3 Gift Ideas for Kids Who Want to Code
Coding is the latest craze among tech lovers and their kids. Consider these toys if you want to develop your kid’s coding skills.
Fisher-Price® Code-a-pillar™ Review
Code-a-pillar is a toy aimed at the youngest learner. It is intended to introduce 3-6 year-olds to the concepts behind coding. Right out of the box, the caterpillar comes with batteries installed and is ready to play with, a big win for children in this age group.
You will need a large open space with a hard surface. The goal for your child is to connect the pieces of the caterpillar in order to make it move in the intended direction. A picture showing the intended move appears on the top of each caterpillar piece. Children can rearrange the pieces and see the effect on the caterpillar’s movement. There is a delayed reaction to the initial movement, which could be frustrating for some children. Also, if you do not have a large enough area for the caterpillar to move, it ends up running into furniture or other objects, which can lead to frustration or a lack of understanding of how the caterpillar is intended to work. To reduce frustration, remove some of the caterpillar pieces so only 3-4 directions are used to guide the caterpillar. Parents, be sure to guide your child in this process of discovery because the cause-and-effect relationships of the symbols to the caterpillar’s movement may not be apparent. After your child understands the idea of the toy, see if they can navigate the caterpillar around a single object or multiple objects.
Code-a-pillar comes with colorful circular cards that can serve as obstacles. Overall, the Code-a-pillar is easy to use and does introduce the foundations of coding, but children may need guidance to make a secure connection between their play and the coding signs. Also, the toy is noisy and does not have a volume control button. Code-a-pillar also offers expansion packs, which include additional caterpillar pieces that move the caterpillar in different directions or make additional sound or light actions.
Scroll to the bottom to enter a giveaway for the Code-a-pillar that was reviewed for this blog post.
Osmo Coding Review
The Osmo Coding system works with the Osmo base and stand. Once opened, the Osmo system does require about 20 minutes for set up. The steps are easy to follow. You must set up the Osmo stand and mirror on your iPad, download the coordinating app, and create an account to get started. The account lets you create multiple profiles for different children in your household and track their progress.
The object of Osmo Coding is to move a friendly blue monster through the woods by using the hands-on pieces to help him move in the direction of his favorite fruit, strawberries! Children must use the pieces to tell the monster the correct code to obtain the desired strawberries. The app does a very nice job of visually showing your child which pieces to use to obtain the desired code in the beginning. As your child progresses, the codes become more challenging, but the app does provide support and hints for children along the way. The game is designed in a virtual world with stops along the way for coding challenges. The game does take some tenacity to complete the challenges and may frustrate some children without parental guidance. There is a pink bar that pops up along the way to show how far along in each challenge your child has progressed. The only obstacle we had while using Osmo coding was keeping the pieces within range of the camera. As children change the pieces, it is easy to move out of range of the camera. Be sure to keep the pieces close so the mirror can read each piece.
Scroll to the bottom to enter a giveaway for the Osmo Coding system that was reviewed for this blog post. (You’ll need the Osmo base and stand to use this toy.)
Wonder Workshop Dash Robot Review
This robot is not for the faint of heart. A basic knowledge of coding on the child and/or parent’s part is helpful in having a successful experience with the Wonder Workshop Dash robot. There are so many capabilities of the robot that initially using it can be overwhelming. Dash does come ready to play without the box; simply charge the robot, and your child can begin interacting with it via the coordinating apps. The robot is not compatible with all generations of iPads, so be sure to check their website to be sure your tablet is compatible. The app does support both Android and Apple products. The robot does appear to be well made and works well on hard surfaces or carpet. You will need a large space to be able to use the robot easily.
First download and open the app and begin to navigate the robot with your child. The apps do not provide much support in getting started, so be sure to help your child and be ready to experiment to figure out what works well. The robot does have exciting capabilities such as recording your own voice, dancing, singing, or avoiding obstacles. There are several apps that work with the robot: Blockly for Dash & Dot Robots, Go for Dash & Dot Robots, Wonder for Dash and Dot Robots, and Path for Dash robot.
The app, Go for Dash & Dot Robots is the easiest to use with Dash, and I would recommend starting with this one. This app would be appropriate to use with children ages 4-8. The app allows you to immediately control and move the robot in a simple way. Use the joystick to move it forward and back, turn its head, change the light color, and play a set of preset sounds. Next, use the Path for Dash robot app. This app provides children with an arena to experiment with the controls used with Dash but in a more purposeful way. Children can complete a maze on a racetrack and add fun noises, such as wheels squealing and honking horns, or move the robot around the farm while making animal noises. This app would be appropriate for children ages 5-8. Finally, Wonder for Dash and Dot Robots and Blockly for Dash & Dot Robots provide a more structured and in-depth look at coding. These apps are appropriate for children 8 and older. Also, check out Dash’s additional extensions, including Dot, a compatible smaller robot, Wonder Workshop Xylophone for Dash Robot, Wonder Workshop Launcher for Dash Robot, and Wonder Workshop Build Brick Extensions for Dash and Dot Robots.
Wonder Workshop Dash robot is a complex robot that would be valuable for families with a high interest in learning coding skills, small education groups, after-school learning, and summer camps. The robot is long lasting in that it offers a variety of levels of learning in the area of coding and has multiple extensions that can be explored with children.
KinderTown Tech Toys Sweepstakes
Make learning coding cool with one of these tech toys. You can even win one of the toys mentioned in this blog post. You’ll get our gently-used review copy in the original packaging – they’re as good as new! Check below to make sure you’re eligible to win, then register by entering your email address.
Read more of our tech-related reviews & guides here.
Tags: coding, interactive, robot, young learner
The 7 Types of Educational Apps
Many educators and parents are searching for educational apps that provide the best virtual environment for learning to take place. Generally, this means apps that deliver meaningful content with an in-depth experience incorporating discovery and challenge.
These apps are often “free-play” or “choice-filled” games that encourage kids to engage in their own learning. Apps that integrate depth of content and choice empower learners and construct understanding. These apps have activities designed to support the child as they progress and master tasks. This keeps your child in the ideal zone for learning , building on past concepts and challenging them to try something new. Feedback is often provided for parents or teachers through email to let you know how your child is progressing.
However, a lot of educational apps don’t fit this ideal or only offer one of the types of learning experiences listed above. Often they don’t offer children independent choices, and they stay on the surface of educational subjects instead of diving into deep thinking. Is there value in these types of apps, or should parents and teachers not use them? Just because an app doesn’t meet the ideal doesn’t mean there isn’t value in the other experiences. Completing math drills, reviewing grammar skills, or playing puzzle games can support your child’s overall development, too.
To help me make sense of the different types of educational apps and the learning experiences they provide, I have created 7 overlapping categories. Sounds like a lot? It is. Keep in mind that many apps fit into two or three different categories because each provides something a little different to a child’s learning experience.
Breaking Down the 7 Categories
1. Playful Learning
These are the apps that I tend to enjoy the most. They are silly, funny, and open-ended. Just because the educational content doesn’t take the center stage doesn’t mean that your child isn’t learning through play. Play is primary mode of learning for most young children. These apps mirror the free play your child enjoys at home, such as pretending in the kitchen, driving trucks, building with blocks, or playing dress-up. You want these educational apps for your kids because they encourage creativity and lead to more creative, playful experiences away from the app. For example, after playing with a virtual science lab for kids, my daughter asked if she could freeze soap bubbles to see what would happen to the solution. Good examples of this type of app would be the apps made by Toca Boca and Dr. Panda. Try out Toca Lab for a playful science lab your children will love!
When reviewing an eBook for educational content, not just a good read, I look for the experience to encourage learning through listening and observation. eBooks that use meaningful interactivity (not just tap to see what happens) for extra practice and play also fall into this category. It is always exciting to find stories that use interactivity to connect learning experiences and vocabulary to real life. Your child benefits from hearing stories read aloud in order to develop vocabulary, an understanding of story lines, and a love of books, especially during the pre-reading years. Auryn HD- Teddy’s Day, Cinderella by Nosy Crow, and Goodnight Moon are some of my family’s favorites.
These apps usually generate a question and ask the child to choose between three or four choices. I wouldn’t encourage this kind of app for play time, but why not use them for homework and extra practice? Especially if you are replacing the time your child is spending with sheets of paper and pencils, the use of these apps can have many more benefits. They’re great for fluency, test prep, and direct one-step content practice. Be present when your child uses this type of app because often they can choose the wrong answer several times, which creates a less beneficial learning experience. Try out Todo Math and Bluster! Deluxe as examples of workbook/worksheet types of educational apps.
4. Puzzles and Traditional Games
There are now many puzzle, memory, matching, and other classic early learning games available in app form. These apps have the potential to support cognitive development in the same way as traditional games, such as encouraging reasoning skills through a game of Go Fish or developing spatial skills through a classic puzzle. I still believe it is beneficial to dust off the traditional puzzles once in a while, but these apps are really fun for kids, too. There are extra benefits of developing social skills when they include multiple children. Try these apps made for more than one child.
5. Theme Experiences
These apps let your child delve into themes that really interest them. If your child can’t get enough of dinosaurs, why not grab a few dinosaur apps and let them explore? This is similar to going to the library and grabbing a few books. Your child is absorbing so much of their passion that it is hard to keep up, so include iPad apps in their quest for new knowledge. Check out the Science and Social Studies categories in KinderTown to find apps that correlate to your child’s current interests. Barefoot World Atlas, appropriate for ages 4-8, and Geography Drive USA, ages 6-8, are favorites in my house.
6. Interactive Encyclopedias
This one is easy – you get to see videos and images and even play games right in the app. Do I need to say more? These are beneficial because your child is exploring topics of interest. For example, if your child is struggling with understanding the life cycle of plants, an app like this might be the way to make the connections to the content they need. ABC Aquarium is an excellent example of this type of app, appropriate for the youngest learners.
7. BYOC for Kids – Build Your Own Content
These apps are less game-like in structure and have more of an open design that allow kids to create their own unique activities from scratch. The benefit of these apps is building what you want instead of only using pre-made offerings. Create your own machine, design your own work of art, or build a virtual world. These apps are beneficial for parents who want to create a special experience for their child above and beyond traditional learning. Try out Pettson’s Inventions Deluxe, Faces iMake – Premium!, and Toca Builders for engaging experiences that are sure to tempt you to jump in and create alongside your child.
A variety of app options provide an opportunity to search for what is going to suit each child best. There is much more out there than the “gold standard” that gives a valuable learning experience for your child. KinderTown can help you discover the latest and best educational apps for your child.
Tags: creation, ebooks, games, interactive, playful, puzzles, types, virtual
Best Apps for Learning About People
Kids love to learn about other children around the world, and one of the great advantages about the iPad is that you can easily access information from around the world to have at your child’s fingertips. Enjoy these apps that celebrate all types of people!
Learn About People with These Apps
Wee-You Things (iOS only)
Wee You-Things is a beautiful e-book app that shares an important message. “You-things” in the app are all those unique things about people. The message in the app is that we all have “you-things,” and that is what makes us special. Kids are greeted by over 20 unique characters to learn about each one’s “you-thing.” Interactivity on the page highlights, in some very funny ways, the character’s special quality. You are sure to hear some giggles when your children use this app. What we love about this e-book is that it opens up so many possibilities for conversations between adults and kids. You-Things is an excellent social learning app that is a must-have for your kids. Wee-You Things is appropriate for children ages 3-8 and costs $2.99.
Barefoot World Atlas (iOS only)
Barefoot World Atlas will completely mesmerize all members of your family. Open the app 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. The app is completely worth the price and will be appreciated by both adults and kids. Additional information packets such as World Art or Great Cities can be purchased for $0.99. We see this app becoming one the family sits on the couch and uses together. Barefoot World Atlas costs $4.99 and is appropriate for children ages 5-8.
One Globe Kids – children’s stories from around the world (iOS only)
One Globe Kids is an app designed to bring kids in other countries and cultures into your child’s world. The app allows children to learn about kids from around the world. KinderTown loves the pictures and voices of the children included in the app as they share different aspects of their everyday life. The app opens by allowing your child to personalize their experience by choosing their language and adding a photo of themselves. Then children can explore different cultures by spinning the globe and tapping hot spots that indicate a child is featured from that part of the world. Each child featured includes facts about that child’s native country, language, and even a tutorial on how to speak a few words in that language. Pictures of the child in their home country are included and show what a typical day in the life of the child might include. The app is appropriate for children ages 3-8 and provides an easy way for children to learn about other cultures without ever leaving home. One Globe Kids is completely kid safe with no advertisements or information being shared with others. There is a section where children from other countries can ask your child questions, and they can record their responses as if they were talking to that child, but the information is not shared outside of the app. The app is free and includes a profile of one child in Haiti. Additional content can be purchased for the price of $1.99 per country. One Globe Kids has an education version available as well called Globe Smart Education 1, which provides all of the content for one purchase price of $3.99.
Related Blog Post:
Developing Social Skills with Apps
Tags: culture, ebook, geography, interactive, people
iTikes Map Review & Guide
iTikes has created a nice hybrid product for early learners.
The iTikes Map is compatible with your iPhone but can also be a stand-alone toy (although that sounds a little sad, doesn’t it?). The map offers several ways to interact with different types of maps. The map comes with interchangeable card maps of different subjects: dinosaurs, world facts, music, solar system, world cats, and world dogs. Each of the maps use three different levels of difficulty on the topic in order to engage a wider age range of children. When playing with the map, use the pen to tap on the pictures around the map to hear fun facts to learn about the region. The dogs and cats map of the world was especially of interest to my daughter. If using the iPhone, the app will provide additional tidbits of information in the form of 3D interactive images and animated facts. The iTikes map is a great way to introduce children to different topics around the world while building map-reading skills. The toy is easy to use for young children, and teaches a wide variety of topics.
Where to Buy: Amazon, Wal-Mart
Who is iTikes Map For?
It’s great for children ages 3-6 with an interest in other cultures and places around the world.
What’s the Educational Value of iTikes Map?
The interactive maps provide many different types of educational information on topics around the world using videos, music, 3D diagrams, and interactive features in the free app. The toy offers many options: different maps, use with or without the iPhone, and three different levels of play. It’s more than a toy; it’s an educational experience.
Platform: iOS for iPhones
Tags: guide, hybrid, interactive, music, space, toy
Educational Apps for the Holidays
Add a little magic to your holidays this year by enjoying these KinderTown-approved educational apps.
12 Days of Christmas is a delightful holiday app that gives kids an opportunity to experience the traditional song, and also creates a custom video of themselves singing. You have two options for game play: sing-along or play-along. In play-along, your job is to follow along with the song and tap the number that goes along with the song patterns. In sing-along, your child records him- or herself, both video and audio, singing along. Create your own family’s 12 Days of Christmas. The app is $1.99 and appropriate for children ages 3-6.
First Words Christmas will support your beginning reader in building winter holiday words, sound by sound. For children already blending sounds, First Words becomes an app for practicing spelling. Parents can set up the appropriate environment for their child by adjusting the variety of settings. Thematic words paired with colorful pictures for young children, and options for parent customization, are what make this app a success. The app is $1.99 and appropriate for children ages 3-6.
How The Grinch Stole Christmas! brings the classic holiday story to your device. The original story, text and illustrations, are easy for your children to listen to or begin to read themselves. The interactivity in this text is timed to not disrupt or distract from the story. The best part is that you don’t have to read the story aloud day after day if you use the “read to me” feature. We enjoy the apps for the family to listen and share together in the car or as a bedtime routine. The app is $4.99 and appropriate for children ages 3-8.
KidsMag takes the traditional children’s magazine and makes it come alive with thematic interactive games, teaching moments, art and music. For the holiday season, KidsMag has released a special Christmas issue that has your child dressing up Santa and a Christmas tree, spelling Christmas words and playing with shadows. KidsMag integrates vocabulary lessons with meaningful Math, Science and Language activities, created in a learning environment where kids thrive. Kids Mag Christmas Edition is $1.99 and appropriate for children ages 4-8.
Wubbzy’s The Night Before Christmas takes your child through the beloved Christmas poem with a few new twists and turns. Features include options to use the app as a book with no hotspots, or with full interactivity while the story is read aloud or with just word support. In the app you’ll find flying sled games, coloring pages, and a few other surprises. At the end, parents are supported with questions for talking and thinking about the story. Overall, Wubbzy’s The Night Before Christmas is a fun, colorful story that kids love to listen to. The app is $2.99 and appropriate for children ages 3-7.
Tags: christmas, ebook, holidays, interactive, magazine, songs
Curl up with a Digital Book App
Reading Aloud to your child is one of the many things that you as a parent can do to prepare your child for kindergarten and beyond. Many experts recommend reading 1,000 books prior to kindergarten. Why not use some of these digital book apps to read to your child? The app can read to them, or you can turn the narration off, and read the story aloud to your child. Store a few away on your phone and you will always have a book with you to read to your child during those “in between” moments. Reading a book is a great way to spend that “in between” time while waiting to pick up a sibling, sitting in the Doctor’s office, waiting at the bus stop, or at home before bed.
iStoryTime is a digital library full of books you can purchase. This digital library specializes in popular cartoon character stories such as Wubbzy, Jim Henson’s Fraggle Rock, Strawberry Shortcake, VeggieTales, Yo Gabba Gabba!, Animal Planet, The Smurfs, Sid the Science Kid, Barney, Mike the Knight, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Puss n’ Boots, How To Train Your Dragon, Madagascar, Shrek, Kung Fu Panda and others. If your child likes many of these characters, iStoryTime would be a good match for you. Also included in iStoryTime’s library are classic stories such as The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, and Jack and the Beanstalk. New stories are added each week, and there is a locked parent section to view the store. A handy “My Books” area holds your purchased books. The stories do not contain much interactivity, but provide animated narration, and some of the books highlight the words as they are read. The app also includes four free books to try before purchasing additional titles as in-app purchases. iStoryTime is a handy addition to your on-the-go reading time.
Little Red Riding Hood, The Three Little Pigs, Jack and the Beanstalk, Cinderella by Nosy Crow
KinderTown adores these recreated fairy tale classics! The stories include wonderful graphics, moving characters and scenes, speech bubbles, puzzles to solve along the way, and child-centered story development. For example, in the Little Red Riding Hood, there is a slide-out map for children to determine the direction in which they advance through the story. Each area contains information about the story and a puzzle or activity to increase engagement, such as imitating a tune with musical instruments (with a monkey!), or helping a lost spider out of her web. The stories are based on the classic fairy tales, but updated and adapted to engage young, 21st-century readers. Kudos to the developer for reinventing timeless classics for the next generation. Each fairy tale is $2.99 and appropriate for children ages 3-7.
Polar Bear Horizon by Oceanhouse Media
Polar Bear Horizon is a non-fiction book app for children to learn about polar bears. This app has a lot of strengths: great narration, rich vocabulary, colorful pictures, tappable picture labels and highlighted words. Older children could also personalize the app by rerecording the narration, or parents can rerecord the story for children. Compiled with the help of the Smithsonian Institute, the information is sure to fascinate children and provide new facts to learn. Oceanhouse Media provides many fascinating educational topics for their e-book apps, check out the full Smithsonian collection. Each ebook app is $2.99 and appropriate for children ages 5-8.
Tags: ebook, interactive, Reading
Unique eBook Apps
eBooks are wonderful types of apps to have on your iPad or iPhone to read with your child on the go or at home. Reading books with your child builds vocabulary, comprehension and fluency skills that will grow and develop even more as your child learns to read themselves.
Kids Discover is a jammed 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. Choose from interesting topics such as Cells, Plants, Incas, Simple Machines, Extreme Weather, Antarctica, or Washington D.C. Visit their webpage to see all of the app magazine topics. Each one is $2.99 and appropriate for children ages 6-8.
Me Books is a children’s library app. The app has a nice selection of books. In the Me Books app, when the books are read aloud, the words are not highlighted and the books are not interactive as created. However, children can create their own interactive components in the story. Children can highlight a character and make a recording to be read when tapped during the story. Me Books offers a variety of books to choose from to download into your Me Books library. Each book ranges in price from $.99 to $4.99. Me Books does offer a variety of comics as well which can be motivating for some reluctant readers through a separate app called Me Comics. Also, be sure to visit their website and sign up for their newsletter to receive a 10 offer to jumpstart your library.
Boombons is an interactive children’s magazine made for Preschoolers. Max, Lola and Oscar are the character’s that lead the learning in the interactive magazine. KinderTown loves the 60 interactive scenes that provide different learning activities that address different early learning skills such as noticing differences, sorting and matching objects, spatial awareness, numbers and colors. The change in scenes and virtual pages of the magazines keeps young learners interested in the app. Boombons comes with one free interactive magazine. An additional issue is available for purchase for $.99.
The Terrifying Building in Eyeville
This unique e-book attempts to explain cancer to children. This book would be a good way to start a conversation with a child about cancer. The book does not have a lot of interactivity, but the graphics are engaging for children. The story is a bit lengthy about a destructive builder named “Kanser” that comes to town. “Kanser” eventually ruins the town and the town people leave to a new town and are able to start over again. The author wrote the e-book after having a child with a form of cancer as a way to help kids connect with the concept of cancer.
Tags: ebook, interactive, library, magazine, Reading
Celebrate Fall with Apps
Pumpkins, Costumes, Hay rides, Jack-o-Lanterns, and Scarecrows; Children love this time of year. Enjoy the season with these educational fall apps!
First Words Halloween
First Words Halloween will support your beginning reader to build Halloween holiday words, sound by sound. For children already blending sounds, First Words becomes an app for practicing spelling. Parents can set up the appropriate environment for their child by adjusting the variety of settings. Thematic words with “spooktacular” pictures for young children and more control for parents makes this app a success. First Words Halloween is $1.99 and is appropriate for children ages 3-6.
Little Critter Trick or Treat
Little Critter Trick or Treat is a cute story about preparing for Halloween. The words are highlighted as they are read to your child. Each page has a few interactive elements. The story includes many activities that your family may be doing to prepare for fall such as searching for a costume and choosing a pumpkin. The Little Critter characters make the story lovable and one you can reread throughout the season. The app is $.99 (normally $1.99) and appropriate for children ages 3-6.
Kids Mag Halloween Special Edition
KidsMag takes the traditional children’s magazine and makes it come alive with thematic interactive games, teaching moments, art and music. For Halloween, KidsMag has a special holiday issue that has your child playing spot the difference, putting together puzzles, reading spooky stories and dressing up Teo and Bianca (the main characters) for Halloween. KidsMag integrates vocabulary lessons with meaningful Math, Science and Language activities, created in a learning environment where kids thrive. Fifteen pages of activities refresh with a new game or look at the shake of the iPad. Your child will be absorbed in KidsMag. This app provides an engaging learning environment for children. Kids Mag Halloween is $1.99 and appropriate for children ages 4-7.
Tags: art, blending, fall, halloween, interactive, magazine, music, reader, spelling, young
Creepy Crawly Apps
Kids are fascinated with bugs, some love them, some hate them, but all kids seem to be curious in some way about these little creatures. Check out the best creepy crawly apps.
The Little Bug
The Little Bug offers a pleasing story about a caterpillar who is fascinated with all of her bug friends. The story has calming background music and would be ideal before bedtime. The story offers many facts about bugs and has interactive pages to hold the youngest child’s interest. Children can make the grasshopper move, highlight the segments on a bug or make the bee buzz. The art on each page is well done and communicates the story in an effective way. In the story, key words are in bold that children can tap on a have repeated to them. KinderTown likes the parent section that includes questions to ask your child before, during and after reading the story. In addition, visit their website for printable activity sheets. The Little Bug is $3.99 and appropriate for children ages 3-6.
Meet the Insects Pack
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.
Bug Art provides an informal environment for children to learn and play with bugs. The free paint area allows children to paint and use stickers to depict a bug scene. The bug designer area allows children to choose a basic stencil and then design a unique bug around the stencil. Pictures can be saved in the app and shared with friends. The app also has free play areas where children can race bugs or use the iPad to make them fly through pathways. This app is a fun creative experience with bugs. Bug Art is $2.49 and appropriate for children ages 3-5.
ABC Bugs brings learning through research and discovery to the youngest learners. Traditional encyclopedia-style presentations combined with videos, interactive activities and quality images makes the ABC apps from Peapod Labs truly special. The pictures are extremely captivating and appropriate for young learners. The app is organized with pictures of bugs in ABC order. Your child will be learning letters and words along with interesting facts about bugs. ABC Bugs is appropriate for children ages 3-6 and is $2.99.
Bug Mazing – Adventures in Learning
Bug Mazing – Adventures in Learning covers four important preschool skills; Letter, Numbers, Colors and Tracing. All of the games are designed with bugs as the central characters in the game play. For the letters and numbers activities, children must guide the bug through mazes choosing the correct letter or number that comes next. For the color activity, children must guide the bugs through the maze while only using certain colors. The tracing activity allows the children to trace a path and the bug will follow the path. Children earn gems for completing activities correctly and can play with the bugs in the adventure section. The app is $1.99 and appropriate for children ages 3-5.
Tags: art, bugs, colors, interactive, language arts, letters, math, numbers, painting, preschool, tracing
KinderTown Flips Over Osmo!
My Osmo product arrived this week, and KinderTown was giddy with excitement! Osmo is a unique game system for iPad. Osmo comes with a stand and a mirror that attaches to the iPad and allows for the integration of real objects into the play associated with the iPad. There are 3 apps that can be used with the Osmo system. When you open your Osmo system, assemble the red mirror device onto the iPad, and the iPad on to the stand. Download the free apps and you are ready to begin.
The Osmo Tangram kit comes with tangram pieces that interact with the iPad. Download the free Osmo Tangram app to get started. Osmo offers a nice “getting started” section to familiarize your child with the use of the pieces and their interaction with the screen. The child must arrange the tangram pieces to match the on screen arrangement. While constructing the pictures, your child is developing important visual spatial skills. After your child completes the “getting started” section, the app offers different pictures for your child to choose from to construct with the tangram pieces. The app also indicates the level of the pictures from easiest to hardest by color coding them yellow, orange and red. The yellow puzzles offer color clues and the orange puzzles offer black and white shapes. The app does offer a hint button if needed to complete the puzzles. The hardest level offers just one solid black outside line. Arranging the tangram pieces was challenging, engaging and also fun to complete with a friend.
Osmo Words is played with the letter tiles. One set of letter tiles is blue and the other is red. To play, you can either play alone or with a friend. To compete with a friend was challenging and loads of fun! Osmo Words shows you a picture and the number of coordinating letter tiles. For example, a picture of a tree and 4 blank tiles. You must race your competitor to see who can throw the correct word tiles out first. The letters can be tossed into the playing space in any order. KinderTown really likes how more than one child can play with the tiles and the iPad to develop cooperative play skills. One suggestion KinderTown has is that the letter tiles are all in capital letters. Most words when written in text are lowercase. It would be great to see both upper and lowercase forms of a letter on a tile, maybe one on the front and one on the back. Children need exposure to both forms of the letters, especially when learning to read.
Osmo Newton uses the Osmo system to reflect the space, and the players choose which objects they use from around the house to affect the space. Osmo Newton drops balls from the top and supplies targeted areas that the balls should reach. KinderTown used blocks, paper clips, pencils and drawing lines on the paper in the space to change the movement of the balls to reach the targeted areas. Osmo Newton was challenging and does require persistence on the part of the player to solve the puzzles. As you continue to play, the number of targets increases and objects around the targets are added to increase the challenge. KinderTown recommends using 3D objects to affect the space. The drawing of lines was helpful but more difficult to change (erasing) when we wanted to change the direction of the moving balls. This app uses your child’s thinking and problem solving skills to interact with the screen in a challenging way!
Tags: games, interactive, ipad, language arts, letters, matching, osmo, problem-solving, Shapes, spelling, words