Literacy, Length and Letter Apps

Read KinderTown's reviews of these educational apps.

Curious Ruler

Read KinderTown's review of Curious Ruler

Curious Ruler is a uniquely designed app to encourage exploration with objects and measurement. This app would be best used with a child the first few times to aid in understanding how to use the app and how to understand the information the app is providing to your child. When you open the app, a menu of basic household objects is presented. Your child is to choose an appropriate reference object that will serve as the comparison object to whichever other items you would like to measure. For example, I chose a baseball. Next snap a picture of the baseball and whichever other object you would like to measure such as a cup. This works best if you line the reference object and the object to be measure up on a tabletop. Then, slide the rulers provided to align with the objects in the picture. Now, tap the “Compare” button. The app then tells me that the large cup was 3.5 times longer than the baseball and provides you with a visual of 3.5 baseballs. This app is a good aide in the exploration of measurement and would compliment a conversation or study on measurement. Curious Ruler is $.99 and is appropriate for children ages 4-8.

 

Lola’s ABC Party

Read KinderTown's review of Lola's ABC Party

Lola’s ABC Party is an app to practice letter sounds, letter formation, memory skills and beginning word recognition. The app starts with the short vowel sounds which are foundational to learning to read. Lola, a friendly panda, asks “Can you find all the letters that sound like “A?” Your child must select the letters from the screen that make that sound. This activity is developing phonemic awareness skills that are critical to the success of beginning readers. When your child answers the question correctly a paw is earned at the bottom of the screen. After ten paws are earned, your child can play with Lola and fill balloons, or decorate hats in order to prepare for a party. Parents can subscribe to receive a parent progress report to their email address.This app is well constructed for the child learning their letter sounds or reviewing them in order to prepare to learn to read. Lola’s ABC Party is appropriate for children ages 4-6 and is $4.99

 

Stories Alive

Read KinderTown's review of Stories Alive

Stories Alive is a digital library of children’s books contained in one app. Stories Alive provides well crafted digital books for enjoying with your child, on the go or at home. Each story has beautiful graphics and provides interactivity for your child to enjoy. There is a dictionary included in the app as well to reference as needed. In addition, your child can read and record their own voice as part of the story. The app is free to download and many story samples are available to preview. A subscription fee of .99 per week is available as an in-app purchase for access to the Stories Alive collection of books. Stories Alive is appropriate for children ages 3-8.

 

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FarFaria App Review

FarFaria is an app I can't stop thinking about, and one I downloaded instantly; this digital library is one of the best I have seen.

FarFaria

FarFaria is an app I can’t stop thinking about, and one I downloaded instantly. I have my master’s degree in reading, so I get excited about books for the iPad. This digital library is one of the best I have seen. It’s creatively crafted and offers something for every interest and age level. When the app launches an enchanting map of different islands appears which correlate with the different types of digital books offered in the app. For example: Adventure Island, Classics Grove, or Animal Kingdom. Choose a location and a selection of books appear.

 

Read KinderTown's review of FarFaria Stories To Read Along.

Here are some of FarFaria’s great features:

 

• It houses over 600 stories.
• 5 new stories are added each week.
• Offline access to your favorite books.
• Highlights the words read to your child.
• Has an option to read myself, autoplay or read to me.
• $3.99 a month or $39.99 a year.

 

I know I am keeping this handy for use with my kids this summer. It would be great for travel and could be used for your bedtime or nap time routine if you are away or on the go. I always lug a few favorite books when we go away, but I’d love to replace it with FarFaria. I especially love Sing Along City. These are books that correlate to your child’s favorite songs. My daughter loves The Wheels on the Bus, so that was her first choice. Explore all the different locations to find out which is your child’s favorite.

 

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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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The Essential Children’s Book about Technology

If you read one children’s book about technology, it should be Dot.

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If you read one children’s book about technology, it should be Dot. The message of Dot. is essential for our children. I saw this children’s book at a book stand a few weeks ago and instantly fell in love with it!

 

Dot is a young girl with curly-hair who wears a bow, a polka-dot pink dress and carries an iPad. Dot. is a book that is crucial for today’s modern technology-infused family. The message and language speak to the need for balance with technology and all the other key areas of childhood. The author Randi Zuckerberg, whose last name you may recognize from her famous brother, Mark Zuckerberg, talks about the need for childhood essential play such as running outside, building forts and painting pictures. The book begins by showing Dot engaging with technology, such as tablets, mobile phones, and T.V. The author uses relevant language like tweet, text, tap, swipe, and share. The artwork in the book is captivating and shows Dot using technology as kids would engage with it, on the go, on the floor or while lounging around. Once Dot is all worn out from the technology she runs outside to recharge and reboot. The author plays on words and Dot remembers while outside to play tag, tap nature, touch flowers, pretend to surf, and share food. The artwork captures her lively personality and excitement for the world. Dot. has the perfect message for our kids, and it is never too early to start talking about responsibility with technology. The message is accessible enough to read to a three-year-old and still relevant enough for a seven-year-old. Thank you, Randi Zuckerberg, for providing a meaningful, age-appropriate conversation-starter for our kids in the book Dot.

 

Randi Zuckerburg is the author of Dot., as well as Dot Complicated Untangling our Wired Lives, an adult book about her professional and personal story as well as a guide about how to understand technology and how it influences and informs our lives online and off. You can purchase Dot, the doll, who is the character in the story here. The book is available on Amazon here.

 

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Best Free Educational Apps from KinderTown

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

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

 

Phonics Tic-Tac-Toe Interactive Game

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

 

Rocket Speller

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

 

ABC ZooBorns

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

 

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3 Fantastic Language Arts Apps for 4 and 5 year-olds

Do you have a child who is 4 or 5 running around with an iPad or your iPhone? Try these language arts apps.

 

Do you have a child who is 4 or 5 running around with an iPad or your iPhone? Try these language arts apps.

Language Arts Apps

These apps would be a great way to support their learning at home, or provide additional activities if you are teaching or supporting a Kindergarten program at home. Children at this age are sponges for learning.

 

Their minds are rapidly developing understanding around letters and sounds, words, visual patterns, and language. Here are some great KinderTown selected apps for 4 or 5 year olds you can download from the KinderTown app to support their learning. Download the KinderTown app and explore these language arts apps, located in the Language category.

 

Reading Raven

Reading Raven is a self-paced, phonics-based reading app for emergent readers. “Emergent readers” is just teacher-speak for children who are starting down the path of learning to read. Young children need to spend time in front of letters and words. Repeated exposure to letters and words will help children when they start to blend the sounds together to read on their own. Reading Raven has done a wonderful job of creating a variety of phonics activities that support and motivate children in practicing skills that will help them be strong readers. The app will take your child from just discovering letters through when they are blending letters together to make words. The app also seamlessly connects writing each letter to the phonics activities which helps reinforces letter identification and formation in context. Parents and teachers are given in-app tools for customizing their children’s learning experience. Make sure to read the parent and teacher guide in the app and visit the Reading Raven website for videos and more information. Reading Raven is appropriate for children ages 4-6, and is $2.99 at time of publication.

 

iWriteWords Handwriting Game

iWriteWords makes writing numbers and letters engaging. Kindergarten is sure to be full of lots of letter and number writing practice, so provide your child with a different way to practice. This is a beautiful and entertaining app that children can use long before they can handle a pencil, which makes this a great purchase. It includes lots of settings, three levels that grow with your child and small fun activities to break up the tracing. Your child will enjoy the unique playback feature to watch how they formed their letters and numbers. Gdiplus, the developer, has done a nice job of updating the app over time. Try using a stylus with your child to develop fine motor skills. iWriteWords is available for $2.99 at time of publication as is appropriate for children ages 3-5. This is a must-have app for learning to write numbers and letters!

 

Puppet Pals HD

Four and Five year olds love to invent stories, and Puppet Pals HD is an app that will bring out the creative story-teller in your child. One set of characters comes free with the app and additional characters can be purchased through in-app purchases. Check out the in-app purchase, Director’s Pass, for the most beloved feature of adding your own characters. We love the open-ended feature of this app for crafting and sharing stories. While making these stories, your child is developing critical vocabulary and language skills. In addition, children can learn to create a story that has a beginning, middle and end. Use a background from the app or again, add your own. Record yourself retelling and acting out (as you move the puppets around) your favorite parts of your fishing trip, family vacation or just a silly moment that you have on your camera roll. Export or play your new video right from the app. Check out the the website for the Parent and Teacher Guide. Puppet Pals HD is available for free with in-app purchases and is appropriate for children ages 4-8. Happy storytelling!

 

Show What You Know:

 

Playdough Letters

Children love playdough and there’s sure to be some around your house. In addition, learning letters and their sounds is a big part of Kindergarten. Take some time to practice this multi-sensory letter experience.

 

Tools:

Playdough

Stick, rod, pencil or building block for poking

Playdough roller or Kitchen Roller

 

Roll the playdough in long snakes. You child is sure to love this part! Roll lots and lots of snakes. Then have your child form letters using the pre-made snakes. Recall which ones were difficult or tricky from the apps you have been using with your child. Now, for each letter have your child say the letter name while poking holes in the playdough letter using a stick, rod, or building block. Make the holes follow along the same direction as they would write the letter (typically top to bottom). Alternatively, your child could say the letter sound if they know most of their letter names. See how many letters you can create, poke, and say the sound!

 

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Celebrate Read Across America Day with Dr. Seuss E-Books

“Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.”-Dr. Seuss

 

Download the KinderTown app and check out Dr. Seuss’s books for the iPad.

Today, I am happy to be attending SXSWedu Conference to learn about the latest and greatest in educational technology.

 

But, my heart longs to be reading a Dr. Seuss book today to a child. My hope is that many of you will be doing this today or this week as the nation celebrates his birthday in schools and homes. The National Education Association sponsors Read Across America Day today in many schools to keep kids excited about reading.

 

Download the KinderTown app and check out Dr. Seuss’s books for the iPad. In the KinderTown app, select the Language category, then the Reading sub-category. We have included Dr. Seuss’s Book Collection #1 and #2. Dr. Seuss’s books are appropriate for children ages 3-8 and include interactive areas that your child will enjoy exploring. Each app includes five books for 14.99 (only $8.99 for Read Across America Day).

 

Download the KinderTown app and check out Dr. Seuss’s books for the iPadDownload the KinderTown app and check out Dr. Seuss’s books for the iPad

 

If you’d like an engaging activity to celebrate the day, try these Dr. Seuss hands-on math activities with your child with supplies you most likely have around the house, from the blog Coffee Cups and Crayons.  I agree with author, Megan Sheakoski, that practicing non-standard measurement is a great way to introduce concepts of length, width and height. In addition, she suggests going on a pattern hunt around your house. Grab your iPad or iPhone and take pictures along the way to facilitate a conversation about patterns when you are finished. Thank you Megan for the great hands-on activities!

 

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