books together. Like other book creation apps, you can easily add your own photos, your child’s picture, a title and text to create a book. Scribble Press walks you through creating a story by providing lots of ideas from the start, and supports your child until you are 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. Your child is sure to love the rainbow pen, stamps and stickers included in Scribble Press. If your child needs inspiration, there are over 50 story templates. The app encourages younger 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, since reading and typing skills are needed. Scribble Press is $3.99, and if you would like to have your child’s book published and mailed to you, there is a fee for that service. Scribble Press is appropriate for children ages 4-8.

 

 

Thinkrolls

In Thinkrolls, rolling character balls take the stage as your child solves increasingly complex problems to allow their character to progress through the maze. Read the KinderTown review!

In Thinkrolls, rolling character balls take the stage as your child solves increasingly complex problems to allow their character to progress through the maze. There are two levels of game play, easy and hard. Easy is recommended for children 3-5, and hard for children ages 5-8. KinderTown recommends that all children begin at the easy level to understand the goals of the puzzles. Your child does not have to spend a long time at this level to be ready to move to the harder levels, but this will set them up for success. A blinking “redo” symbol flashes in the corner to assist your child when they are stuck and unable to complete the challenge. The challenge is then reset with the maze. The challenges in the mazes come in the form of obstacles. Some unique obstacles include fire blocks, ice blocks, balloons, and KinderTown’s favorite, the jelly block. The jelly block allows your character to jump up from one area to another. Another child tester favorite was the fire block. Watch out! If your character rolls into the fire block, it will turn black and burnt, which our child testers loved! However, the goal is to not become burnt. Children eventually solved the puzzles after experiencing the burnt characters. As the levels progress, children have to use visualization skills to predict the cause and effect of several “moves” in the puzzle. Concepts about physics and chemistry are sprinkled along the way when children must make decisions about the moving gear box, figure out how to make the balloon pop and move the ice to squelch the fire. The app offers an amazing amount of content in the 90 levels of easy game play and 90 levels of hard game play. Be sure to read the Chapter descriptions in the settings section for parents in order to have a complete understanding of all the challenges presented in each level or chapter. There are nine levels of game play included. Thinkrolls is a truly unique app priced at $2.99, available for iPhone and iPad, and is recommended for children ages 3-7.

 

 

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New iPad? Get Started With Free Apps!

If you are new to the iPad world, starting with a few free apps is a good way to get your feet wet.

 

Read KinderTown's reviews of free educational iPad apps.

By downloading free apps, you can take a look at the landscape of apps and features without spending a lot of money. Don’t be afraid to delete the free apps that are not a good match for your child. Check out these high-quality free apps. Finding free educational apps can be challenging. Check out these free apps and download the free KinderTown App to search for free apps to find even more recommendations!

MOMA Art Lab

MOMA Art Lab features 9 different activities that explore the use of shapes and lines in unique ways. Read KinderTown's review.

Many museums and educational organizations create apps to accompany their exhibits and collections. It’s a great way to take a virtual field trip to the Museum of Modern Art. MOMA Art Lab features 9 different activities that explore the use of shapes and lines in unique ways. For example, create a virtual mobile and watch it move, or create a collage and shake your iPad to reconstruct the collage. MOMA matches an artist’s work with the activity to educate children about modern art while creating their own masterpieces. KinderTown really likes how the activity directions can all be read aloud to children making the app accessible to children as young as four. In addition, there is a light-bulb icon which provides ideas for creating your own artwork. The app allows children to save their work within the app. MOMA Art Lab is free, and appropriate for children ages 4-8.

 

Scribble My Story

Scribble My Story encourages children to develop their writing skills. Read KinderTown's review.

Scribble My Story encourages children to develop their writing skills. Open-ended templates of mini-books are provided for your child, and they can fill in the missing parts of the story. The “All About Me” template is especially popular with children. Children can illustrate their story and save it within the app. Fun stickers, different markers and stamps can also be used. The app is great for beginning writers, and offers additional motivation over pencil and paper. This app is great for children who are learning to compose stories, typically Preschoolers, Kindergartners and First Graders. The app reinforces the connection between reading and writing by creating mini-books that can be reread. Children can also create their own stories by using a blank mini-book. The app does have in-app purchases, so be sure to be aware of how your child is using the app. The app is free, and appropriate for children ages 4-7.

 

Sushi Monster

This completely free app made by Scholastic is a fantastic example of how apps can transform somewhat boring academic tasks, like memorizing facts, into learning activities. Read KinderTown's review.

This completely free app made by Scholastic is a fantastic example of how apps can transform somewhat boring academic tasks, like memorizing facts, into learning activities. In Sushi Monster, the monster in the middle of the screen displays a number. Outside of the monster are two rings. Your child must move numbers from the outer ring to the inner ring to “make” the number. For example, Sushi monster might display the number 14, and the plates on the outer ring display 11, 1, 7, and 7. Your child must choose which plates to “feed” to the Sushi Monster in order to make the number 14. The app progresses through 7 addition levels and 5 multiplication levels. There is a wonderful amount of content for free! Kids love to see the Sushi Monster gobble up the numbers and along the way they are developing important number concepts. The app is free, and appropriate for students learning their addition and multiplication math facts, typically ages 5-8.

 

WWF Together

WWF Together is beautifully created with stunning pictures of endangered animals. Read KinderTown's review.

WWF Together is beautifully created with stunning pictures of endangered animals. This app is one that would be valuable to sit with your child and discuss “endangered species” through pictures. Each endangered animal is displayed through origami and includes information on creating your own origami creatures.The app also provides a few interactive activities that coordinate with some of the animals featured in the app. 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.

 

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KinderTown’s Top 14 of 2014

KinderTown transforms mobile devices into powerful teaching tools by finding and organizing the best educational apps for kids ages 3-8 years old.

 

Read KinderTown's reviews of their favorite educational apps from 2014.

Our mission is to improve early childhood education by empowering parents with the tools to be better teachers. We work hard to find the best educational apps for children. Each app we select for KinderTown has been tested and reviewed by educators, parents, and most importantly, children. Not all (or even most) of the apps meet our high standards. We take many factors into account including educational value, ease of use, engagement value, design features, artwork, cost, and shelf life. It’s through this process that we believe we can help parents use their iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches to teach their children anything.

Read KinderTown's reviews of their favorite educational apps from 2014.

1. Reading – Learn with Homer

Learn with Homer is a full “Learn to Read” series of lessons for kids. The app features letter sound instruction, sight word introduction, read aloud stories, and a mixed review of concepts presented. The app does a nice job of mixing reading instruction, a review of previously-taught concepts and the reading aloud of real books, which are all key components to learning to read. The developers of Learn with Homer conducted research using their app on children who were beginning to read, and showed that the use of the app 15 minutes a day led to an increase in their beginning reading skills. Learn with Homer is free to download but does include in-app purchases to buy additional lesson content.

2. Math – Marble Math Jr.

Marble Math Junior is an excellent example of how to merge quality game design with significant educational value. This app moves kids through the sequence of understanding the question, tapping into knowledge to form an answer, and creating a strategy for navigating the gameplay maze. Getting answers wrong is not an issue here, where it’s highly motivating to learn through trial and error, too. Take time to read the information pages to learn about all the features and customize the problems and levels. One of the most engaging, educational math apps we have played to date.

3. Spelling – Rocket Speller Plus

Rocket Speller offers children an engaging space scene in which to practice spelling. The app presents words to students and they must reconstruct the word. To reinforce vocabulary development, each word is presented with a picture. Rocket Speller has the option to have the word displayed (visual hints) so students are reconstructing the word in order to continually practice spelling it, building visual memory of the letters. Children like how getting a few correct answers leads to different choices for designing their own rocket ship and eventually blasting it off into space. Rocket Speller has five different levels that provide options for visual hints and audible hints, as well as smart technology that can determine when a child is having difficulty in order to provide what is called Adaptive Assistance.

4. Social Studies – Barefoot World Atlas

Barefoot World Atlas will completely mesmerize all members of your family. Open 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. This app is completely worth the price of $4.99 and will be appreciated by both the adults and children ages 4-8. Find a time to sit with your child and enjoy Barefoot World Atlas together.

5. Science – Human Body

The Human Body is an app made for exploring and asking questions. There is animation to accompany the six different body systems. Encourage and answer your child’s questions while exploring, and they will direct their own learning. Tap different parts of the brain, and an animation pops up depicting what that area of the brain controls. The app is not narrated, so parents need to provide the support for learning. In addition, the app offers a parent section and an option to set up multiple profiles for different children. Children can record questions while using the app, and parents can respond to them. Tinybop has even made a helpful parent guide to accompany the app. We highly recommend downloading it and using it with your child. It’s perfect for answering the tough questions your child may ask about their body. This app is brilliantly designed for scientific discovery.

6. Logic – ThinkRolls

In Thinkrolls, rolling character balls take the stage as your child solves increasingly complex problems to allow their character to progress through the maze. There are two levels of game play, easy and hard. Easy is recommended for children 3-5, and hard for children ages 5-8. KinderTown recommends that all children begin at the easy level to understand the goals of the puzzles. Your child does not have to spend a long time at this level to be ready to move to the harder levels, but this will set them up for success. A blinking “redo” symbol flashes in the corner to assist your child when they are stuck and unable to complete the challenge. The challenge is then reset with the maze. The challenges in the mazes come in the form of obstacles. Some unique obstacles include fire blocks, ice blocks, balloons, and KinderTown’s favorite, the jelly block. The jelly block allows your character to jump up from one area to another. Another child tester favorite was the fire block. Watch out! If your character rolls into the fire block, it will turn black and burnt, which our child testers loved! However, the goal is to not become burnt. Children eventually solved the puzzles after experiencing the burnt characters. As the levels progress, children have to use visualization skills to predict the cause and effect of several “moves” in the puzzle. Concepts about physics and chemistry are sprinkled along the way when children must make decisions about the moving gear box, figure out how to make the balloon pop and move the ice to quench the fire. The app offers an amazing amount of content in the 90 levels of easy game play and 90 levels of hard game play. Be sure to read the Chapter descriptions in the settings section for parents in order to have a complete understanding of all the challenges presented in each level or chapter. Thinkrolls is a truly unique app priced at $2.99, available for iPhone and iPad, and is recommended for children ages 3-7

7. Story Creation – Draw and Tell

Draw and Tell brings the best features of drawing apps into one fabulous art experience. Choose from a blank page, your photos, or one of the app’s backgrounds, and start creating. Tools like crayons, stickers, paint and erasers are used while this app records your child singing, talking, and moving stickers all over the screen. Not feeling up to creating your own picture? Try out the variety of coloring pages where you get to drop paint into the lines to create a vibrant scene. The real gem is the final product where your child’s voice and artistic creation are made into a personal movie.

8. Coding – Kodable

Kodable is an introduction to coding for young children. When children use the app, they are coding fuzz balls to move around the screen. The app starts off with very simple mazes for the fuzz balls to complete, and progress as your child completes the puzzles. The children we tested this app on loved to earn color changes for the puff ball by successfully completing puzzles. Kodable is for kids ages 5-8 and is free, but does include in-app purchases to unlock additional levels. With the free version there are 45 levels with interactive tutorials. Kodable Pro offers all of the in-app purchases in one app for 6.99 and includes interactive tutorials and learning guides. Check out their website for more information on their line of apps. Kodable also offers another feature called Kodable Sync, which is designed for classrooms in order to accommodate multiple students.

9. Visual Memory – Dexteria Dots 2

KinderTown loves the creative approach to numbers that Dexteria Dots provides. Dexteria Dots designed a game in which players are developing visual tracking, visual memory and visual motor planning skills through manipulating different sized dots within the app. While playing with the dots, children are learning math concepts such as comparing numbers, counting, adding and subtracting. In addition, fine motor skills are used to slice and connect the dots on the screen. The unique design relates the size of the dots to the numeric value. For example, a 4-dot has twice the diameter of a 2-dot. There are two different games inside Dexteria Dots 2, Make Equal Dots and Compare Dots. In the Make Equal Dots Game, children are challenged to use all the dots to make two equal dots. In the Compare Dots game children combine dots to see which side of the screen is larger. As the games advance, the numeric representation on the dots disappears, developing visual memory and discrepancy. The app is $1.99 and appropriate for children learning addition and subtraction concepts who are approximately 4-8.

10. Social Emotional – Daniel Tiger Grr-ific Feelings

Daniel Tiger’s Grr-ific Feelings provides an app in which kids can learn about different types of feelings while playing and singing with Daniel Tiger. Our kid testers loved the trolley game in which children navigate the trolley to 12 different games. Each game has a specific feeling to complete an activity, such as feeling frustrated and having to find a lost toy, or feeling happy and making Daniel Tiger dance. There is also a sing-along section where kids can sing about feelings with Daniel Tiger, as well as a drawing area that includes paint, crayons and stickers. This app provides an age-appropriate way to explore different types of feelings with children ages 3-5, and is a great way to start conversations with your children about feelings. The app is $2.99 and available for iPad.

11. Letter Sounds – Endless Alphabet

Endless Alphabet is a super silly, wacky, hilarious vocabulary learning app for kids. 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. You won’t find any high scores or multiple levels in Endless Alphabet. This app is just about learning new words in a playful, discovery-focused way.


12. Multiple Skills – Grandma’s Kitchen

Grandma’s Kitchen is sure to delight your youngest chef while practicing a variety of skills including patterning, counting tens and ones, visual discrepancy, telling time, and ABC order. Grandma’s Kitchen has a nice balance of creative play, skill-based practice and informational videos to build vocabulary. Grandma will even give your child prompts if they are having difficulty answering the question. After your child answers the question, they are rewarded with an activity with grandma such as adding ingredients to the mixer to make a cake, watching an informational cooking video, dancing with Grandma, or our favorite, giving Grandma a kiss! Parents, be sure to check out the settings area where you can decide which skills your child is practicing. Check out the fun facts section for tidbits about food, nutrition and cooking. The app is $1.99 and is appropriate for children ages 4-7.

13. Best Non-fiction Reading – Kids Discover Apps

Kids Discover is a jam-packed, non-fiction learning experience for kids. Kids Discover has a variety of topics that they offer in magazine/book-styled apps. Each topic contains pages with information and interactive elements. The app does contain a large amount of text, which is not read aloud. Parents read aloud the text to your child, or help define the topic-specific vocabulary words your child may not be able to read themselves. The apps contain great real pictures, drawings, diagrams, and areas to learn more. At the end of each app there are activities that relate to the topic of the magazine, and multiple choice quizzes with an answer key. Check out their website for excellent parent guides. They also have a teacher area with free lesson plans to accompany each of the apps. Visit their webpage to see all of the app magazine topics like electricity, the Incas, geology, the Civil War, galaxies and much more. Each one is $2.99 and appropriate for children ages 6-8.

 

14.  Handwriting – abc PocketPhonics

ABC PocketPhonics brings three important language skills together into one app. In abc PocketPhonics, children learn to recognize letters, hear letter sounds, form letters by tracing, and use the letter sounds to build words. Parents are able to create multiple users, have control over the font and letter types, what letters their child can work on, and how flawless the writing needs to be. ABC PocketPhonics tracks each user’s answer and will not advance a user unless they first demonstrate mastery of the basics. The app is $6.99 and is appropriate for children who are learning their letters and their sounds ages 4-6. Try the Lite version first to see if it is a good match for your child.

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Best Free Educational Apps from KinderTown

Free! Yes, there are some great free apps out there, but it takes a lot of work to find them.

Free! Yes, there are some great free apps out there, but it takes a lot of work to find them. Most free educational apps are a preview of the full featured versions. I would recommend taking advantage of these when you are thinking of purchasing the full version. There are a few educational apps that are free and full featured. Here are three of the best ones from the KinderTown educational app store for parents. Download the free KinderTown app, and select Free, to find these superb free apps for kids. Note: The free apps selected do not include in-app purchases or links to ads. This makes them a win-win for parents and children.

 

Phonics Tic-Tac-Toe Interactive Game

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This full featured phonics learning app by Lakeshore Learning, is designed around the traditional Tic-Tac-Toe game and is best played with a child and adult. The questions are arranged on the Tic-Tac-Toe board, but are not read aloud to children. You can guide your child’s learning by reading aloud the questions. When you or your child answers correctly a X or O appears on the board. The questions cover beginning reading concepts such as identifying blends and digraphs, recognizing words with the same beginning sounds, counting syllables, recognizing words with the same ending sounds and identifying sounds in words. I like how the game allows children to try again if they answer incorrectly the first time on their next turn. Phonics Tic-Tac-Toe is available for iPhone and iPad and is appropriate for children ages 4-6.

 

Rocket Speller

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Rocket Speller offers children an engaging space scene to practice spelling. The app presents words to students and they must reconstruct the word. In addition, each word is presented with a picture to reinforce vocabulary development. Rocket Speller has the option to have the word displayed (visual hints) so students are reconstructing the word in order to continually practice spelling the word and build visual memory of the letters. Children like how getting a few correct answers leads to different choices for designing their own rocket ship and eventually blasting it off into space. Parents can choose between capital or lowercase letters to form the words. KinderTown recommends choosing lowercase for activities involving common words that mostly appear in lowercase print. Rocket Speller has five different levels that offer options for visual hints, audible hints and smart technology that can determine when a child is having difficulty and provides assistance called Adaptive Assistance. Rocket Speller is free and available for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Rocket Speller is appropriate for children ages 4-7.

 

ABC ZooBorns

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ABC ZooBorns is an excellent app in the Peapod Labs ABC series that combines safe searching with the topic of animals. If you have five minutes or fifteen minutes to spend with your child on ABC ZooBorns, they are bound to learn something about animals. The app is easy enough to open quickly and dive into the learning, or explore more during a longer time period. Each ABC app by Peapod Labs incorporates an easy to use alphabet layout. Once a letter is chosen, an animal picture, a fun fact, and an interactive area that includes a video or activity for children is shown. Delightful classical music plays in the background as children explore through tapping different letters. Children can research and discover based on their interests and letters are reinforced as kids search. Videos, interactivity and facts that are read aloud in the app keep both children and parents in love with the ABC apps. ABC ZooBorns is free and appropriate for children ages 3-7 and available for iPhone and iPad.

 

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