Monday, January 09, 2012

A Few of our Favorite Apps

The app world is just flat out overwhelming. This list I wrote could easily be ten times as long, but I wanted to share some of the apps we have enjoyed of late. We only do educational games in our house. I told my kids that they were born into the wrong family if they wanted to play shoot 'em up games. Sorry kids.

These first three are websites that give a more extensive list of apps for kids.




Here are some of our favorites:

Solar Walk 

This app is a scale model of the Solar System where you get to manipulate space-time, learn details about 39 celestial objects, and watch 7 different videos. This was great to have while we studied Astronomy last year. The kids can line all the planets and compare rotation, size, surface, color, and texture. 

Story Chimes

Several choices  of fairy tales that you can read or have read to you. The narration is fun and upbeat. Some of them have memory games or short activities for the kids to do at the end. These are great for the little ones to listen to while I'm working on a more one-on-one intense subject with and older one. 

Math Bingo/Sight Word Bingo

I hate flash cards. They make me want to poke my eye with a Q-tip. So, the kids do these bingo games to work on math facts. All 4 operations can be used. The sight word one works the same way, but with words. At the end, they calculate your time and you get bingo bugs according to how fast you completed the bingo board. Once you've earned enough bingo bugs, you can play a game where you slingshot them around the screen to earn coins. My kids enjoy this one a lot.


Toonstastic gives your kids a chance to both narrate and animate a story. The app will walk kids through the process of storytelling (setup, conflict, challenge, climax and resolution), pick their own theme music for each scene, and watch their story come to life. Sometimes I'll take one of the stories the kids has written and ask them to go animate it. Or, instead of writing the journal entry down, go animate it instead. Keeps things fresh. 

Ultimate Dinopedia

This one is great is your kids are into dinosaurs. There are fact cards, pictures, and 3D videos that bring these creatures to life. It's put out by National Geographic and the visuals are exceptional. There are tons of dinosaurs to pick from and I feel like it gives a good overview of how they lived.

Word Magic

This is a phonics and spelling app for early readers. On one level, they will have a picture and a word, but one letter is missing. The child is supposed to touch the letter that is missing in each word. As a parent, you can set the word length, level, capital or small letters, and several phonetic options. 

Monkey Preschool Lunchbox

This is geared  more towards preschoolers. There are matching games, memory games, shapes, colors, groupings, and lots of other beginning level skills. This is also a great starter to get the younger ones comfortable with a computer. I know it seems crazy, but just think about 18 years from now. Computers are going to dominate every sphere of life. We've got to surrender to that and get our kids prepared.

McPea Preschool 

This is fairly similar to Monkey Preschool. There are numbers included in this one though.

iWrite Words

Your kids will write their letters (both capital and lowercase), numbers, and short words with their fingers. They are learning the stroke order and basic hand eye coordination. There is also a small music portion where the kids can tap on a piano and it plays the alphabet song.

ABC Phonics is similar to iWrite Words

Cute Math

This has several levels of basic math operations. I would say preschool to kindergarten age. There are a few counting levels where they count balloons or penguins. There are also a few where you work on addition and subtraction of birds. 

 As our kids get older, there are some fantastic ones for anatomy that I can't wait to dive into. If you homeschool and can afford an ipad, I would highly recommend one. We have used it even more than I anticipated. The apps available for schooling are incredible.

Hope these help you navigate the ocean of apps available now. 
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