Friday, August 31st, 2012
Learning is always more fun when done with a favorite friend. New apps from Disney Publishing and PBS allow preschoolers to engage in early reading, math, and foreign language lessons with familiar Disney characters like Winnie the Pooh and the cast of Toy Story. PBS provides cross platform learning by reinforcing concepts in their shows, on PBSKids.org, and also through apps featuring favorite characters. These 6 new apps are easy for young learners to navigate and fun at the same time. You might never get your iPhone or iPad back again!
Pooh’s Birthday Surprise
Features he beloved characters of the Hundred-Acre Woods in an interactive storybook that focuses on early literacy and pre-math skills. Kids ages 3-5 are invited to join in Pooh’s birthday party planning where they practice activities such as identifying and extending simple patterns, problem solving, vocabulary awareness, and story comprehension. $1.99 from iTunes until September 12.
Toy Story Showtime!
Toy Story is an interactive storybook aimed at children ages 4-6. Learners explore essential early reading concepts through engaging with content. For example, “Toy Story Showtime!” features Buzz Lightyear as he sets out to impress Jessie the Cowgirl in a talent show. Readers can assist him with his comedy and juggling acts while they discover new vocabulary words through context and story-based repetition. $1.99 from iTunes until September 12.
SUPER WHY! ABC Adventures: Alphabet
Kids ages 3-6 can travel around the world on an alphabet adventure with SUPER WHY! friends. Young learners will enjoy an around-the-world alphabet adventure while playing an engaging collection of five mini-games with a literacy curriculum. $2.99 for iPhone and iPod touch or $3.99 for iPad.
All Aboard the Dinosaur Train!
Have some Jurassic Park fun on the iPad with All Aboard the Dinosaur Train! The Dinosaur Train is getting ready to leave and needs passengers! Children ages 3-6 are needed to match the passengers with the right train cars, challenging them to problem-solve by estimating dinosaur sizes and comparing them with the train cars’ capacity. $1.99 for iPad.
Portrait of a young child in a home interior engrossed in a game on a digital tablet via Shutterstock.
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Tuesday, January 31st, 2012
Reading is a challenging venture. I like to think of it as a process where lots of different pieces have to come together in order for children to become fluent. If you think about it, kids need to know letters, the sounds they make, and also be able to recognize words in the English language that don’t fit a particular pattern.
Every child learns how to read in a different way and the more exposure they get to letters, sounds, and sight words helps the process along. Here are my 4 apps that can assist early readers with their practice of beginning literacy skills in an engaging way:
Scout’s ABC Garden ($0.99)— Explore Scout’s ABC Garden to practice letters while learning letter names and sounds through a customized experience. The LeapFrog app integrates the child’s name, favorite food, favorite color and favorite animal for personalized play. Preschoolers will enjoy interacting with content such as clouds, bubbles, ticklish gophers, Scout and Violet’s virtual radio that plays traditional kid-favorite songs, and rubbing their finger on the screen to sprinkle their letter garden with water. Kids can even rub Scout’s or Violet’s belly to hear a song with their name.
Build a Word ($0.99)— Word World’s Build a Word app focuses on early literacy skills such as print awareness (knowing which way to read words), letter knowledge, and comprehension skills. Kids have fun shaking the screen to mix up the letters before placing them in the provided outline. This helps children match upper and lowercase letters as well and when all letters place correctly, the words transform into their favorite Word World WordFriends.
Super Why Alpha Boost! ($1.99)– This app corresponds to the popular PBS show and allows children to play as their choice of character – Super Why, Princess Presto, Wonder Red or Alpha Pig, and “Alpha Boost!” to a party high above Storybrook Village. There are over 100 party-themed words and five kinds of parties that reinforce letter recognition and letter sounds. Young readers will enjoy tilting the iPhone to search the skies for floating Super Letters that will need to be put together to form the party password that is the ticket to attend a super celebration.
Clifford Be Big with Words ($0.99)— Beginning readers will get much needed practice with beginning, middle, and ending sounds by creating short 3 letter words. The app provides gentle guidance by allowing children to select from a choice of letters on a paint palette to fill one of the empty spaces on the screen. Upon successfully creating a word, an animated drawing brings it to life, reinforcing the written word with the spoken word and illustration with their favorite Big Red Dog. Also available for iPad for $3.99.
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