Fun E-books to Read Aloud with Your Child

E-books add variety and interest, making them great for read-aloud times with our child.

 

E-books add variety and interest, making them great for read-aloud times with our child.

 

Reading aloud to children is a vital activity for building vocabulary, a love of reading, and an understanding of what reading “sounds like.” Also, reading aloud to children is the most important activity to build their eventual success in reading. Did you know that reading a book aloud is two times richer in vocabulary than watching a typical TV show?

 

Also, children’s listening abilities develop ahead of their ability to read, so it is important to continue to read aloud to children even when they start to read on their own. These skills do not level out until children are in approximately eighth grade, so continue the habit beyond the early years.

 

Dr. Seuss Treasury

dr.seusstreasury

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, such as Hop on PopHorton Hears a Who!Green Eggs and Ham, and The 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.

 

Dragon Brush

dragon brush

Dragon Brush is so beautifully designed that parents and children will love interacting with this e-book. The background music is soft and calming, and the illustrations are beautiful. The narration is provided by a male voice. There are hidden interactive features on each page and special inkpots hidden in the story that unlock artistic features in the special painting area of the app. The story is about a young artist, Bing-Wen in China, who was poor and lacked the tools to create art that he loved. He helps a lady whose giant cart has overturned, and she gives him a paintbrush. He discovers that the paint brush is magic and everything he draws comes to life. The end of the story has Bin-Wang cleverly using his paintbrush to solve problems. The story is based on a traditional Chinese folktale and has a moral that you can discuss with your children at the end. Dragon Brush costs $2.99 and is appropriate for children ages 3-6.

 

Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

fantastic flying

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is a delightful story that the whole family will enjoy. Mr. Morris Lessmore ends up in a magical world of books. He falls in love with each of these books and shares little tidbits with the reader through quotes and games. Kids get to immerse themselves in language and letters with mini-games and thoughtful interactivity. This is a wonderful app for sparking a love of reading. We highly recommend it for talking about the variety of books and purposes for reading with your child.

 

Also, try out some other KinderTown approved e-book favorites: The Monster at the End of This Book…starring Grover!, Fancy Nancy Dress-Up, and Goodnight Moon. Enjoy these interactive experiences with your child!

 

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4 Excellent STEM Apps for the Summer

Learn about some of KinderTown's favorite STEM apps that your family can enjoy this summer.

GoldiBlox: Adventures in Coding- The Rocket Cupcake Co

Goldilockscoding

Help! Someone recorded a birthday on the calendar but didn’t include the name with the date. Whose birthday is it? Goldie has a solution. She’ll make cupcakes for everyone in the town. In order to do that, she needs help from Ruby Rails to solve the puzzles and make the cupcakes fast and efficiently.  As your child solves the puzzles, they are learning beginning coding skills. Along the way, take a break and enjoy a mini-game or play with the stickers you have earned in your room. The app costs $2.99 and is appropriate for children ages 5-8.

 

Monster Physics™

Monster Physics

Monster Physics™ helps your child learn physics and so much more. Spend time on the “learn” page, where parents and kids learn physics vocabulary together. Move through the missions, starting with the “tutorial” level that introduces necessary strategies and tools. There are 50 different missions that can be accessed at any time with enough content available for a long shelf life. “Free build” is a personal favorite for watching kids invent to learn. In addition to all the physics, this app cultivates innovation, strategy, and persistence, which are not skills to be neglected. The full version costs $1.99 and is appropriate for children ages 6-8.

 

Toca Lab

toca lab

Toca Lab is the chemistry lab for young kids, and it is the perfect place for exploring how different materials interact. The app is designed around the world of a science lab. The incredible part is that children do not have to be able to read or understand all there is to know about chemistry in order to engage in tinkering in the lab. As children tinker with the “elements”, they create new “elements” for their own periodic table. Please note that the “elements” and periodic table are not based on actual scientific reactions but rather give children the understanding that, when elements are placed under certain conditions, a new element can be created. Be sure to provide lots of vocabulary and ask your child lots of questions while using the app. For example: What do you think is happening? How can you change the current state? What happens if you add water? Encourage them to ask questions, too. This app will make your child feel like they have all the tools of a mad scientist! The app costs $2.99 and is appropriate for children ages 4-8.

 

Piiig Labs: Science Experiments for Kids

Download Piig Labs

Science experimentation without the mess! Thank you, Piiig Labs, for this inquisitive app that brings science-friendly activities to preschoolers. The budding scientist in your house will love making a volcano erupt, building a light bulb, and tinkering with a radio. The app does touch on themes such as electricity, chemical reactions, and cause and effect, but the app is designed for children ages 3-6, so the activities are age-appropriate. Each experiment is accompanied by a short science fact for kids. The app costs $2.99 and is available for iPad only.

 

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Apps for Spring

Talk about what is happening outside this spring and then follow up your conversations with these apps.

Spring is a time for children to head back outside and re-investigate the world around them. Talk about what is happening outside and then follow up your conversations with these apps.

 

Plants by Tinybop

Plants

Plants by Tinybop is a fabulous app to explore, play, and learn about plants this spring. The app is based on three biomes: the grasslands, tundra, and desert. Once inside the deciduous forest, the seasons change, the weather changes, and children can interact with the plants and animals. The app allows for multiple logins, so children can explore at their own pace. The learning within the app is based on what your child explores within the biomes. While the app does provide labels in the various biomes for plants and animals, it does not provide facts about each one within the app. Also, the app does not include narration, so be sure to talk to your children while they are using the app. Be sure to explore their wonderfully created handbook about plants for parents on their website. It provides a purposeful way to explore the app and facts about the different biomes as well as further websites to explore. Plants by Tinybop is a truly unique educational app for children ages 4-8. Plants costs $2.99.

 

Related Blog Post:
The Great Outdoors: App Connections

 

GazziliScience

GazziliScience

GazziliScience introduces young kids to science topics in engaging and kid-friendly play. In the app, kids progress through 6 science learning areas that teach through discovery and narration. Explore sections such as “Plants,” “Water Cycle”, and “Seasons” this spring. After completing each area, go to the Gazzili fun page, where you use prizes earned in the game to build a unique contraption. GazziliScience costs $1.99 and is appropriate for children ages 4-7.

 

Related Blog Post:
4 Superb Science Apps for Kids

 

Dr. Panda Veggie Garden

Dr. Panda's Veggie Garden

Dr. Panda Veggie Garden playfully gives kids the tools to be gardeners. There are 12 fruits and vegetables to grow. Over 30 activities, such as plowing, digging, picking off insects, and planting seeds, are sequenced appropriately for growing each type of produce. The app is more geared towards amusement and working through 1- and 2-step tasks than learning the sequence of growing fruits and vegetables. Each task is fun and easy for kids to work through, but there is not much free play in the games. In addition, there is not any language provided for your child. Be sure to supply rich vocabulary and questions while interacting with this app for your child to gain the most out of the experience. The app costs $2.99 and is appropriate for children ages 3-6.

 

Related Blog Post:
Gardening: Indoors With Apps

 

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Expanding Your Child’s Vocabulary with Apps

Try these apps for a different approach to build on your child’s existing vocabulary

As children grow, their vocabulary expands from their immediate environment such as family members’ names and foods they like to eat, to naming everything they can see, to eventually learning more sophisticated topics through books and literature. Reading to your child even as he begins to learn to read independently increases his vocabulary and knowledge of educational topics. Try these apps for a different approach to build on your child’s existing vocabulary. Download our Power Pack on Vocabulary for more ideas and activities to expand your child’s vocabulary.

 

Vocabulary App Recommendations

 

Noodle Words Action Set 1 (iOS only)

noodle words

Noodle Words Action Set 1, is the first of two apps that present fun, interactive, engaging, and appealing word play experiences for children. Noodle Words supports vocabulary development and increases comprehension through motivational word play activities. The app presents individual words to your child and then demonstrates the meaning of the word with a creative visual. For example, the word “grow” is accompanied by a vine that continues to grow out of control as your child repeatedly taps around the screen. Children love the repetitive visual effects that illustrate the meaning of the 18 different action words included in the app. Playing Noodle Words with your child will be some of the most fun you will have learning vocabulary together. Noodle Words is $2.99 and appropriate for students ages 4-6.

 

Martha Speaks Word Spinner (iOS, Android, Kindle, and Windows)

martha speaks

Martha Speaks Word Spinner is a fantastic board game app that will inspire lots of family fun! This app is an interactive board game that is played on your iPad. Choose your pup game piece, spin the wheel, and see who can get to the dog house first. There are six games to choose from within the app to play on each turn. Word Spinner gets kids listing words, telling stories, and playing charades. The games present open-ended questions such as “Name several kinds of fruit.” The app does not correct these types of questions, so parents will need to provide the feedback. Your child will need an engaged adult or sibling to listen and respond to the answers. The vocabulary in the app ranges from simple words like “clothing” to more advanced concepts like “prehistoric animals.” A wonderful game for the whole family! Martha Speaks is free and appropriate for children ages 5-8.

 

Endless Alphabet (iOS, Android, Kindle, and Windows)

Endless Alphabet

Endless Alphabet is a super silly, wacky, hilarious vocabulary learning app for kids. Children can 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. There are no high scores and no climbing levels in Endless Alphabet. This app is just about learning new words in a playful, discovery-focused way.

 

Use the techniques in this Vocabulary Power Pack to support your more independent learner.



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Language Arts Apps for Elementary Students

Here are a few Language Arts Apps for elementary students.

Here are a few Language Arts Apps for elementary students, approximately grades K-3.

If you are using Spelling You See – Listen and Write, check out Starfall ABC’s and Gappy Learns Reading.

 

Language Arts Apps

 

Bluster Deluxe (iOS only)

Bluster deluxe

Bluster Deluxe challenges students to make connections in word patterns as they read. Content focuses on rhyming, prefixes and suffixes, synonyms, homophones, adjectives and more. The game offers options for playing against others or working independently. Children will need to have a solid foundation with reading word lists in order to avoid frustration. If your child is beginning to read chapter books, this app would be a great fit to boost their vocabulary.

 

 

Starfall ABCs (iOS, Kindle Fire and Google Play)

starfall abc's

Starfall ABCs brings each letter to life with pictures, animation, games, songs, and stories! Using a clear and articulate voice, each letter is identified by name, sounds, and words. Children interact with each letter by tapping, sliding, sorting, and dragging objects through five or more screens of engaging phonics learning. Many of the letters include real pictures as well as animations. The most exciting part of this app may be the sign language animations from the bottom menu! Starfall ABCs is a must-have app for children learning their letters, letter sounds, and beginning to read.

 

Gappy Learns Reading (iOS, Google Play, Kindle Fire)

Gappy's First Words

Gappy Learns Reading supports young kids by building words letter by letter and sound by sound. Gappy gets lost from his home and your child needs to build 10 words to get him to his house. After building 10 words, prizes can be earned to customize the house. There are four levels in the app to accommodate a wide variety of abilities, from early learners who are beginning to work on letter identification, to early readers who have greater knowledge of how words are formed. Customization in the app includes turning on and off word sets and letter formation. This is a well-designed app for learning about letters and sounds while building words.

 

Reading Raven Vol. 2 – iOS only

readingraven2

Reading Raven Vol. 2 continues the excellent language development play from the original app. Designed to build on Reading Raven Vol. 1, kids work through digraphs (sh, qu), blends (spr, mp), and reading words and sentences with word lengths up to six letters. The play is the same with colorful thematic areas for repeated practice that thoughtfully build on each other. Adults can customize the activities for their child’s needs, and learn about all the levels right inside the app.

 

Related Blog Post:
Winning Word Apps

 

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Vocabulary Power Pack for 2nd Grade Ages 7-8

Do you have a second grader at home? If so, then your child’s homework probably consists of some combination of sight words and phonics to bolster and train their minds in one of the most grueling efforts they’ll ever experience in academics: learning to read.

 

Use the techniques in this Vocabulary Power Pack to support your more independent learner.

Use the techniques in the Vocabulary Power Pack to support your learner at this level. They won’t stay in the trenches for long! Believe it or not, they are on the path to using their growing reading skills to learn about more sophisticated topics.

 

Access the Power Pack through the KinderTown app (remember, you must be signed in!) to read the full review. Below are some of the apps included in the Power Pack:

 

The Opposites

Read KinderTown's review of The Opposites

Bluster! Deluxe

Read KinderTown's review of Bluster! Deluxe

Word Games for Kids Futuba

Read KinderTown's review of Word Games for Kids



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Vocabulary 3K Power Pack

At KinderTown, we’re excited to share with you our next updated Power Pack, Vocabulary 3K.

 

In this Power Pack you will find activities and app recommendations that support your child’s rapidly increasing vocabulary.

In this Power Pack, you will find activities and app recommendations that support your child’s rapidly increasing vocabulary. As you spend the next weeks and months focused in this area, your child will develop a greater familiarity with rich language through songs, stories, asking questions, and talking. We weave the activities into the natural time you would spend with your child at home.

 

Apps recommended in this Power Pack include: Boats by Byron Barton, Wheels on the Bus, and Don’t Let the Pigeon Run this App.

 

Access the Power Pack through the KinderTown app (remember, you must be signed in)! Then:

-Select the Power Pack icon from the menu at the bottom

-At the top, select the level 3K

-Choose Vocabulary from the list of skills.

-Sign in and View/Print the Power Pack


 


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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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Back-To-School Apps for Young Girls

These apps are sure to tickle your youngest girls fancy!

These apps are sure to tickle your youngest girls fancy!

 

Fancy Nancy Dress Up

Fancy Nancy

Does your daughter like to dress up? Fancy Nancy Dress Up is the app for her! Fancy Nancy is a beloved character in children’s books for young girls. The app Fancy Nancy Dress Up is a well designed app in which your child is creating Nancy’s “look” on each page of the story. Your child can dress Nancy in a number of lovely outfits for each page in the story. Open Fancy Nancy’s dresser and choose from a variety of options from skirts to outerwear to jewelry, your daughter can completely dress Nancy from head to toe. Add a background or use a picture that you have taken for a personalized background. If your daughter needs inspiration choose the random button to see what appears. When your child is finished, enjoy reading the personalized story together. If you haven’t enjoyed a Fancy Nancy story with your daughter be sure to check out a few of her great books at your local library.

 

Solve it! with Jim Henson’s Doozer’s

Solve IT!

If you aren’t familiar with the Doozer’s, they are a creation by Jim Henson in which three-inch characters live just beyond the world. They live in a self contained community that is focused on technology, cooperation, teamwork, inventing and eco-consciousness. This app involves the use of cooperation, technology and eco-consiousness. In this app, simple problems are presented to your child. Kids must attempt to solve the problems in the physics based challenges. Some challenges include adding pieces to the puzzle to allow the ball to complete a maze. There are 50 levels with increasing challenge and once three stars are earned on each level, a sticker is awarded for the sticker book. This app develops problem-solving skills as well as beginning engineering skills in a fun and friendly environment. KinderTown thinks this is a perfect engineering game for Pre-Schoolers! The app is $2.99 and is appropriate for children ages 3-7.

 

Dora ABCs Vol 3: Ready to Read!

Dora

Dora needs help hopping across the Lilly pads in order to get to the other side of the river. The app invites children to respond to questions like “Which picture goes with this word? Which letter will change Cat into Bat?”Children are invited to manipulate the beginning, middle or ending sounds in the word to make a new word. The ability to manipulate these sounds is an important skills to become a proficient reader. Parents please note that your child should be a beginning reader to be successful with this app. Many three syllable words are presented that children must read aloud. The app does include a nice tracking system in which parents can view their child’s progress and which type of words their child is working with. Also, multiple players can be added to this app easily so several children in one household can easily use the app. The app is appropriate for children ages 4-6 and is $2.99.

 

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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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