3 Apps to Build Story-Writing Skills

Story-writing is a complex process that begins in early childhood as storytelling. Check out these apps that encourage storytelling and ultimately composition.

Story-writing is a complex process that begins in early childhood as storytelling. Check out these apps that encourage storytelling and ultimately composition.

 

Tell About This (iOS only)

tell about this

Prior to writing a great story, children must develop an idea, formulate multiple sentences, and have the ideas and sentences come together to make a story. This app, Tell About This, works with the very beginning stages of creating a story but limits the parameters to focusing on verbalizing the ideas. The app has created a bank of visual and auditory prompts for children to respond to. The pictures provide a prompt for children to generate ideas, think out loud or tell a complete story. All of the pictures in the app are real photographs and many include young children doing many of the things your children probably enjoy doing, such as jumping in a bounce house, playing in leaves, swinging on a swing, or playing an instrument. There is surely something that you child can connect with in the app. The app is $2.99 and appropriate for children 4-6.

 

Write About This (iOS only)

WriteAboutThis

Write About This is meant to be a next step for children after they’ve used the Tell About This app or are more adept in creating stories and are ready to write words to accompany their ideas. The app has a similar setup but includes an area for children to write directly in the app. The app allows the child to record their story as well. Sometimes children are able to verbalize a story more effectively than writing one, so parents could use the recording feature with their child first, and then the child could play it back to write their story. There is also a Quick Write section for children to take their own picture and create a recording and/or writing piece. The app costs $3.99 and is appropriate for children ages 5-8.

 

Story Dice – ideas for writers (iOS, Android, Kindle Fire)

Story Dice

Story Dice is an open-ended experience that sets the stage for storytelling and language to develop. The app is simple. Tap the screen, and a set of picture dice (choose from 1 to 10) appear on the screen. Use these pictures to create a unique collaborative story, play memory games, or inspire your child’s next composition. Check out the “More” section of the app for even more ideas. This is a great app to inspire children with creative ideas.

 

Related Blog Post: Storytelling Apps

 

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Quality Educational Apps with a Nature Theme

Summer is a great time to get outside and enjoy nature. Enjoy these Nature Themed Apps.

 

Summer is a great time to get outside and enjoy nature. Enjoy these Nature Themed Apps.

Educational Apps with a Nature Theme

Domi Domi Nature Shapes (iOS, Google Play)

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Domi Domi Nature Shapes – Matching and Sorting for Toddlers works to develop early childhood skills in a calming nature environment. Children must match the outlines of the creatures to the fully colored animals including crabs, owls, sea turtles, and sea horses. As your child progresses throughout the five different areas, the difficulty level increases from marching shapes to sorting the objects by color, type, and size. Sorting objects is a key skill for early childhood development. The app only has five games areas, and children may progress through them quickly. Many children would enjoy repeating the games again and again. The app has wonderful graphics and a soothing quality to the music and nature scenes. The app costs $2.99 and is appropriate for children ages 2-4.

 

Grandma Loves Bugs (iOS only)

Grandma Loves Bugs

Grandma Loves Bugs is an app that practices different types of skills that are appropriate for children ages 3-5. The app includes 10 mini-games and 8 educational videos for children to enjoy. The app works on skills such as matching letters, memory skills, identifying groups, and looking for differences. Grandma is charming as always and needs help finding the bugs in her hair. This app offers great basic skills practice for the summer. Children can also catch fireflies, draw a spider web, and eat caterpillar leaves with Grandma. The app costs $1.99.

 

WWF Together (iOS only)

wwf

WWF Together is beautifully created with stunning pictures of endangered animals. It would be valuable to sit with your child and discuss “endangered species” while looking at the pictures on the app. Each endangered animal is displayed through origami and includes information on creating your own origami creatures. You can even pose with the origami creature for a unique selfie!  The app also provides a few interactive activities that coordinate with some of the animals featured in the app, including racing a jaguar and outjumping a snow leopard. 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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Top Science Apps for Young Children

Check out these great apps for young children interested in science.

Young children are keenly aware of their surroundings, which inevitably relates to science. Check out these great apps for young children interested in science.

 

Top Science Apps

 

Grandpa in Space (iOS only)

Grandpa in Space

Grandpa in Space provides children with an engaging science experience where they can learn science facts.  The app does a nice job of integrating other content areas while learning about science. Other skills presented in the app include: identifying shapes and opposites, memory skills, and rhyming. The app presents the skills in an outer space-themed environment where children can design their own space ship, ride in it with grandpa, and watch short interesting movies about each planet in between practicing skills. We love grandpa’s guidance in learning and his high fives!

 

Weird But True by National Geographic (iOS only)

weird but true

Weird But True is a fantastic free app for children who love to read books with fun science facts or impress their friends and family with interesting tidbits of information. The facts are presented to children in a colorful way, and they can rate the “weirdness” of the app and collect their favorites by pressing the heart. The Weird But True app is free and contains a “pack” of free facts. Additional packs require an in-app purchase that is gated with a math fact (that children may be able to solve). We suggest that you monitor your child’s use of the app so he or she does not mistakenly make in-app purchases.  A fascinating app for the fact-lover in your house!
 

GazziliScience

Gazzili Science (iOS only)
Play with items in a water tank, plant a seed and watch it grow, or taste an apple pie! Gazzili Science introduces young learners to science topics in a kid-friendly environment. In the app, kids progress through six science learning areas that teach through discovery and narration. After completing each area your child can go to the Gazzili fun page where prizes earned throughout the game are used to build a unique contraption. The app also includes an option to turn on the printed narration of the app for hearing impaired students, and that’s pretty cool!

 

Related Blog Post:
4 Superb Science Apps for Kids

 

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Just Plain Fun! Educational Apps for the Summer

Read KinderTown's reviews of these fun summer apps.

Busy Shapes

Busy Shapes

Busy Shapes encourages children to use their logic and problem solving skills to maneuver shapes and objects into the correct holes in order to advance to the next screen. Busy Shapes is an app inspired by the work of Jean Piaget who proposed that children construct their own knowledge through play, in this case digital play. Busy shapes has 38 levels of play and continues to advance and challenge children as it adapts to their level of learning. It includes an area to set up multiple logins per household. The app does not teach the names of the shapes but encourages free play and cognitive development through experimenting with the shapes. Busy Shapes is $1.99 and is appropriate for children ages 2-6. The app is colorfully made and includes basic tools along the way to help  children explore the effects of the tools on the shapes.  As the levels become more difficult, multiple tools are presented.  The app is very intuitive for children who are familiar with the iPad. They start dragging the shapes and they are off to solve the problems presented. Parents, you may need to assist when your child reaches a challenging area they can not solve on their own, but generally this app is one your child will be able to navigate independently.

 

Care Bears Love to Learn

Care Bears Love to Learn

Care Bears Love to Learn grabbed my attention, because I can distinctively remember my purple Care Bear that I loved!  The Care Bears are back because, we grew up with them and they remind of us of our own childhood.  I like this app a lot because it is simple, yet presents easy to understand questions in a randomized fashion which kept the attention of our youngest child testers. The app works on a mix of basic Preschool skills such as colors, shapes, letters, memory skills and counting.  The app also rewards children with digital stickers when they answer the questions correctly. The app is free and appropriate for children ages 2-4.

 

Grandma Loves Bugs

Grandma Loves Bugs

Grandma Loves Bugs is an app that practices different types of skills that are appropriate for children ages 3-5.  The app includes 10 mini-games and 8 educational videos for children to enjoy.  The app works on skills such as matching letters, memory skills, identifying groups and looking for differences. Grandma is charming as always and dances, and needs help finding the bugs in her hair.  This app offers great basic skills practice for the summer. Children can also catch fireflies, draw a spider web and eat caterpillar leaves with Grandma. The app is $1.99.

 

How I Became a Pirate!

How I Became a Pirate!

This app by OceanHouse Media is a digital book sure to be loved by your kids.  I know many boys who love to pretend to be pirates, and I often observe large playground toys, or backyard tree-houses imagined into pirate ships. The How I became a Pirate book was a New York Times bestseller and is sure to be a favorite digital book as well. It has two options for reading: Read to Me, and Read by Myself.  The book has several different interactive options. When reading, your child can have the words read again by tapping them or tap the wrapping on one of the pirates heads and hear the word bandanna. This story is perfect for summer because the story begins with a boy using his imagination at the beach spying a pirate ship in the ocean. The pirates come upon the shore and interact with the boy. The boy in the story board the pirate ship and has an adventure. I really like the recording feature on each page.  Beginning readers can read and record their voice. Save the recording and your child can listen to themselves read the story.  This is a great learning activity for children ages 6-8.  It develops fluency and expression while reading and will become a parent favorite as well. The app is $3.99 and appropriate to read with children ages 3-8.

 

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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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