Category Archives: PreK – Kindergarten
The interface is organized quite well – with the stage taking up the bulk of the space, followed by the area for the programming script.
The coding blocks are separated into the following categories: Triggering, Motion, Looks, Sound, Control, and End.
Each activity has the ability to be saved, for easy access the next time the app is opened.
This app falls into the ‘Brain Training’ category that’s quickly emerging. It’s quite simple, yet surprisingly addictive. The only objective is to tap the numbers on the screen in ascending order as quickly as possible.
Blitz = Tap through numbers until the time runs out
Zen = Tap all of the numbers as fast as you can
The app keeps track of personal statistics. It also has the option to connect to Facebook and Twitter.
Catch this app if you can find it when it’s free.
The free version offers just the following two activities:
Word Machine – The machine verbally announces a sight word. Choices appear and the child has to tap the correct one. Points are earned for each correct answer. More points are earned if students select the correct sight word on the first attempt. Words increase in difficulty as students work through the levels. With each new level, more answer choices appear. The machine repeats each round’s word every few seconds.
Gears – Tap a spot on the screen to hear a sight word. Then students need to drag the written sight word (and its gear) to that spot. Correct answers will make the gear spin.
The paid version opens up all of the grade levels (Pre-K to 3rd) and all of the activities. The others are: BINGO, Memory Games, Spelling, and Flash Cards.
Download the free version to see if it fits the needs of your child, then upgrade to the paid version.
Here are summarizations of the instructions for each mode.
Sentence Building – The purpose is “To lay the foundations and to strengthen the ability to read sentences.” It demonstrates how we pair verbal words with written words to form sentences that can be read or said aloud. As each new sentence (and accompanying picture) appears on screen, the mobile device reads it aloud. Then the child needs to drag the words in the proper order. When done correctly, the tiles will join together and play a brief musical number.
Sentence Reading – The purpose is “To give lots of practice reading short, simple sentences and to prepare children to read books.” To eliminate the reliance on visual clues, the picture does not appear. The words also appear in the correct order. Therefore, the objective is for students to read the sentences orally and then tap the blank picture box to hear each sentence read aloud and watch as the accompanying picture appears.
This review is for the free version. It comes with just two categories in Sentence Reading (15 two-word sentences and 25 three-word sentences).
The Deluxe version comes with four categories in Sentence Reading (72 two-word sentences, 84 three-word sentences, 84 four-word sentences, and 84 five and six-word sentences). It also comes with several sound and font options that are not available in the free version.
As always, I encourage you to try the free version before committing to the Deluxe version.
Shape Matching – The objective is to drag the colored object from the bottom of the screen to its card that contains the word and a black-and-white image of the same object. The name of the object is stated each time you tap it in order to drag it to its correct spot. Although the name of this activity is “Shape Matching” and traditional shapes (star, hexagon, triangle, circle) are shown above the title for it, students are actually matching objects, not shapes. Sample objects include a fence, letter, and bicycle.
Letter Matching – Students need to drag the missing letter from the bottom of the screen to its card that contains the rest of the letters and a color image of the object. Unfortunately, when each letter is tapped the app says the name of the object it’s supposed to be dragged to, instead of stating the letter or the sound the letter makes.
Word Matching – This activity requires students to drag the word to its card that contains dashes to represent letters and a colored image of the object. Like in ‘Letter Matching’ each word is read when it is tapped. From there, students have to simply drag it to the card that contains the picture of the stated object.
Verbal feedback (such as, “Great”) is given in all 3 activities for correct answers.
‘Smudge Mark’ is the name of the reports section where you can access the total number of correct and incorrect responses. The data can easily be cleared. Note that it only stores information for one user.
At this price point, I expect this app to do much more. Specifically, I wish it had the ability to make the 3 activities more challenging. For example, it would be beneficial if the black-and-white images of the objects in ‘Shapes Matching’ could be removed. Then students would be required to match the picture of a cup with the word that says “cup”, rather than simply matching the colored cup to its black-and-white version. Sure you can mute the mobile device in order to make the app more challenging, but these types of options should also be built into the Settings menu.
Currently the only two options in Settings is ‘Use only CVC words’ and ‘Use Open Dyslexic font’. I am not familiar with Open Dyslexic font, but I didn’t notice a discernible difference after enabling it.
A lite (free) version of the app is also available.
This is the app version of Ed Emberley’s book of the same title. The big, green monster comes to life in a not-so-scary way. The monster’s features appear as the book is read (see options below). But the user also is able to touch and tap the features to make them become even more animated.
There are four options for the reading of this book:
- Read Along with a Friend
- Sing Along
- Read Myself
- Read Along with Ed Emberley
Despite this app actually being an animated book, I still recommend it as a fun way to infuse literacy with technology.
This app provides students with a way to explore the names of a variety of objects not only in English, but also in Spanish and French. In each category, students can tap on an object that appears across the bottom of the screen. The app will state its name in the language selected from the Settings menu (only one language can be selected at a time). After tapping an object, students can drag it across the screen to begin a simple animated sequence. The graphics are very visually-appealing and the voiceover is pleasant (and can be made as loud or soft – or even muted – as necessary).
The categories are:
- Alphabet (with an example word for each letter)
- Numbers (0 – 9)
This app gives young children a chance to practice counting, adding, and subtracting. They are able to visually count the items that appear along with a simple equation. After tapping one of three answer choices, they receive feedback on their answer. Each correct answer moves the child one step closer to completing that particular level. Each level completed earns a prize.
Here are the rules as found in the ‘Setup’ star:
- Solve the math question
- Touch the correct star answer
- Complete levels to unlock secret prizes
The ‘Setup’ star also allows you to turn on/off the background music and sound effects. You also have options to start on the level completed (rather than the first level). You can also turn on/off the skills of counting, addition, and subtraction. Turning on the Advanced option enables the equations to become more challenging.
The ‘Prizes’ star houses the prizes that were earned by completing each level. Children can touch the prize toys to play with them. They can also play the game on the page to unlock even more secret prizes.
A free version of this app also exists.
This app presents children with six space-related story adventures centered around the character Zorbit. For each, they’re required to tap and move objects according to the oral directions given. Stickers for the sticker book are earned after the successful completion of certain components of each story adventure.
- Zorbit is Such a Sleepyhead – Wake up Zorbit for his trip to Planet Earth!
- I Love Bubblegum – Help Zorbit get gumballs from his crazy gumball machine!
- Oswald is So Hungry – Help look after Zippy’s pet – Oswald, by feeding him fruit!
- Awesome Asteroids – Zorbit’s friend – Marty, loves to watch spaceships as they fly through the sky. Help him count them all!
- Welcome Cadet – Zorbit’s dad – Sargent Scrambler needs help repairing broken down spaceships.
- Blastoff – It’s time to build Zorbit’s spaceship. Choose some wings and paint the ship!
The game-like format of this app does sprinkle in several important early math skills for young children – primarily numeration and basic geometry. While a young child will certainly enjoy the task of working through the six components, they will be done after that. In other words, the six story adventures do not change with each interaction with the app. Nevertheless, it will take a young child plenty of time to work through the six adventure stories. They will enjoy laughing and learning along with Zorbit and his friends.