Apps are motivating and appealing to children of all ages, including preschoolers. If used carefully and conscientiously, apps that are programmed in accord with best practice are a welcome addition to child development. One of the buzz words in education is “gamification”. With this in mind, there are a number of excellent Educational Apps for kids that help to build foundational skills:
Early Literacy Skills Educational Apps for Kids
Rhyme to Read is a carefully designed introduction to successful beginning reading. Color-coded word patterns embedded in delightful stories allow mastery of 20 short-vowel word patterns, and 35 high frequency words. Each book is only 50 cents when purchasing the whole program.
Little Speller and Little Reader are excellent apps for young children who are ready to begin blending sounds to make words. The graphics are clear and appealing, and the simplicity of the design is just right for young children.
Letter School is an exciting and fun introduction to handwriting. Students learn correct letter formation, as well as letter names and sounds, while enjoying highly entertaining graphics. The app is adaptable to different handwriting programs.
Preschoolers ABC Playground PRO is a great choice for letter recognition, tracing letters, initial sounds and alphabetical order. This app includes multiply levels of difficulty, which makes it a great value.
Early Math Skills Educational Apps for Kids
Number Train is appropriate for K and P-K students. They learn how to count, sequence, and form numbers 1-20 as they ride the number train.
The Tiggly Apps are all excellent and very appealing to young children. My favorite is Tiggly Chef. The Tiggly Apps are primarily designed to develop children’s number sense. Some of them require the Tiggly math materials, which are concrete manipulatives and enhance the value of the apps.
Starfall Numbers is a great app for introducing students to number recognition and counting through a variety of appealing games. Starfall also has apps for reading which are consistently effective as well.
Creativity and Critical Thinking Educational Apps for Kids
Kids Puzzles Puzzingo helps kids develop spatial recognition, matching, tactile, and fine-motor skills. This app is designed to be played by you and your child together, so you can participate and enjoy it together.
Peppa’s Paintbox is a creative and fun drawing app with some exciting surprises built in. Young children enjoy the funny sounds and bright colors.
AniMatch is a great app for developing concentration, memorization and cognitive skills. It is a simple matching game with cute animals that make fun sounds.
Monkey Preschool Lunchbox is an app that introduces young children to letters, colors, shapes, and pattern recognition. Motivational stickers are used as incentives in this fun and appealing app.
Financial Responsibility Educational Apps for Kids
ChaChinga: Created by teachers as a fun game that teaches kids to avoid credit cards and collect coins and bounce around sales. This game is quick and fun and can definitely be used to open up conversations with parents and kids. (ChaChinga is created the new Enza’s Bargains app.) What is nice is that there are no in app purchases!
Educational Apps can be a wonderful addition to a preschooler’s early education. Best practice limits screen time which should not occur within two hours of bedtime or nap time to avoid sleep disturbance. It is recommended that parents monitor and participate when children are using apps, in order to ensure correct usage and strong outcomes.
About this author:
Sara Hines and Lynn Klaiman are the authors of Rhyme To Read. Sara has a Ph.d in Special Education and is currently the Lower School Head at The McLean School in Maryland. Lynn has a Masters Degree in Reading, and is a Learning Specialist at Georgetown Day School in Washington, D.C.