Apps with Virtual Play: Plants, Jello, and Dots!

These creative apps all feature virtual play and cover a broad range of subjects from plants to math.

One of the advantages of the iPad is the ability to virtually play with a variety of colors, shapes, and spaces. These creative apps all feature virtual play and cover a broad range of subjects from plants to math.

 

Plants

Plants by Tinybop is a fabulous app to explore, play and learn about plants. Read KinderTown's review.

Plants by Tinybop is a fabulous app to explore, play and learn about plants. The app is based on three biomes, the grasslands, tundra and desert. Once inside the Deciduous forest, the seasons change, the weather changes and children can interact with the plants and animals. The app allows for multiple logins so children can explore at their own pace. The learning within the app is based on what your child explores within the biomes. While the app does provide labels in the various biomes for plants and animals it does provide facts about each one within the app. Be sure to explore their wonderfully created handbook about Plants for parents. It provides a purposeful way to explore the app and facts about the different biomes as well as further websites to explore. Plants is a truly unique educational app!

 

Cursive Writing Wizard – Trace Letters and Words

Cursive Writing Wizard includes three different cursive fonts, Zaner-Bloser, D’Nealian and French. Read KinderTown's review.

Cursive Writing Wizard includes three different cursive fonts, Zaner-Bloser, D’Nealian and French. Once you choose your font, there are five different areas for practicing cursive. The areas include practicing cursive lines, capital letters, lowercase letters, numbers and words. Cursive Writing Wizard also includes an area to create your own words such as your child’s name, spelling words or favorite words. KinderTown likes how the letter name is said and the coordinating sound is given when practicing the formation of the cursive letters. The beginning area develops fine motor skills and works to prepare children for cursive writing. KinderTown recommends using a stylus to mimic the movement and feeling of cursive writing that would be completed on paper. The app does a really nice job of varying the style that the pen completes the writing in. For example, you child can write with rainbows, beads, hearts, or cupcakes. After correctly forming the letter, the style that your pen is using, for example hearts, come alive and children can play and move the hearts around the screen. This is an excellent brain break and keeps the child’s interest. Children can even shake the iPad to make the objects dance! Parents check out the reports section to view the letters and activities your child has completed. Also, the app has the ability to add different users so multiple children in a household or classroom can use the app with individual reports collected. This app is packed with content and well worth the price of 3.99 and is appropriate for children ages 5-8.

 

Dexteria Dots 2

KinderTown loves the creative approach to numbers that Dexteria Dots provides. Read KinderTown's review.

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 size dots within the app. While playing with the dots, children are learning math concepts such as comparing numbers, counting, addition and subtraction. 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.

 

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Famous Children’s Authors Apps

Check out these literature apps, to get your children back into reading before school starts.

KinderTown can’t think of a better way to prepare for school than to dive back into reading books. Books are always a favorite experience at my house. My children love to sit on my lap and enjoy a story – I’m sure your children to do too! Take a beach towel outside and find a shade tree; you and your children are sure to enjoy the last moments of summer together. Check out these literature apps, to get your children back into reading before school starts.

 

Don’t Let the Pigeon Run this App

Don't Let the Pigeon Run this App!

Don’t Let the Pigeon Run This App, is a personal favorite of mine. The app is based on the famous book “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!” By Mo Willems. The app is cleverly titled “Don’t let the Pigeon Run this App”, which plays on Mo Willems famous books Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay up Late and many more. Check them out at your local library. In this app,appropriate for children ages 3-6, your child brings a new Pigeon story to life when the bus driver asks for ideas. The app is narrated by the author Mo Willems, as himself and the Pigeon. When opened, the app awakens with the happy cheering voices of children. Choose Create Your Own Story to begin. This app offers three different options for creating your own pigeon story depending on your child’s level; egg, chick or big pigeon. The egg level creates a new pigeon story for your child to listen to and invites them to read along. We recommend leaving the reading tab open so your child can see the words as the story is told. The chick level gives your child picture choices in order to customize the story. In the Big Pigeon level, your child then uses their own voice to add their ideas…a definite parent favorite. Once you make choices for the story you must shake the pigeon in order for the story to be created. Finally, listen to your story and laugh with your child and enjoy literature, storytelling and the experience of loving a book character. The app saves all your child’s creations under Favorite Stories and includes an area where your child can learn to draw the pigeon himself. This is an app to be enjoyed alongside your child and is sure to be loved by children of all ages. Pair this app with Mo Williams’ books from your local library for a rich learning experience. The app is $5.99 and is appropriate for children ages 3-6.

 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Friends Play and Explore

The Very

This app is based on Eric Carle’s famous book The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The app opens with Eric Carle’s famous artwork and a book to open. Inside the book, the narrator explains non-fiction concepts about caterpillars, butterflies and other informational topics that coordinate with The Very Hungry Caterpillar book. After listening to brief age appropriate explanations about nature, children are given a goal. For example, one goal is to win a Healthy Eater Badge and try to avoid all the sweet treats. After each activity, another brief informational text is read with a new goal given. From the main home page, children can also choose to complete puzzles, spot the differences or create a sticker scene with Eric Carle’s artwork. Parents please be aware that the app does include additional in-app purchases to unlock all the content in the Spot the Difference, Jigsaw and 3D Sticker book areas. The app is $3.99 and is appropriate for children ages 3-5. This app would best be paired with an author study on Eric Carle. An author study is simply a detailed look at an author and noticing their style and craft of writing. Your local library would be a great place to discover all of Eric Carle’s books.

 

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It’s all About Numbers!

Numbers are viewed by children everywhere in our environment. Check out the best number apps!

Numbers Here, Numbers Everywhere…10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1! Numbers are viewed by children everywhere in our environment. Check out the best number apps!

 

Drive About: Number Neighborhood

Drive About

Drive About Numbers incorporates many different types of games that practice number concepts. When the app opens a child friendly map is shown and includes 9 different mini-games that practice different math concepts such as shapes, writing numbers, counting groups of objects, matching and collecting numbers in order. Our child tester favorite was using the slingshot to put the correct number of balls into the monster’s mouth. The app is $2.99 and is appropriate for children ages 3-6. This app would be a perfect fit for a child entering pre-kindergarten or kindergarten this school year. Throughout the year as the math concepts are presented in school, your child could return again and again to the app to practice them.

 

Todo Math

Todo Math

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 18 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 includes adaptive play, which means the games automatically adapt to your child’s skill level. 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.

 

Counting Caterpillar

Counting Caterpillar

Counting Caterpillar is appropriate for children ages 3-6. The app has three levels: easy, medium and hard. In easy mode, the child counts by ones to add segments to the caterpillar. In medium mode, the child practices in the same way by counting by 2’s, 5’s or 10’s. In hard mode, children are presented with a random number to begin counting from. In the app, your child must feed the aphids to the hungry caterpillar. After the correct number is fed to the caterpillar it is added as a segment to the caterpillar.The app rewards children with a butterfly after an exercise is completed correctly. This is a simple app designed to practice basic number concepts.

 

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Multi-Player Educational Apps

Have fun with your children this summer by playing one of these multi-player educational games.

App developers are discovering the possibilities of group learning games on the iPad. There are not a lot of multi-player education apps out there, but there are a few worth noting. Have fun with your children by playing one of these multi-player educational games

 

MatchBlitz

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If you don’t have this free app for your kids, you must download it and play Match Blitz with them this summer! I was instantly drawn to the easy interface and competition that this app offers. The object of the game is to tap the same object in all of the sectioned areas of the game board. For example, in two-player mode, tap the object that appears on each half of the screen. Be the first to tap the object and earn points. Be careful, because an incorrectly tapped object will cause you to lose points. There are options for 3 and 4 players as well within the app. This app develops visual perception, memory, and concentration skills in children and helps them learn social skills while playing with others. Match Blitz offers a practice area where children can get a feel for how the game works before actually playing. Match Blitz was created by the developer, Shiny Things, and incorporates the characters and objects from their other apps into Match Blitz. Even though this app is free, it does not include any ads– a win-win for parents and children. This app is appropriate for kids ages 4-8 and lots of fun for adults, too!

 

Futaba – Classroom Games for Kids

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Futaba Classroom Games for Kids allows up to 4 kids to sit around the iPad, answering questions to win points. This app is useful for reviewing vocabulary and facts already in the app and includes settings to create and add your own content. There is even a single-player mode, which is perfect for independent play or homework time. With the number of customization options, it is really an exciting app for teachers and parents. This app would be great for your child to review content already learned during the school year. The app costs $6.99 and offers content in multiple subject areas. There is a free version you can try called Word Games for Kids–Futaba, but there are ads in the app. Futaba Classroom Games for Kids is appropriate for children ages 5-8.

 

Operation Math Code Squad

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Operation Math Code Squad gets up to 4 kids together to take math operation challenges. Using the same theme as the well-loved Operation Math app from Spinlight Studios, the teams of kids playing are challenged to answer math problems in order to complete missions. The app does rank players, but is thoughtfully designed to get kids supporting each other instead of pitting them against each other. If you want to keep playing, all players need to answer questions correctly. Game play includes all operations and is easy to customize for the unique level of multiple players. The app is easy to use and fun for group play. One struggle we had was telling the difference between the numbers 9 and 6, which you often have to read upside down; this it was hard to do quickly because the numbers were spinning in the middle of the screen. This would be a great multi-player app to use to practice math facts.  Operation Math Code Squad costs$2.99 and is available for iPad.

 

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Artistic Apps by Avokiddo

These apps are so artistically created that you will wonder whether you child is playing and learning with art or an iPad, really it’s both.

I love the artistic quality of the Avokiddo apps so much that I would like to highlight both Avokiddo ABC Ride and Avokiddo Emotions. These apps are so beautifully created that you will wonder whether your child is playing and learning with art or an iPad. (Really it’s both!)

 

Avokiddo ABC Ride

Screenshot 2014-04-11 11.12.46

Avokiddo ABC Ride blends the great artistic qualities of cut-paper art design with learning letters. The characters, Beck and Bo, appear in the park, and your child can begin to play with them as he chooses a bike to ride through the park. Along the way, activities included in the scenery prompt your child to play a learning game that is associated with a letter. Once the activity is completed, students must reconstruct a word that starts with that letter. Another way to navigate the app is to use the ABC icon in the corner to choose a specific letter. In the parent section, choose uppercase or lowercase letters, whether to have the app state the letter name or the phonics sound, and other options, such as music and narration check boxes. Avokiddo ABC Ride combines artistic characters and scenes with a healthy dose of play while your child learns letter names and sounds. Avokiddo ABC Ride costs $2.99, is appropriate for children ages 3-5, and is available on iPhone and iPad.

 

Avokiddo Emotions

Screenshot 2014-04-11 11.11.52

Avokiddo Emotions opens with Avokiddo’s signature artistically created characters. Tap on the zebra, sheep, or giraffe to play with the character. Next, objects fall onto the screen, and your child gets to choose which ones to attach to the character. For example, a big straw hat turns the character into a beach-loving animal. With each object and scene, the characters display emotions associated with the scene and objects. Decide which foods to feed the characters to see how they will react. (Do they like pumpkin, watermelon, or a sandwich?) You can save your picture to your camera roll while playing or pull the lever to have all new objects come into the scene. Through this type of play, young children are learning about emotions, cause and effect, and body language. Avokiddo Emotions is available for $2.99,is appropriate for children ages 3-5, and is available for iPhone and iPad. Enjoy the artistic characters and explore their emotions as you add fun props.

 

Show What You Know: Cut Paper Art

The app, Beck and Bo is designed in a cut paper style. Grab all your paper scraps around the house and have fun creating a cut paper masterpiece and incorporate letter-sound associations, too.

 

Supplies:

-scraps of paper or full sized pieces of paper

-glue

-1 larger piece of paper to use as a construction base

-scissors

 

Have your child begin to cut paper to design a picture. For example, cut out a circular shape for a ship, circles and squares for windows, and long rectangles for the mast. Arrange the cut pieces on the larger piece to create a picture. While creating this with your child, attach the beginning letter or word to objects. For example, write the letters “Sh” on the ship, and “M” on the mast. Talk about the beginning sounds with your child. Provide the letters and sounds if your child is at the beginning stages of learning their letters. If your child knows most of their letter sounds, write the word and ask “What else begins like the word sun?” This activity can be tailored to many different levels. Also, allow your child to experiment and explore with different abstract shapes that may not have a direct letter or word correlation.

 

We would love to hear from you…. Does your child love one of our apps? Did you try the “Show What You Know” activity? Let us know what you thought at sayhello@kindertown.com.

 

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3 Engaging Apps for Kids

We have new apps to add to the KinderTown store, and KinderTown has rounded up three engaging apps your children will return to again and again.

We have new apps to add to the KinderTown store, and KinderTown has rounded up three engaging apps your children will return to again and again.

 

Grandma’s Kitchen

Grandma’s Kitchen is sure to delight your youngest chef while practicing a variety of skills. Read KinderTown's review.

Grandma’s Kitchen is sure to delight your youngest chef while they practice a variety of skills including patterns, counting tens and ones, visual discrimination, telling time, and alphabetical order. Grandma’s Kitchen has a nice balance of creative play, skill-based practice, and informational videos to build vocabulary. When the app opens, you are greeted by Grandma cooking in her kitchen. Click on “Play,” and your child is shown a mixture of 8 different types of questions to answer. 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! Children can even take pictures of the cakes they decorate with Grandma. Parents, be sure to check out the Settings area, where you can select which skills your child will practice. Check out the Fun Facts section for tidbits about food, nutrition, and cooking. This app is appropriate for kids ages 4-7 and is available for iPod, iPhone and iPad for $1.99. This app is sure to make your child feel like they are learning in Grandma’s Kitchen!


Endless Reader

Endless Reader combines colorful characters and common words for your beginning reader. Read KinderTown's review.

Our child testers kept coming back to Endless Reader to see the quirky monsters, playful animation, and humorous interactions between the monsters. Endless Reader combines colorful characters and common words for your beginning reader. The opening screen has a rolling ABC line inside a monster’s mouth where children can choose a letter. After a letter is chosen, the word that corresponds with the letter comes alive with animation, and the letters are scattered. Your child’s job is to reconstruct the word. When each letter is tapped, it makes the corresponding letter sound, reinforcing the letter-sound association. Next, a definition is presented, and your child must match the words to those in the sentence. Endless Reader then reads the sentence to your child, and the playful animals act it out. This app is perfect for children who are just beginning to read or who have mastered most of their letter sounds. The app is free and includes 6 free words, with in-app purchases to buy additional reader packs. It is appropriate for children ages 3-6. Download Endless Reader and have your child learn to read with these friendly monsters!

 

Bugs and Buttons 2

Bugs and Buttons 2 offers 18 new games and includes many of the features we've come to love in other Little Bit Studio apps. Read KinderTown's review.

Bugs and Buttons 2, appropriate for ages 3-6, offers 18 new games and includes many of the features we’ve come to love in other Little Bit Studio apps, such as pleasing music, astounding graphics, and, of course, those playful bugs! From the home screen, click on Start to begin the game play. Skills-based games that work on colors, matching, letter sequencing, and much more begin! It even includes a game to work on fine motor skills for beginning handwriting. The games automatically increase in difficulty according to your child’s skill level. While playing the games, children can earn stickers upon successful completion of parts of the game. In addition, parents, you can easily check the stickers earned in the Explore section of the menu. Also, this app allows for the creation of multiple profiles, which makes it ideal for learning centers, pre-K or kindergarten classrooms, or multiple children in one household. Bugs and Buttons 2 is packed with learning. Our child testers kept returning to this app, so it comes highly recommended from KinderTown.

 

 

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