The iTunes App store can get a bit overwhelming with the different variety of apps. Need to learn Chinese? There’s an app for that. Want to learn how to cook a new recipe? There’s an app for that too. I was a late comer to the ipad phase. I got my first ipad on Black Friday. I know, I know super late. How did I survive without one? I just could not justify paying so much money for one. I am frugal after all. One of the reasons I wanted an ipad so bad was for the educational apps. My son loved going to grandma and grandpa’s house just to use the ipad, not kidding. Ciara was easily entertained with the Disney Junior app (she loves watching Minnie and Sofia the First videos). The thing is I want to feel like my kids are actually learning something when they are engaging with this device. Games are fun every once and awhile but I don’t want to make it ok to allow only non-educational games to be played. I was happy when I was given the opportunity to review some new games that were recently released. Games that are fun yet are educational. My son is in Kindergarten, the year where learning how to sound out his letter and learning word recognition is important for his future.
PlaySquare WordWorld’s Pirate Ship
Ok, what kid doesn’t love a pirate adventure? Seriously. My kid was easily drawn to the characters, which may be familiar to some of the kids that watch PBS’ WordWorld. In Pirate Adventure ($2.99) Sheep, Duck, and Shark find a message in a bottle that leads them on an adventure by following the clues found on a map. The characters are entertaining and keep the kids engaged. My son loved one of the scenes where he had to dig for hidden words. It was like a treasure hunt! I liked that the app repeated the word that he found which allows for word recognition and helps him sound it out. The app also incorporates rhyming, who doesn’t love rhyming words? I kept hearing him repeat the rhyming words while he was playing. The webisodes comes with 11 interactive scenes that come to life with a touch of their little finger. Not only was the app kid-friendly, it allowed him to learn new words and sounds. It helped boost his self esteem when he was able to recognize a word. I know he will continue to get use out of the webisodes and if he gets tired of playing that game PlaySquare continues to release new websiodes to continue the fun!
PlaySquare WordWorld’s A Christmas Present for Dog
PlaySquare’s new websiode, A Holiday Present for Dog ($2.99) was just released in time for Christmas! Help Dog on his adventure while he tries to solve his problem – something is wrong with the present he got from Santa! My son still believes in Santa and writes to him every year. He enjoyed writing a letter to Santa and decorating the Christmas tree. The app incorporated many of the common holiday words that you use during the Holiday season. The app helped him with word and sound recognition. He was able to follow the story easily and was entertained the whole time. The same loveable characters from PBS WordWorld were also there. Definitely a fun app to have during the holiday season – the kids are off from school, why not have them learn a little on their vacation? They won’t notice!
To learn more about PlaySquare and its webisodes/apps check their website: http://playsquare.tv/
Jack and Jill’s ABCs of Christmas
Jack and Jill’s ABC’s of Christmas ($2.99) is an interactive pop up style eBook for children. The app give the kids a choice to have the story narrated by Jack or Jill. The eBook is beautifully illustrated with soft colors and sweet faces. Did you know the app was created by a dad and his son and daughter? They actually provide all the voices you hear. How adorable is that? Not only is the eBook narrated just like you would if you read them a story but there are hidden surprises on the screen. Tap on Santa and here a “ho, ho, ho”. Tap on the dog and hear him bark. You never know what sound or movement you’ll see when you click on the screen. Both of my children were able to sit and listen to the narration. They couldn’t wait to see what surprises they’ll hear or action they’ll see on the page. Perfect time to introduce the ABCs of Christmas with Christmas just a few days away!
The app can be found in the app store.
Magical Fairy Friends
Magical Fairy Friends ($2.99) is a cute girly app featuring Dorothy the Rainbow Fairy. Magical Fairy Friends is also a fully interactive pop-up-style eBook to help encourage reading and learning among children aged 3-8. I went through the eBook with my daughter since my son was not interested in anything girly. Boys! She loved the colors and touching the different areas of the screen. If she touched one area of the screen, she might hear a sound or noise. Dorothy the Rainbow Fairy guides you through a lesson about rainbows. The eBook includes an audio narration option to help assist early readers, or you can read along with kids, as well as tap-to-speak text to help learn along the way. If you have a little girl who loves fairies and cutesy pictures – this is the app for them! It’s enjoyable to see and hear with interactive features to keep them guessing on what comes next! Remember they are learning as well, the eBook explains rainbow in an easy to learn way. Science at a beginner level.
Jamaroos Musical ABCs
Do you have a little music lover? If you do, they will love the Jamaroos Musical ABCs! The brand-new app (available for Android, iOS, Kindle Fire for Android) helps preschoolers and pint-sized maestros master their phonics skills, the fundamentals of reading, through interactive, fun and funny alphabet-based activities – featuring 26 irresistible animal characters (one for each letter of the alphabet!) – complete with musical performances and sound effects! The kids won’t even know how much information they are learning when they play with this app – from identifying letters to learning about different instruments. Not only is the app helping kids phonetically it also keeps them entertained with different hidden surprises all over the screen. Even though my son knows the alphabet, the app provided him with vocabulary words that will help expand his knowledge. I also loved that they have a section for parents with information about the app and how it could be used. It is also great that each instrument is explained because I had no idea what an “Esraj” or “Ingoma” was until I read about it. The app is currently available at an introductory price of $1.99 until January 1st, 2014!
Do you have other apps you recommend for a five and one year old? Isn’t it amazing how technology evolved? When I was younger computers and social media sites were just growing. Remember AOL? I grew up on AOL! Just makes me worry what the future holds for our future generation.