0-3 years old
For this young age range I would like to recommend two apps that are wordless and are all about building up toddlers’ fine motor skills. The first app is known in my home as the “nam-nam” app because of the cute sound the little figures make when they gobble up dots (in a style reminiscent of Pac Man) as they move across the screen following the toddler’s finger. The second app is known by my family as the “disco app” because every time the animals in this app finish a task they celebrate this achievement by doing a groovy disco dance.
Lumikids Park – free
Lumikids Park offers a series of short and easy to understand activities for even the youngest player. Each game aims to work on skills such as logic, memory, timing, spatial relations and fine motor skills. There is a parents-only zone where you can chart your children’s progress through the app and you will also receive e-mails from the Lumikids team suggesting activities to do with your children away from the screen to continue improving these new skills.
Nampa Forest – 2.99 €
Nampa Forest invites the toddler to play one of five games in which nobody is the winner and nobody is the loser. These games are simple, fun and intuitive. What I like most about this app is the use of music. Toddlers are at the beginning of their journey in the world of technology and in Nampa Forest they find laughter and fulfillment in easy steps. Music, movement and fun from a high quality early age edutainment provider.
A quick overview of digital platforms selling apps for children shows how popular this age range is for app programmers. Given the fact that 3-6 years is the optimum age to use the advantages of digital education as a stimulus when the children are still learning to read and write, it is no wonder that the best quality apps can be found for this user age group. Here I recommend two prize winning apps that help our youngsters learn how to read.
The Joy of Reading – 3.99 €
This app, available in British or American English, is the best I have found to help bilingual learners of English like my own children. Aimed at teaching youngsters how to read, it is particularly useful for dually educated children who are picking up letter identification, phonics, spelling and pronunciation in two languages simultaneously. This app has several levels to it, taking the child step by step through the reading process. It is a slow, thorough process which engages the user and parent alike. This is an app to go back to from time to time in order to measure the child’s progress. The Parents zone maps each step, providing parents with advice and encouragement.
Endless Alphabet – free
(taster version with 50 words, extended version available from 3.99 €)
I will be honest here and say that this is the app I’ve spent the most money on – even more than on Minecraft – and it is money very well spent. This app worked for my son and is now doing its magic with my younger child. Apart from being very entertaining, this app is equally as educational. Young users hear correct pronunciation, gain vocabulary and learn how to put words into context. Users learn how to write a minimum of 50 words in English (more vocabulary is available to download, sometimes free but often at a cost of 3.99 € per update). Many of the words are chosen with children in mind (“giggle”, “pester”, “quarrel”, “gobble”) and the animated videos that put the words into context are clever, precise and fun to watch.
From 6 to 8 years children begin to have a pre-conceived idea about what to expect from an app. During this time of their life they develop healthy “digital habits” where they learn how to make the most of good quality apps to help support the work they are doing at school. Now is the time to show them that educational apps do not always have to be boring!
Snow white – 3.99 €
Nosy Crow’s re-telling of Snow White (and the rest of their fairy tale apps) is a treasure trove. Apart from entertaining the reader with several features including a mirror (my daughter’s favourite) and a baby that needs shaking in order to calm down, this app encourages interactive reading. Every time a child opens this app he or she finds something new to read, develop or listen to. Vocabulary is picked up along the way, as are expressions. This marvelous adaptation of a fairy tale from page to mobile screen is the epitome of what digital educators aim for in their endeavours.
Our fifth fairytale app, Snow White by Nosy Crow, is out today!Find it on the App Store here: http://bit.ly/crowsnow
Gepostet von Nosy Crow am Donnerstag, 12. März 2015
World’s worst pet – free
This app has received prizes for excellence in technology and education. What is the reason behind its success? It has developed an effective way of teaching new words to language learners. With vocabulary being the key to confidence when communicating in a new language, this superb app helps children pick up vocabulary effortlessly as they help Snargg, the world’s worst pet, find his way home.
This app has several levels and is suitable for children from 2nd to 6th grade (Spanish primary education system). It is important to find the correct level for each child in order to avoid frustration and so as to maximize engagement. They will quickly learn a whole range of words, similes, opposites, metaphors and rhymes as they take Snargg on his journey back home. The end result of all these efforts is a newly gained wealth of language contexts that will last a lifetime.
‘Appy Christmas Everyone!