As a parent to a toddler, I find that the iPhone is a wonderful, educational resource. The broad range of apps available cover a variety of topics that make learning both fun and effective. Here are my current top five educational apps for preschoolers which range from helping to learn tell time, to learning shapes, colours and letters.
Tell the Time with Bubbimals
Tell the Time with Bubbimals by Playerthree is a simple, yet very effective and engaging app to help young children learn how to tell the time and read a clock. The colourful interface and music will instantly appeal to kids who will enjoy playing with the animated speaking clock known as "Mr Clock". There are five stages of learning to suit all levels which starts with learning to tell the time by hours only and progresses through to Hours and half hours, then to Hours, half hours and quarter hours, followed by Hours, half hours, quarter hours, five minutes to finally the full use of all hours and minutes. These learning stages make it easy for parents to monitor their child's progress and to decide when they should move to the next stage.
There are four learning modes for each stage which include Play with Mr Clock where you can move the clock hands and set the time which is then displayed and the time set is narrated; What's the time? where you are asked to set the time and press go to check if it correct; Choose the time where you select the correct clock from a choice of four to match the time you are asked for and Match the time where a clock is displayed and you have to match it to the correct time from a choice of four. Throughout the various modes there are lots of positive comments and feedback which makes it a very encouraging experience for kids to learn.
Tell the Time with Bubbimals is available to download from the app store for £1.99 and is compatible with the iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.
Funimal Phonics by School of Happy is a fun way to teach young kids the alphabet and the correct phonic sound for each letter through the use of what can be described as cleverly designed interactive flash cards.Young children will love all the bright and colourful animal pictures along with the sounds and interactivity. It is sure to keep them entertained for quite some time while they learn their ABC's.
To ensure the correct pronunciation is being used for your country you select between UK or US. You navigate through from A-Z by swiping the screen or by selecting an individual card from the menu. Each card has an animal who begins with the letter selected. The cards have fun interactive features which kids are sure to love such as the 'R for Rabbit' card where the rabbit can be fed a carrot or the 'X for X-Ray Fish' card where a switch can be flicked to x-ray the fish. The interactive features are a clever way to keep the app engaging for kids without being too distracting to take from the educational benefits of learning the letters and phonic sounds.
Funimal Phonics is available to download from the app store for £1.49 and is compatible with both iPhone and iPad.
Grandma's Garden by Fairlady Media is a very sweet, highly engaging and educational app preschoolers are sure to love. It contains a series of mini games which help to develop skills in counting and numbers, memory and logic, letters, colours, shapes and vocabulary. It is a bright and well designed app with fun graphics and music which will appeal to young kids.
There are five mini games available to play in the app which can be switched on or off in the settings. In the Count Vegetables game you help Grandma count her vegetables and put them in her bag by touching them one by one on screen. Match Vegetables is a matching game which helps to improve memory by turning cards to match pairs of vegetables. Colour the Vegetables is a game in which you use your finger to swipe and reveal the vegetable's correct colour and it's big smiling face which my toddler loves. The First Letters game asks you select the correct first letter of the vegetable from a choice of three letters on screen. In the Shapes mini game you have to select the watering can with the correct shape to help Grandma water her garden.
Grandma's Garden is available to download from the App Store for 69p and is compatible with both iPhone and iPad.
Toddler Puzzle Shapes
Toddler Puzzle Shapes by Technolio Inc is a very simple app yet educational. There are two games, a shape matching one and a puzzle game. In the shape matching game you are presented with a number of shapes and a flashing outline of a shape which you have to drag and drop the correct one in to. A voice prompts you by saying 'Where is the triangle?' or 'Find the hexagon?' etc. If the correct shape is selected it praises you by saying such things such as 'Yippee!' or 'Clever!' and similarly if an incorrect one is selected it says 'Uh-oh!' or 'Oops!'.
The other game is a Puzzle game where you have to put four jigsaw pieces in the correct places to make a picture. When you select a piece, the place where it belongs begins to flash which I think is a good idea as it helps toddlers learn how to do puzzles. Another feature worth mentioning is the fact that this app supports multiple languages including English, French, Italian, Portuguese and Spanish so is ideal for bilingual children.
Toddler Puzzle Shapes is free to download from App Store and is available for the iPad and iPhone. It is well worth installing in my opinion!
I Learn with Transportation
I Learn with Transportation by DADA company is packed full of cars, rockets, trains, boats and a host of other forms of transport so it is sure to be a big hit with lots of young children. The great thing about this app is it's educational value as it aims to improve a child's knowledge in six key areas including sounds, words, colours, shapes, numbers, and environments while they are busy having lots of fun playing with it.
There are five modes (scenes) to select from. I learn sounds where you are presented with a variety of transportation vehicles which play the relevant sounds and display the name of the sound when touched; I learn words, you see and hear the name of the form of transport when it is selected; I learn colors, the colour of the vehicle appears and is spoken when selected; I learn shapes, various transport related signs of different shapes appear and once selected, the shape is highlighted and the shapes name is spoken; I learn numbers, you touch the vehicles on screen which are then counted one by one while the number count is displayed on screen and finally, I learn and travel where children learn about different environments such as the countryside, mountains and city by presenting them with a stereotypical view of a specific environment and the usual things that are found in each different setting while "To the mountain", "To the city" etc is displayed on screen and spoken. I should also mention that rather than selecting an individual scene from the menu you can just select play which alternates through the different scenes available.
I Learn with Transportation is available to download from the AppStore for £1.99 and is compatible with both the iPhone and iPad.