Finally, some time to tell you about some of the fun and educational apps that have been a big hit in our house.
1) The first number one hit with both the boys is:
This app takes the form of a random quiz in four areas – sight word recognition, spelling, addition and subtraction.
Players work their way up a series of levels. The maths component is particularly well guided for younger learners as it gives them the ability to remove and add items and then count the remainder/totals. I am sure it’s the reason M can count to 30 and recognises all numbers up to 10.
The other very appealing aspect of this app is the reward system which gives them further chance to work on their math skills as well as having a lot of fun. Players earn coins for correct answers and then they can use these coins to buy stickers for a variety of scenes, as well as fish, fish food, plant life etc for an interactive aquarium – I can’t begin to tell you how much they both love feeding the fish.
This app has a series of simple little activities involving getting fruit into the monkey’s lunchbox. The activities include matching, puzzle, counting, finding the odd one out, choosing correct colour etc. There are sticker rewards for correct answers. He’s a cheerful monkey and the whole game has a happy fun vibe to it.It’s a cool, lightweight app that teaches a few things along the way.
Yet another fun app that works with a variety of quiz type activities. As the name suggests, these activities are all alphabet/word based. There are 3 levels to choose from (Easy/Medium/Hard) and a pretty impressive range of languages – for some reason M keeps choosing to play it in its Spanish version…hhhmm, too much Dora perhaps ;-).
The premise of the game is that Lola needs to use her train to take presents to her friends.
Lola’s train travels along and you have complete a number of activities involving letter recognition/make a word/words starting with a certain letter etc.
After a number of correct answers, players can get then go to a shop to buy presents for Lola’s friends.
When the train is full of presents it reaches its destination and the game is over.
The range of vocabulary is fairly limited and therefore repetitive, but nonetheless it’s a fun app and naturally popular in our house where trains are always a winner :-).
It’s a simple click and drag the letters into place activity, but it’s well done, the words are useful and it sounds out the letters and then the words in a clear distinct voice.
There are quite a few options in the settings (to make it harder/easier, use upper case/lower case letters etc) and there other apps in the same series as well.
5) Build A Word
I haven’t mentioned accessibility of the other apps, because I’ve pretty much found that S has been able to work them out with only minimal occasional frustration. I can’t believe the great motivation games are when it comes to learning how to scroll, drag, swipe, tap etc etc.
However, the ‘Build A Word’ app is definitely a bit more of a challenge for a child with less than perfect fine motor control. The letters for the words float around the screen and you have to grab them and drag them into place. And if that’s not enough, once the word is complete, you need to shake the iPad in order for it to move on to the next activity.
The words are animal names and once you’ve formed the word, it morphs into the shape of that animal and does a little dance. Cute!
There aren’t that many words, but I like the concept and I think despite the frustration it causes, it’s got a good fine motor element for S to practice too. Pretty good for hand/eye coordination also, and seeing as we were told by an optometrist after a kinder eye testing session that his eye tracking needs some work, I think this is a good app to keep playing.
So that’s our first 5!
In summary, The ‘TeachMe: Kindergarten’ game, is by far the best app we’ve come across so far, but overall, we’re having a lot of fun with the others too.
I have loads more to review, but not enough time right now. I think I’ll try and review 5 each week.
Also keen to hear from others about the apps your kids are loving too.