Here is a list of seven apps for preschoolers and kindergarteners that I think are totally worth the $$$.
*Little disclaimer. We have an iPad and the kids have actually used these apps multiple times for several months before I posted this. We do not have an iPhone or any other handheld fancy dancy touch screen sort of devices so I can’t vouch for how the games/apps work on those devices or if they’re even available in other formats. Also we are unfortunately not being compensated in any way for these recommendations . . . the makers don’t know we’re posting it. Prices are as of posting.
Letter Toy. $1.99
This is my favorite app for little ones. It teaches them the letters and how to write them with the proper strokes. It won’t allow the child to do the strokes backward or in the wrong order. If you turn the sound up (which I hardly ever do, the whole point is to keep him quiet while the other kids study) the narrator says the name of the letter and what is stands for, “This is the letter D. D is for doll.” The child can choose different colors to write the letters with, making it even more fun. The child is rewarded with a “toy” to play with. There are dolls to dress, balls to bounce, balloons to pop, and cars to color in. Very, very entertaining and fun.
Sight Words from Teacher Created Materials. $4.99 for 100 words.
Kids write sight words by copying. If you touch the word the app reads it to you. You can also record your own voice saying the words. Then after you complete a group of words you play a game, matching, puzzles, etc to quiz and practice. The first 25 words come in the free version so you can try before you buy.
Phonics Consonants. Free
In this game kids learn the phonetic sounds for letters (and word recognition) then they play matching games, pick-the-right-picture games and so on to see if they know the words/sounds. Touching the word or picture gives them clues and prompts so they can play independently even if they are beginners.
Letter Quiz. $1.99
Kids learn the letters and sounds by tapping on cards that turn over to reveal an object that starts with that sound. “B ball”. Then they write the letters, upper or lower case. their writing appears on a screen with all their letters. When they finish the whole alphabet they get a fireworks show. Finally the child can match upper and lower case letters together.
The Lemonade Stand. Free.
Kids have to follow a “recipe” and add the correct ingredients to make a variety of drinks for the customers at their lemonade stand. They mix the drinks by shaking the screen and then get to slide the money they earn into a piggy bank. My favorite part of this game is that it teaches entrepreneurship.
In this app kids learn to spell short three letter words. Touching the letter lets you know what sound it makes and touching the picture tells you which word you’re spelling. You choose which vowel sound you’re working on and the vowels are always in blue while the consonants are in red. This is hugely helpful for the many kids who have a hard time hearing the vowels. You can also change the settings to make it more challenging for kids who are getting it. Look for other apps from Preschool University.
Chalk Pad. Free.
This is just fun. My kids spend lots of time (especially during church) playing hang man or tic tac toe or just writing their names and drawing pictures. We’ve also used it to do math problems with the older kids. Something about an iPad makes long division bearable. You can choose to write with thick or thin, with any color, and on a plain black slate or one that looks well used. E-mail your images you’ve created. Erase all or part of your drawing.