Recently, our newsletter, Connect the Dots, has focused on children and technology. There was a discussion about the dangers of too much screen time (TV, phone, tablets, video games, etc.) and then more recently, the good things that can come about from the use of quality apps and adult supervision.
While I shared my 5 favorite apps for young children, I wanted to expand on that a bit by showing you exactly what is on my iPad. I worked with young children for many years and used my personal iPad during those latter years to reinforce some of the skills I was teaching. With young grandchildren of my own now, I still believe that active and creative play is the best way to teach young children. However, there are some great apps out there that reinforce skills and are just plain fun when used responsibly and with moderation.
So, here are the apps currently on MY iPad and brief descriptions of their features. (I’ve linked to the IOS downloads, although many are also available for Android systems.)
General apps for young children
Highlights Hidden Pictures - Great graphics that bring the magazine’s hidden pictures to an interactive game, and it’s free.
Name Play - One of my TOP 5, this is a great name reading and writing kit. (ages 4+)
HIghlights Puzzle Town - Highlights has produced a nice puzzle app for young children, and it’s free.
Opposites Adventure - This is a cute interactive app that features a story, painting, hidden objects, etc., that focus on opposites.
ABC Alphabet - By Photo Touch, this app reinforces letter recognition and phonics.
Endless Numbers - One of my TOP 5, this game uses quirky little monsters to reinforce
Sight Words and Phonics Reading - By 22Learn this app has colorful graphics to reinforce reading skills. (Ages 5+)numbers and counting.
Big GreenMonster - Kids LOVE this adaptation of the story written and read by Ed Emberley!
Starfall Learn To Read - This phonics based reading app is created by the folks at Starfall, an educational website. (Ages 5+)
Tiny Tap - I am new to Tiny Tap. This is a subscription based app that I was gifted. Games within the app are developed by educators around the world for young children ages 2-8.
Dinosaur Jigsaw - Just for fun, this app contains interactive dinosaur jigsaw puzzles. (ages 3+)
Kids Numbers and Math - This is a no frills app that reinforces number concepts. (ages 4+)
STEM apps for young children
Tynker, Jr. - Modeled after the Tynker app for older children, this is another great coding app for young children. (ages 5+)
Crazy Gears - One of my TOP 5, this fun game allows children to problem-solve as they learn basics of how machinery works. (There were lots of giggles in my house when we tried this one out together.) (ages 4+)
Daisy The Dinosaur - This is another coding app that I just downloaded. It is best for kids that can read a little bit, but with adult help younger children can use it, too. (Ages 5+)
Scratch, Jr. - (the icon may look different now) Another coding app developed by Tufts University, it allows kids to create their own stories from popular PBS Kids shops. (ages 5+)
Kidlo Coding - This pre-coding game introduces basic concepts of coding, sequences and looping to young children. (ages 4+)
Code Karts - One of my TOP 5, this beginning coding app teachers coding logic through the use of an interactive race track. SO fun! (ages 4+)
Alphabet/letter formation apps
Letter School - One of my TOP 5, this app makes letter and numeral formation fun with its interactive, multi-leveled approach to writing. You can start with your finger, and then move to using a stylus to mimic holding a pencil. It even includes different handwriting font styles to match what your school is using.
Wet, Dry, Try - Created by Handwriting Without Tears, children learn and practice correct formation habits for writing capitals, numbers, and lowercase letters.
ABC, 123 - Another fun writing, letter-learning app that includes games for letter recognition as well.
Screen time for toddlers should be extremely limited, if used at all. Video chats with relatives (Facetime, etc.) can be fun and an occasional short game is all that they need. Here are a few games that can be used in very short segments of time.
TIny Hands - These bundles of apps feature sorting, matching and puzzles for the youngest children. (ages 2-4)
Preschool Games - Farm Animals - Learn the names of a variety of farm animals and their babies. (ages 2-4)
Highlights Shapes - Offered by Highlights, the bright graphics in this interactive app allow children to learn about shapes, sizes, color and color-mixing, as well as sorting. (ages 2-5)
Do you have favorite apps that I haven’t mentioned? I’d like to hear about them, so leave a comment below.