New Year, New Apps
Whether you have had an iPad for a while or you are just starting out with a brand new iPad, check out these apps for some educational enjoyment!
Sago Mini Puppy Preschool is an engaging app that balances play and educational value for the youngest learners. The app is very easy to use and is appropriate for children ages 2-3. The app has friendly, happy characters who appeal to boys and girls alike. The characters invite your child to learn about numbers one through 10, matching, shape recognition, and musical play. Pile all the different types of dogs into the bathtub as the app counts up to 10, or take them out of the bathtub and see and hear the number decrease. Match shapes and colors to make the animals happy with their toys and food. Sago Mini Puppy Preschool costs $2.99.
Easy Music is an easy introduction to the theory of music that is educational while still being playful. I appreciate that the app gives children direction in learning the concepts of rhythm and beat while still providing opportunities for open-ended creation of musical sounds. Other musical concepts that are covered through playful interaction are recognizing notes, pitch, and melody. This app does rely on the sound of the iPad, so you may want to have your child enjoy it with headphones or be prepared to enjoy the added noise. Easy Music provides a unique approach to music development that I haven’t seen in other apps– a delightful experience! The app costs $3.99 and appropriate for children ages 4-6.
If your child has ever spent time with a grandfather in a garage or working with tools, they are sure to love Grandpa’s Workshop. The characters developed in the Fairlady Media apps are welcoming and certainly do feel like you are interacting with your own grandparents. In this app, the focus is on working with tools, but the app creatively weaves in educational elements such as cutting a board into quarters, putting puzzle pieces back together, and watching educational videos about a specific tool (such as a chisel) and how it is used in woodworking. The app costs $2.99 and appropriate for children ages 3-5.
Tags: matching, music, numbers, preschool, puzzle, rhythm, shape recognition, tools
Dr. Seuss E-books
Read Across America Day is this week, and libraries and schools across the country will celebrate by reading Dr. Seuss books to children. Try some of these apps together with your child that celebrate reading! For more fun with words and sounds, check out our Power Pack Sound Play for children ages 3-4.
Dr. Seuss E-book Apps
Dr. Seuss ABC (iOS only)
This e-book reinforces your child’s growing knowledge of letters, sounds, words, and vocabulary. Your child will enjoy tapping the pages of this delightful ABC book in order to find hidden surprises. The e-book reads aloud to your child and highlights the words as they are read. You can also change the settings to allow the app to “Read to me” or “Auto Play.” The “Auto Play” feature reads the pages and turns the pages to allow the book to play like a movie continuously. In each story, letters are referred to by their size such as “Big A” and “Little a.” Be sure your child knows that this means uppercase and lowercase. The book engages your child by repeatedly asking questions such as, “What begins with C? or D? E?” etc. Try asking your child this type of question as you enjoy the story together.
Dr. Seuss Treasury (iOS only)
Oceanhouse Media has created a Treasury of Dr. Seuss books. Here you will find the e-book versions of many of the classic Dr. Seuss books your child may already know and love. For example, Hop on Pop, Horton Hears a Who!, Green Eggs and Ham, and Cat in the Hat. Check out the rest of the books and read a new title with your child. The e-books include interactive and engaging features such as reading aloud to your child, highlighting the words, and looking for fun hidden treasures by tapping the scenes. The app is subscription based which gives your family access to 55 digital Dr. Seuss books.
Related Blog Post:
Celebrate Read Across America Day with Dr. Seuss E-Books (2014)
Tags: books, ebook, preschool, Reading
Pre-Reading Skills: Beyond Letters and Sounds
Preschool and Kindergarten students (ages 4 to 6) learn to identify letters when learning how to read. It is also valuable for children at this age to practice rhyming, identifying letter sounds, segmenting words into individual sounds, and identifying syllables in words to support and strengthen their beginning reading skills.
Read with Doc McStuffins: Letters and Sounds
This app offers five pre-reading activities for preschoolers. It’s much more than an app to practice letters. The app focuses on the following skills: tracing and matching lower and upper case letters, recognizing letters and letter sounds, listening and matching rhymes, determining syllables, and hearing beginning, middle and ending sounds in words. The activities are expertly created and simulate lessons in preschool and kindergarten classrooms. The app will grow with your child as he learns the letters and gains reading skills. The animation and characters in this app come to life (no surprise from Disney) to motivate your child and help him focus on learning the skills. KinderTown is impressed with the quality of the content provided by the app. Our child testers enjoyed the balance of rewarding activities with the learning games. This app ranks at the top as one of the best we’ve seen for preschoolers.
Parents, watch your preschooler interact with the app and then simulate the activities in the real world with your child for extra practice. For example, the app uses common words to determine the number of syllables in a word. Ask your child questions like, “How many syllables do you hear in the word macaroni?” “How many syllables are in the word banana?” To imitate the rhyming games, ask your child, “Which word rhymes with cat, bat, or wagon?”
Check out the Power Pack: Letters and Sounds: Ages 5-6 for more tips about how to effectively use apps to help your child learn pre-reading skills, as well as hands-on activities you can do with your child.
Tags: Kindergarten, letter sounds, letters, preschool, Reading, rhyming, skills, syllables
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
Top 4 Childhood Adventure Apps
Does your child like adventures? All children seem to have a natural sense of curiosity instilled in them. These apps provide a sense of adventure through your iPad without leaving home. Enjoy an adventure with your child by downloading one of our favorite adventure apps.
One Globe Kids
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 speaking 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 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. The rest of the content can be purchased as in-app purchases. One Globe Kids has an education version available as well called Globe Smart Education which provides all of the content for one purchase price.
Monkey Preschool Explorers
The Monkeys provide an all new entertaining app with exploration as the center theme. The Monkey PreSchool Explorers app provides a mixed review of early childhood concepts such as colors, numbers, shapes, letters and association skills. One game includes Milo the Monkey driving a jeep through the jungle and children have to tap on the lower case and upper case letter indicated. At the end, there is a fun race game for children to complete and they are rewarded with a choice of a hat for Milo the Monkey. The developers of Monkey PreSchool have a “Thups Knack” system which changes the difficulty of the game as your child plays. This app is a simple one for children to navigate and includes interesting graphics. The app is 2.99 and appropriate for children ages 3-5.
Come have an adventure with all the circus entertainers! Shiny Circus teaches young children beginning concepts about measurement and relationships between objects. Shiny Circus has two different options for engaging with the app; Story Mode and Game Mode. In Story Mode, the children read a story and interact with the characters along the way and participate in learning games. In game mode, children choose which game they would like to play. The app features 4 games that work on early childhood math concepts such as biggest and smallest, near and far, shortest and tallest, and balancing objects. After answering questions correctly children can collect stickers of the characters for their sticker book. Shiny Circus is appropriate for children ages 3-5 and is $2.99.
NASA Earth as Art
KinderTown loves this unique app as your children can explore pictures of the world as seen from space for free! Made by NASA, the app encourages children to see the art in the images. The app does not read aloud to children, so parents you may want to read aloud some of the captions. This app would be an excellent addition to a study on geography or inspiration for art. NASA Earth as Art also includes technical information that can grow with your child as they get older and learn about different parts of the world. The app also includes time lapse pictures that show how different parts of the earth have changed over time. Thank you NASA for sharing your work and allowing children to explore the earth from a unique perspective.
Tags: adventure, association, colors, culture, curiosity, geography, language arts, letters, math, numbers, preschool, science, Shapes, space
Just Plain Fun! Educational Apps for the Summer
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 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 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!
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.
Tags: bugs, colors, counting, ebook, interactive, logic, matching, memory, preschool, problem-solving, Shapes, summer