3 Apps That Help Your Child Practice Sight Words

As children begin to learn to read, they come to recognize many common words in our language known as sight words.

As children begin to learn to read, they come to recognize many common words in our language known as sight words. Some examples of sight words are they, were, was, and here. Often these words cannot be “sounded out” and help improve reading fluency if memorized. Check out these apps to help build your child’s bank of sight words.

 

Sight Words Ninja – The Endless Slicing Game to Learn to Read (iOS only)

sight word ninja

Designed after the famous app, Fruit Ninja, this app presents sight words to children to slice and chop. The app begins by tossing 1 word into the air for children to slice. The word is said aloud, and children must slice the correct word. There is not a lot of feedback given for words sliced incorrectly, other than the word being grayed out. Parents, keep watch to be sure your child is discerning the correct word and not slicing all the words presented. As well as watching your child play, be sure to set up the game in the Settings area at a level where your child is challenged and the words are appropriate. There are five different sets of words, three levels of difficulty, and options for the length of the game. The app costs $1.99 and is appropriate for children ages 4-8.

 

Word BINGO (iOS, Android)

word bingo

Word BINGO provides a fun way to practice recognizing and spelling over 300 words from the Dolch sight words list. Three activities engage children to identify spoken Dolch words, and one activity has children unscrambling letters to practice spelling them. Every time you make bingo or spell ten words, two of the other activities become available. These activities are game-like, entertaining, and motivating but still have users practicing from the word lists. Children earn bingo bugs that they can play with after successfully completing activities. Some key features in Word BINGO are the multi-player format, a user report card, levels for word lists and games, and thorough instruction and options pages. Parents, be aware that the music is upbeat and could be viewed as distracting to other children working nearby or to yourself. There is an option to mute the sound. The app costs $2.99 and is appropriate for children ages 4-8.

 

Sight Words Games & Flash Cards for Reading and Spelling Success at School (Learn to Read Preschool, Kindergarten and Grade 1 Kids) (iOS, Android, Kindle)

sight words

This app provides a variety of games for reinforcing identification of sight words. In each game, words are paired with speech so even very young children can experience over 200 sight words. The games are engaging and fun for young learners. Children will enjoy the word machine, which pops out 3 options for a sight word from which the child must pick the correct one. Another unique game is the gears game in which children must listen to the center gear say the word and match the brightly colored gear with the sight word. At the end, the gears make a puzzle in which all the gears turn and move together. The app costs $2.99 and is appropriate for children ages 4-8.

 

Related Blog Post: Pre-Reading Skills: Beyond Letters and Sounds

 

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Back to School: Spelling Apps

Now that school is back in full swing, you may find yourself practicing spelling words at home as part of your child’s weekly homework. Check out these spelling apps to spice up that time.

 

These spelling apps can help your child practice spelling at home.

If you are looking for a spelling curriculum to use in your home school environment, or supplement another educational experience, check out our Spelling You See

Spelling Apps

Mystery Word Town

mystery word town

Enter a real cowboy town set up with a sheriff, school, general store, post office, and bank. Each area of the app, has letters hidden like gold around the scene. Children tap the letters to add letters to their bank. Then to progress through the scene children are prompted to practice a spelling word, and when completed correctly, they advance to the next part of the scene. The app has very interesting graphics and makes practicing the spelling words feel like a game. Children will forget they are practicing spelling. Download KinderTown to read the full review.

 

Word Wizard

Word Wizard

Word Wizard – Talking Movable Alphabet, uses app technology to enhance traditional writing and spelling activities. Children write sentences and spelling words while Word Wizard helps by saying the sounds of each letter as they are dragged onto the page. After each word is built, Word Wizard speaks the word as it is spelled and highlights it in red if it is spelled in a non-traditional way, or in white if it has the correct spelling. Download KinderTown to read the full review.

 

Spelling City

SpellingCity

SpellingCity has created one app for parents and teachers to access spelling practice activities for multiple kids in kindergarten through grade 12. Seven spelling activities support kids learning new words, in playfully practicing spelling lists and working through spelling tests all right in the app. Download KinderTown to read the full review.

 

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Freefall Apps are Swimming with Learning

Read KinderTown's reviews of Freefall's educational apps.

Freefall learning apps take skills that can sometimes be less exciting to learn and often require a lot of repetition, and swirled them into engaging, motivating practice apps for kids. The graphics have a unique, simple, kid-friendly look, and children are motivated by earning prizes to keep their pet fish alive and well in their own personal aquarium.

 

Freefall Spelling

Splish! Splash! Play with a fish tank and practice spelling words along the way. Read KinderTown's review.

Splish! Splash! Play with a fish tank and practice spelling words along the way. Freefall Spelling is an app for practicing your own spelling lists, or pre-made lists that exist within the app. Freefall Spelling has three unique modes in which the user can practice spelling words: Type Mode, Freefall Mode, and Scramble Mode. In Type Mode, children type the words using a child-friendly keyboard that automatically appears on the bottom of the screen. In Scramble Mode, the words are scattered and the child must recreate the word, and Freefall mode, the child must recreate the word with the letters before they fall to the bottom of the screen. Freefall Spelling’s default setting uses all capital letters. KinderTown recommends that parents change the type to lowercase, because that is how words appear most often in print. As the students practice the words, the words are said aloud, and hints can be displayed to help children. For more advanced learners, turn the hints off so children must recall how to spell the word entirely. The most loved part about Freefall Spelling is the fish tank play area. Children earn the ability to buy animals and other trinkets for their fish tank as they correctly complete the spelling activities. They can also feed the fish, play with the fish and clean the fish tank, a great motivating hook for children ages 5-8. Freefall Spelling is $2.99 and available for iPhone and iPad.

 

Freefall Money

Freefall Money follows the same idea as Freefall Spelling but tackles the difficult concept of counting money. Read KinderTown's review.

Freefall Money follows the same idea as Freefall Spelling, but tackles the difficult concept of counting money. Sometimes learning to count money can be difficult and often requires repetition in order to be successful in mastering the skill. Freefall Money has three distinct modes as well: Cluster Mode, Scatter Mode, and Type Mode. In addition, parents can set the number of coins that are presented in each activity, from 3 coins to 10 coins. The app does not include any instruction on how to count coins, so your child should have a basic understanding of this concept before they start. Cluster Mode shows different groups of coins and different total amounts. The child must match the coin groups to the coin total amounts. As with any matching, it’s possible to make guesses, so it is helpful to watch them do this activity. In Type Mode, the coins are scattered and children must type the total amount using the number keys that automatically appear at the bottom. KinderTown likes how the coins can be moved around in order to assist children in counting the total value of the coins. For example, children could arrange the coins from largest to smallest in order to count the total value of a group of coins. There is also a movable pencil in the game if children need to tap or point, but the pencil doesn’t actually write on the screen. This would be a helpful improvement. Lastly, in Scatter Mode the coins are scattered and the child must add the correct amount of coins to the piggy bank to equal the value shown at the top of the screen. Again, watching your child complete this activity will ensure they are not just guessing which coins to add to the piggy bank. FreeFall Money is $1.99 and is made for iPhone and iPad and appropriate for children ages 5-8.

 

Freefall Time

Freefall Time practices telling time up to the minute. Read KinderTown's review.

Freefall Time practices telling time up to the minute. Parents can use the Settings menu to set the practice clocks to show 1-minute, 5-, 10-, 15-, or 30- minute intervals. There is only one mode of play in Freefall Time. Clocks fall from the top of the screen and children must match the clock to the options at the bottom of the screen. Freefall Time includes a practice area where you can move the hands of the clock to practice creating different times. This would be a great parent-child practice tool. The clock works well for telling time to the minute, but the hour times were not correct when displaying times to the hour. Children earn rewards for their own personal fish tank to customize the fish, food, and cleaning tools. Freefall Time is $1.99 and available for iPhone and iPad and appropriate for children ages 5-8.

 

Freefall Math

Freefall Math offers practice for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division which means that the app can serve multiple children in one household or grown with your child. Read KinderTown's review.

Freefall Math offers practice for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, which means that the app can serve multiple children in one household, or grow with your child. Freefall Math includes a Fall Mode and Type Mode. In Type Mode, children type the answer, and in Fall Mode the facts fall and must be matched to the correct answer. The customization of which fact tables you would like your child to practice is a nice option for parents. This app includes an interactive piece of chalk and an eraser but they only serve as pointers in the app. A nice addition would be the ability to write the answer with the piece of chalk. Freefall Math is $1.99 and available for iPad and iPhone and is appropriate for children ages 5-8. As in the other Freefall apps, your child earns rewards for their own personal aquarium.

 

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5 Must-Have Apps for 6- and 7-year-olds

Six- and seven-year-old children are a sponge for learning. Their academic growth is exciting to watch. Use these apps to encourage and challenge them!

Six- and seven-year-old children are a sponge for learning. Their academic growth is exciting to watch. Use these apps to encourage and challenge them!

 

Rocket Speller

Rocket Speller offers children an engaging space scene in which to practice spelling. Read Kindertown's review.

Spelling skills are emerging as children are learning to read and write more complex words and sentences at this age. Rocket Speller offers children an engaging space scene in which 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 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. From an educational perspective, Rocket Speller combines naturally occurring letter sounds together such as ck, ee, ea, and or. Rocket Speller offers some nice options for parents. There are several different categories of words to choose from, or you can mix them all together. Parents can choose to have the narrator say the letter name or sound. KinderTown recommends choosing the “sound” option when working on spelling words. 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 provide options for visual and audible hints, and smart technology that can determine when a child is having difficulty and provide assistance called Adaptive Assistance. Rocket Speller is $2.99 and available for iPhone and iPad.

 

Todo Math

Todo in Spanish means “all” and is designed to inspire play with all the early childhood math concepts. Read the KinderTown review.

Todo Math is a free app designed to practice early childhood math skills. Todo in Spanish means “all” and is designed to inspire play with all the early childhood math concepts. It includes 20+ multi-level games. It has two different types of play, free choice and mission. In mission mode, the app gives a brief overview of each game and guides your child through each game one at a time. In free choice mode, all games are presented and your child chooses which one they would like to play. It includes multiple levels of math games and adaptive play, where the games automatically adapt to your child’s skill level. Other options for children are the Mathematical Missions, designed to motivate children to engage longer with the mathematical concepts. Parents, you can sign up for a parent account which will provide you with a more detailed look at how your child is progressing through the app. Compared to most apps, Todo Math does contain a worthwhile amount of free content practicing many different areas of math for children ages 3-6. There are additional in-app purchases to access more content.

 

Endless Wordplay

As children begin to learn to read they begin to notice patterns in words and how words relate to one another. Read the KinderTown review!

As children learn to read, they begin to notice patterns in words and how words relate to one another. Endless Wordplay practices this skill in a fun way! The lovable monsters are back! This time, with a focus on reading rhyming words. The monsters travel around a map with stops along the way. Once the monster stops, his mouth opens with a rhyming word. The word is sneezed out and the letters are scattered. Your child must reconstruct the word. The letter sounds are made when the letters are touched, and the word is read when the word is reconstructed. The app does require the child to reconstruct the word in letter order. The words continue to be presented and all relate to a rhyming family: ran, can, pan, tan. Once a series is complete, a sentence is presented with the rhyming words in context and the monsters act it out. The app is free and does have in-app purchases ($4.99) to buy more rhyming families once you complete the 3 free rhyme families. A great app for the beginning reader in your family.

 

Scribble Press

Scribble Press is a must-have app for the family who loves to read, story-tell and create books together. Read the KinderTown review!

Scribble Press is a must-have app for the family who loves to read, story-tell, and create books together. Like other book creation apps, you can easily add your own photos, your child’s picture, a title and text to create a book. Scribble Press walks you through creating a story by providing lots of ideas from the start, and supports your child until you are ready to add your finished book to an eBook reader, or my favorite–printing your very own book! Choose from book templates, or create your own book from scratch. Your child is sure to love the rainbow pen, stamps and stickers included in Scribble Press. If your child needs inspiration, there are over 50 story templates. The app encourages younger learners by providing complete stories where they only need to fill in the important details. Endless possibilities – endless fun! For the parents of young children, you will need to work with your child while using this app, since reading and typing skills are needed. Scribble Press is $3.99, and if you would like to have your child’s book published and mailed to you, there is a fee for that service. Scribble Press is appropriate for children ages 4-8.

 

 

Thinkrolls

In Thinkrolls, rolling character balls take the stage as your child solves increasingly complex problems to allow their character to progress through the maze. Read the KinderTown review!

In Thinkrolls, rolling character balls take the stage as your child solves increasingly complex problems to allow their character to progress through the maze. There are two levels of game play, easy and hard. Easy is recommended for children 3-5, and hard for children ages 5-8. KinderTown recommends that all children begin at the easy level to understand the goals of the puzzles. Your child does not have to spend a long time at this level to be ready to move to the harder levels, but this will set them up for success. A blinking “redo” symbol flashes in the corner to assist your child when they are stuck and unable to complete the challenge. The challenge is then reset with the maze. The challenges in the mazes come in the form of obstacles. Some unique obstacles include fire blocks, ice blocks, balloons, and KinderTown’s favorite, the jelly block. The jelly block allows your character to jump up from one area to another. Another child tester favorite was the fire block. Watch out! If your character rolls into the fire block, it will turn black and burnt, which our child testers loved! However, the goal is to not become burnt. Children eventually solved the puzzles after experiencing the burnt characters. As the levels progress, children have to use visualization skills to predict the cause and effect of several “moves” in the puzzle. Concepts about physics and chemistry are sprinkled along the way when children must make decisions about the moving gear box, figure out how to make the balloon pop and move the ice to squelch the fire. The app offers an amazing amount of content in the 90 levels of easy game play and 90 levels of hard game play. Be sure to read the Chapter descriptions in the settings section for parents in order to have a complete understanding of all the challenges presented in each level or chapter. There are nine levels of game play included. Thinkrolls is a truly unique app priced at $2.99, available for iPhone and iPad, and is recommended for children ages 3-7.

 

 

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KinderTown’s Top 14 of 2014

KinderTown transforms mobile devices into powerful teaching tools by finding and organizing the best educational apps for kids ages 3-8 years old.

 

Read KinderTown's reviews of their favorite educational apps from 2014.

Our mission is to improve early childhood education by empowering parents with the tools to be better teachers. We work hard to find the best educational apps for children. Each app we select for KinderTown has been tested and reviewed by educators, parents, and most importantly, children. Not all (or even most) of the apps meet our high standards. We take many factors into account including educational value, ease of use, engagement value, design features, artwork, cost, and shelf life. It’s through this process that we believe we can help parents use their iPhones, iPads, and iPod Touches to teach their children anything.

Read KinderTown's reviews of their favorite educational apps from 2014.

1. Reading – Learn with Homer

Learn with Homer is a full “Learn to Read” series of lessons for kids. The app features letter sound instruction, sight word introduction, read aloud stories, and a mixed review of concepts presented. The app does a nice job of mixing reading instruction, a review of previously-taught concepts and the reading aloud of real books, which are all key components to learning to read. The developers of Learn with Homer conducted research using their app on children who were beginning to read, and showed that the use of the app 15 minutes a day led to an increase in their beginning reading skills. Learn with Homer is free to download but does include in-app purchases to buy additional lesson content.

2. Math – Marble Math Jr.

Marble Math Junior is an excellent example of how to merge quality game design with significant educational value. This app moves kids through the sequence of understanding the question, tapping into knowledge to form an answer, and creating a strategy for navigating the gameplay maze. Getting answers wrong is not an issue here, where it’s highly motivating to learn through trial and error, too. Take time to read the information pages to learn about all the features and customize the problems and levels. One of the most engaging, educational math apps we have played to date.

3. Spelling – Rocket Speller Plus

Rocket Speller offers children an engaging space scene in which to practice spelling. The app presents words to students and they must reconstruct the word. To reinforce vocabulary development, each word is presented with a picture. Rocket Speller has the option to have the word displayed (visual hints) so students are reconstructing the word in order to continually practice spelling it, building 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. Rocket Speller has five different levels that provide options for visual hints and audible hints, as well as smart technology that can determine when a child is having difficulty in order to provide what is called Adaptive Assistance.

4. Social Studies – Barefoot World Atlas

Barefoot World Atlas will completely mesmerize all members of your family. Open 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. This app is completely worth the price of $4.99 and will be appreciated by both the adults and children ages 4-8. Find a time to sit with your child and enjoy Barefoot World Atlas together.

5. Science – Human Body

The Human Body is an app made for exploring and asking questions. There is animation to accompany the six different body systems. Encourage and answer your child’s questions while exploring, and they will direct their own learning. Tap different parts of the brain, and an animation pops up depicting what that area of the brain controls. The app is not narrated, so parents need to provide the support for learning. In addition, the app offers a parent section and an option to set up multiple profiles for different children. Children can record questions while using the app, and parents can respond to them. Tinybop has even made a helpful parent guide to accompany the app. We highly recommend downloading it and using it with your child. It’s perfect for answering the tough questions your child may ask about their body. This app is brilliantly designed for scientific discovery.

6. Logic – ThinkRolls

In Thinkrolls, rolling character balls take the stage as your child solves increasingly complex problems to allow their character to progress through the maze. There are two levels of game play, easy and hard. Easy is recommended for children 3-5, and hard for children ages 5-8. KinderTown recommends that all children begin at the easy level to understand the goals of the puzzles. Your child does not have to spend a long time at this level to be ready to move to the harder levels, but this will set them up for success. A blinking “redo” symbol flashes in the corner to assist your child when they are stuck and unable to complete the challenge. The challenge is then reset with the maze. The challenges in the mazes come in the form of obstacles. Some unique obstacles include fire blocks, ice blocks, balloons, and KinderTown’s favorite, the jelly block. The jelly block allows your character to jump up from one area to another. Another child tester favorite was the fire block. Watch out! If your character rolls into the fire block, it will turn black and burnt, which our child testers loved! However, the goal is to not become burnt. Children eventually solved the puzzles after experiencing the burnt characters. As the levels progress, children have to use visualization skills to predict the cause and effect of several “moves” in the puzzle. Concepts about physics and chemistry are sprinkled along the way when children must make decisions about the moving gear box, figure out how to make the balloon pop and move the ice to quench the fire. The app offers an amazing amount of content in the 90 levels of easy game play and 90 levels of hard game play. Be sure to read the Chapter descriptions in the settings section for parents in order to have a complete understanding of all the challenges presented in each level or chapter. Thinkrolls is a truly unique app priced at $2.99, available for iPhone and iPad, and is recommended for children ages 3-7

7. Story Creation – Draw and Tell

Draw and Tell brings the best features of drawing apps into one fabulous art experience. Choose from a blank page, your photos, or one of the app’s backgrounds, and start creating. Tools like crayons, stickers, paint and erasers are used while this app records your child singing, talking, and moving stickers all over the screen. Not feeling up to creating your own picture? Try out the variety of coloring pages where you get to drop paint into the lines to create a vibrant scene. The real gem is the final product where your child’s voice and artistic creation are made into a personal movie.

8. Coding – Kodable

Kodable is an introduction to coding for young children. When children use the app, they are coding fuzz balls to move around the screen. The app starts off with very simple mazes for the fuzz balls to complete, and progress as your child completes the puzzles. The children we tested this app on loved to earn color changes for the puff ball by successfully completing puzzles. Kodable is for kids ages 5-8 and is free, but does include in-app purchases to unlock additional levels. With the free version there are 45 levels with interactive tutorials. Kodable Pro offers all of the in-app purchases in one app for 6.99 and includes interactive tutorials and learning guides. Check out their website for more information on their line of apps. Kodable also offers another feature called Kodable Sync, which is designed for classrooms in order to accommodate multiple students.

9. Visual Memory – Dexteria Dots 2

KinderTown loves the creative approach to numbers that Dexteria Dots provides. Dexteria Dots designed a game in which players are developing visual tracking, visual memory and visual motor planning skills through manipulating different sized dots within the app. While playing with the dots, children are learning math concepts such as comparing numbers, counting, adding and subtracting. In addition, fine motor skills are used to slice and connect the dots on the screen. The unique design relates the size of the dots to the numeric value. For example, a 4-dot has twice the diameter of a 2-dot. There are two different games inside Dexteria Dots 2, Make Equal Dots and Compare Dots. In the Make Equal Dots Game, children are challenged to use all the dots to make two equal dots. In the Compare Dots game children combine dots to see which side of the screen is larger. As the games advance, the numeric representation on the dots disappears, developing visual memory and discrepancy. The app is $1.99 and appropriate for children learning addition and subtraction concepts who are approximately 4-8.

10. Social Emotional – Daniel Tiger Grr-ific Feelings

Daniel Tiger’s Grr-ific Feelings provides an app in which kids can learn about different types of feelings while playing and singing with Daniel Tiger. Our kid testers loved the trolley game in which children navigate the trolley to 12 different games. Each game has a specific feeling to complete an activity, such as feeling frustrated and having to find a lost toy, or feeling happy and making Daniel Tiger dance. There is also a sing-along section where kids can sing about feelings with Daniel Tiger, as well as a drawing area that includes paint, crayons and stickers. This app provides an age-appropriate way to explore different types of feelings with children ages 3-5, and is a great way to start conversations with your children about feelings. The app is $2.99 and available for iPad.

11. Letter Sounds – Endless Alphabet

Endless Alphabet is a super silly, wacky, hilarious vocabulary learning app for kids. Scroll through words inside a friendly blue monster’s mouth. Tap on one that looks especially interesting, and learn what the word means. Kids need to build the word, letter by letter first, then watch, listen and learn about the meaning of each word. Wacky, weird letters and colorful, interesting (non-scary) monster characters play the starring role in the app. You won’t find any high scores or multiple levels in Endless Alphabet. This app is just about learning new words in a playful, discovery-focused way.


12. Multiple Skills – Grandma’s Kitchen

Grandma’s Kitchen is sure to delight your youngest chef while practicing a variety of skills including patterning, counting tens and ones, visual discrepancy, telling time, and ABC order. Grandma’s Kitchen has a nice balance of creative play, skill-based practice and informational videos to build vocabulary. 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! Parents, be sure to check out the settings area where you can decide which skills your child is practicing. Check out the fun facts section for tidbits about food, nutrition and cooking. The app is $1.99 and is appropriate for children ages 4-7.

13. Best Non-fiction Reading – Kids Discover Apps

Kids Discover is a jam-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. Visit their webpage to see all of the app magazine topics like electricity, the Incas, geology, the Civil War, galaxies and much more. Each one is $2.99 and appropriate for children ages 6-8.

 

14.  Handwriting – abc PocketPhonics

ABC PocketPhonics brings three important language skills together into one app. In abc PocketPhonics, children learn to recognize letters, hear letter sounds, form letters by tracing, and use the letter sounds to build words. Parents are able to create multiple users, have control over the font and letter types, what letters their child can work on, and how flawless the writing needs to be. ABC PocketPhonics tracks each user’s answer and will not advance a user unless they first demonstrate mastery of the basics. The app is $6.99 and is appropriate for children who are learning their letters and their sounds ages 4-6. Try the Lite version first to see if it is a good match for your child.

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Winning Word Apps

Playing with words is an excellent way to develop vocabulary, develop spelling skills and learn new words along the way. Check out these winning word apps!

 

Playing with words is an excellent way to develop vocabulary, develop spelling skills and learn new words along the way. Check out these winning word apps!

Word Apps

Curious Words

Curious Words is an exploratory app that inspires children to make connections between words and their personal surroundings. Read KinderTown's review.

Curious Words is an exploratory app that inspires children to make connections between words and their personal surroundings. My children love to create videos on their iPad. This app works to direct a child’s learning while making videos. The app prompts children with words, and then they are to take a picture that coordinates with the word. Children can swipe to the left or the right to choose new words. The app then combines the words and pictures into a unique video for the child.  If the child does not like the video they can easily deleted the video and rerecord. For young readers, the words are read aloud, so the focus of the app is word associations not learning to read the words and developing creativity and curiosity. Curious Words is $1.49 at the time of this review and is appropriate for children ages 4-7.

 

Word Sundae

Word Sundae is a smart spelling game for kids and their parents or peers. Read KinderTown's review.

Word Sundae is a smart spelling game for kids and their parents or peers. Word Sundae can be played in different ways, but always involves 2 players. Play against the computer, a parent, a friend or sibling. Children are presented with Scrabble-like tiles that they must combine to make a word in their sundae bowl. KinderTown likes how scoring is different for kids and parents to level the playing field for friendly competition. A child friendly dictionary is automated within the app, so children must submit real words not nonsense words. Children earn rewards along the way such as extra turns, bonus tiles and extra points. Word Sundae is .99 and appropriate for children ages 5-8.

 

Endless Wordplay

The lovable monsters are back! This time with a focus on reading rhyming words. Read KinderTown's review.

The lovable monsters are back! This time with a focus on reading rhyming words. The monsters travel around a map with stops along the way. Once the monster stops his mouth opens with a rhyming word. The word is sneezed out and the letters are scattered.  Your child must reconstruct the word. The letter sounds are made when the letters are touched and the word is read once the word is reconstructed. The app does require the child to reconstruct the word in letter order. The words continue to be presented and all relate to a rhyming family; ran, can, pan, tan. Once a series is complete a sentence is presented with the rhyming words in context and the monsters act it out. The app is free and does have in-app purchases ($4.99) to buy more rhyming families once you complete the 3 free rhyme families. A great app for the beginning reader in your family.

 

 

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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!

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. Read KinderTown's review.

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. Read KinderTown's review.

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. Read KinderTown's review.

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.

 

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KinderTown Flips Over Osmo!

Osmo comes with a stand and a mirror that attached to the iPad and allows for the integration of real objects into the play associated with the iPad.

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.

 

Osmo Tangram

The Osmo Tangram kit comes with tangram pieces that interact with the iPad. Read KinderTown's review.

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

Osmo Words is played with the letter tiles. Read KinderTown's review.

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

Osmo Newton uses the Osmo system to reflect the space. Read KinderTown's review.

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!

 

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Super Spelling Apps

Read KinderTown's reviews of these spelling apps.

Rocket Speller Plus

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. From an educational perspective, Rocket Speller combines naturally occurring letter sounds together such as ck, ee, ea, and or. Rocket Speller offers some nice options for parents. There are several different categories of words to choose from or mix them all together. Parents can choose to have the narrator say the letter name or sound. KinderTown recommends choosing the “sound” option when working on spelling words. 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 provide options for visual hints, audible hints and smart technology that can determine when a child is having difficulty and provide assistance called Adaptive Assistance. Rocket Speller is $2.99 and available for iPhone and iPad. Rocket Speller would be appropriate for children ages 4-8.

 

SpellingCity

Spelling City app coordinates with the website www.spellingcity.com. The app draws on all the lists created in Spelling City and has seven free games that your child can play within the app. Student favorites are HangMouse, Unscramble and Missing Letter. In addition, parents can set up a free account with Spelling City and create their own list of spelling or vocabulary words for your child to practice. Once you have created your own account with Spelling City and created your own lists, you can login on the app and they will appear for your child to practice. This app would be appropriate for students ages 5-12 and is available for iPhone and iPad for free.

 

Word Wagon by Duck Duck Moose

Word Wagon is an app that progresses from learning letter sounds to the beginning stages of spelling. Word Wagon includes 103 words, and children will learn how to spell many common 4-6 letter words. As the wagon moves along, common objects fall into the scene and children can tap on them to practice spelling the word. Word Wagon includes stickers and free play activities that break up the spelling and letter practice. Students earn a sticker for each correctly spelled word and a game for every three words spelled correctly. For students ages 4-7, the stickers and game play help to keep them interested and motivated to return to this spelling app. As with other Duck Duck Moose apps, Word Wagon has appealing music and delightful characters. Word Wagon is available for iPad, and iPhone and is $1.99. Parents can change the four levels of play easily and have the option for upper or lowercase letters. It is really important to use the lowercase letters for words most commonly seen in lowercase print. This will make the transfer to reading, writing and spelling easier for children. If you have a beginning speller, this app is a perfect fit!

 

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Artistic Apps by Avokiddo

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

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

 

Avokiddo ABC Ride

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

 

Avokiddo Emotions

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

 

Show What You Know: Cut Paper Art

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

 

Supplies:

-scraps of paper or full sized pieces of paper

-glue

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

-scissors

 

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

 

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

 

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