Even the youngest of students are utilizing technology in the classroom. iPads, ipods and computers have become a vital part of the learning experience. As pre-school teachers and parents look for educational apps for their students and children we are here to help you narrow down your search and highlight some of our favorites. Here is our list of 15 must-have iPad apps for your 3-5 year old.
AlphaTots is a highly decorated preschool application that teaches the alphabet. Lauded by the Today Show as well as by the purveyors of the Parents’ Choice Awards, this application combines a quirky visual style with an intuitive style of gameplay to appeal to even the most active preschooler.
The application does what many top iPad apps do in the field of education: It turns learning into a game. Using symbols and pictures that preschoolers will find appealing and interesting, the application exercises patience as well as a sense of humor that is difficult to duplicate. Preschoolers will learn the alphabet through real-world applications of the material.
The gameplay also incorporates catchy music that is tailored towards young children in order to keep the attention of preschoolers for hours on end. Using sight and sound, AlphaTots is one of the best ways to not only help your preschooler learn the alphabet, but also to retain the information and apply it quickly in day-to-day life.
Beck and Bo
Beck and Bo is a 2013 Parents’ Choice Approved Award Winner that utilizes an enticing story in order to teach preschoolers basic vocabulary words in a fun way. Players will follow the adventures of Beck and Bo as they ride on trains, go on safari trips and visit with whales.
As children learn vocabulary, they will actually be able to their progress through the changes on the screen. They will build their adventure picture by picture in each scenario and be able to visually equate the words that they are learning with the actions of the screen.
The game is equipped with a satisfying reward system that will keep your children motivated to move to the next level. By continually building the momentum, the game keeps children interested and learning.
Bubble Guppies: Animal School Day
Kids will learn about the animal kingdom from Molly, Gil, Mr. Grouper and all of their fish-themed friends. Bubble Guppies: Animal School Day is a highly interactive, visually attractive game about the animals that your child most likely comes across in everyday life. Your preschooler will learn the sounds of animals like penguins and horses as well as where and how they live. Overall, the habits and characteristics of 40 different animals are included in the makeup of the game.
There are four games that can function as the connection between teacher and student, or the student can play the games on his own without supervision. The voice acting in the production was noted as exceptional by many educational rating agencies; the game was made by Nickelodeon, an entertainment studio that is well known for its high production values.
Montessori Crosswords uses the time tested, proven routine of the Montessori learning method to teach your preschooler how to spell. The production value earned the app the Editor’s Choice Award for Excellence in Design.
The game includes three levels of strategy to accommodate different learning curves. It also syncs its visuals to the phonics that are being taught for an extra layer of retention. The entire game is fully interactive and entices your child to improve so that he or she can advance through to the hardest levels of the game while retaining the fun of the beginning stages.
Words are categorized based upon their sound, so the usual difficulty that accompanies a crossword puzzle is eased in the beginning stages. There are 44 different sound categories so that a teacher can focus on the parts that are giving students the most difficulty.
TeachMe Toddler is one of the top educational apps of the year for preschoolers according to SmartAppsForKids.com, combining the learning of phonics, shapes, colors, counting, letters and numbers into a single application. The app has one of the best rewards programs in the gaming world as well as a highly addictive visual style.
Stickers entice your students to continue the process of learning while the professional voice acted the character of Mini Mouse provides both visual and auditory feedback for your student. The progression screens allow parents and teachers to easily monitor the advancement of the student with tracking for up to 40 kids, so this is a great app for the home or the classroom.
Monkey Preschool Lunchbox
As one of the most popular apps in the world for preschoolers, Monkey Preschool Lunchbox is perhaps the best example of what a learning app should be. Combining easily translated, large visuals with a near perfect learning curve that keeps the child engaged no matter the subject matter, the Lunchbox app teaches sorting, color recognition and shape recognition, among many other topics.
Seven total games make topics that are sometimes
quite difficult to articulate simple for teachers to introduce. The app is noted as being a great teachers’ aide for the classroom. It can also function as a healthy gaming experience for the home during spare time.
Park Math – Duck Duck Moose
Park Math is an app that is focused on teaching your preschooler the basics of counting, sorting, patterning and even basic addition. Although the graphics are not as engaging as some of the top apps in the field, the gameplay is more than exciting enough to keep the attention of a child. As a matter of fact, the gameplay has earned the app more awards than some of the more visually exciting choices in the field, including the Parents’ Choice Silver Award, the iLounge Best Kids’ App of the Year and the Children’s Technology Review Editor’s Choice Award.
The gameplay of the seven included games is based on the relatively new Common Core Standards, so parents can be sure that the material is exactly what will be taught to the child in school later. The gaming is highly interactive because of the intuitive nature of the applied touch screen. Children will also be highly attracted to the fun, happy personality of the host, Blue Bear. The app is meant for parents who are having trouble teaching their children the core concepts of number theory.
Bugs and Bubbles
Boasting some of the most imaginative graphics of any app in the field of preschool education, Bugs and Bubbles is also one of the best values in the field. A whopping 17 games await the student along with top quality production values including original music and voice acting that are sure to keep the attention of a student.
The Bugs and Bubbles games teach varied topics including counting, colors, patterns in numbers and in shapes, sorting and tracking. The game has a built in learning curve that adjusts itself automatically to the performance of the student. The internal curve is so good that many educational professionals say that any of the included games may be played without the supervision of a teacher or parent – children will not become frustrated while playing.
PBS Kids Video
If you are a fan of PBS shows for children, the having the PBS Video Kids app on hand is a must. It will allow you to watch videos from top PBS series for children any time that you want, with a library of past shows as well. The app automatically updates your library with new shows every week, so you will always have a choice of the latest and greatest material.
Shows are categorized based on the material that they teach. In this way, parents are empowered to help their children focus on topics that might give them a little trouble. Shows may be favorited and shared with other parents. The app also makes it much easier to keep up with the other educationally themed apps that PBS releases.
This app is perfect for parents who need to distract their children while on a long trip.
Farm 123 Free – StoryToys Junior
Farm 123 is an interactive pop up book that teaches children to count in an innovative way. The structured app also teaches one-to-one correspondence as it guides a child away from counting an object twice, a feature that gives it a definite niche in the world of educational apps.
The engaging Farmer Jo serves as the focal point of your child’s attention. The visual theme of the game uses farm animals and pets. Children are able to use the app like a real pop-up book, turning the pages and viewing the scenes from different angles. The app is great for classrooms, serving as a top-notch visual aide for teachers.
Little Writer – The Tracing App for Kids
The Little Writer app uses the stylus functionality of the iPad to give your child an interactive method to learn how to write both uppercase and lowercase letters. By monitoring the ability of your child to trace lettering in a detailed way, the app has the ability to take the proficiency of a student’s writing to a high level very quickly.
Teachers and parents have a role to play as the game is highly customizable. Different features can be turned off and on based on the lesson of the day or the needs of the student. The child will learn how to write many basic three and four letter words by the end of his or her journey with Little Writer.
Rover – The Browser for Education
For teachers who need a wide variety of apps, Rover is the tool that can open up worlds of possibilities. Rover is meant to direct educators towards other apps based upon the needs of the class. Many school systems have actually incorporated Rover into the infrastructure of the network.
Rover has partnered with many of the top education brands on the iPad in order to deliver the best access to the best apps around. The app functions in the cloud; however, it is completely safe to use. Rover uses its encryption and filters to help protect students from content that is inappropriate while keeping the personal information of students out of the hands of hackers.
The browser itself is easy to follow and provides an exceptionally easy experience for both students and teachers.
Phone for Kids
Phone for Kids is perhaps the largest collection of educationally based activities in one application. With 30 total games covering topics from shapes and letters all the way to learning days of the week, your preschooler is sure to be engaged for quite some time.
Phone for Kids includes a color piano to help teach kids the basics of music and serve as an incentive within some of the gaming applications. The app also has a special included Christmas mode that activated automatically during the holiday season.
Teachers can leave students to pick their favorite games or lead the class in a themed learning experience. All of the games have high-quality visuals and voice acting with enticing characters.
Timmy’s Kindergarten Adventure
Some apps teach preschoolers basic skills using a direct method; others attempt to “distract” students by immersing them into an action game. Timmy’s Kindergarten Adventure takes the best of these techniques and incorporates them into a highly engaging and rewarding experience starring Timmy, one of the best characters for any preschool education app.
All basic skills are covered in Timmy’s Kindergarten Adventure from numbers to words. There is a sloped learning curve to accommodate students of all levels and backgrounds. The rewards system is top notch, giving students coins that can be used in other aspects of gameplay.
Timmy’s Kindergarten Adventure is a perfect excursion for parents who are driving kids to school and a perfect way for teachers to introduce concepts to a class as a whole.
Give your students an underwater adventure that will teach them the basics of shapes and colors! Fish School has been awarded the Parents’ Choice Gold Award as well as the Children’s Technology Review Editor’s Choice Award.
The fish in Fish School will serve as teachers to your child, forming numbers and letters depending on the game that is being played. Teachers who are looking for a way to visually describe the basics of topics that are hard to articulate may find relief in Fish School.
The interactive nature of the fish will also help to hold the attention of students, although the depth of the programming in this area can actually become a bit distracting. When touched, the fish in Fish School will do funny things, so the game definitely requires a bit of supervision to keep students on the right track!