With a preschooler who likes to "do school" like her big brothers, I'm often looking for ways to engage her in a meaningful way while I'm working one-on-one with one of the older kids, and we sometimes turn to our favorite preschool apps. I believe that hands-on activities and real-life experiences are the best ways for young children to spend their time, but technology is part of her future, and teaching her to use it appropriately and in moderation is important.
Favorite Preschool Apps
Note: We've used these apps on iOS devices only, but I've linked the Android apps as well whenever I could find them with a quick search.
Eleanor learned her letters by name and their initial sounds when she was about 2 1/2 years old just by playing around on this app occasionally. It's a simplified version of their website, but perfect for preschoolers to navigate independently.
Kindergarten Bingo: Letters, Numbers, Shapes & Colors
This app includes three different games. You can do Shapes & Colors, ABCs or Numbers. In the parent settings, you can change the letters to be capital or lower case, as well as quiz on letter names or sounds. For numbers, you can choose to to quiz from 10-100 in intervals of ten. With so many variations to the games, this app grows with your preschooler, which I really like, and Eleanor (and Emory when he used it) liked earning Bingo Bugs!
Tozzle - Toddler's Favorite Puzzles
This is a FUN puzzle app. There are puzzles of farm animals, forest animals, fruit, numbers, trains, and so much more. You can choose any puzzle in any order, but for the most part they do increase in complexity as you scroll to choose. This was a favorite of Emory's when he was younger, and Eleanor loves it now too.
We've played several Toca apps. They aren't quite as "educational" as the others on my list, but they've gotten lots of love over the years, even from the boys when they were younger.
PBS Kids Video
If you and your kiddos like PBS shows, this app is great. It's free and you don't have to enter any service provider information, as you would with some other television channel apps, which makes it quick and painless, and it's very user-friendly for this age group.
Alphabet Song Game - Letter Names and Shapes
This app is from The Critical Thinking Co. (They also have a free computer version.) Essentially it teaches the names of the letters and their shapes. It starts with allowing the student to choose from just two or three letters. It increases in difficulty by having the student choose from upside down and reversed versions of the letter too. The game covers both capital and lowercase letters.
Epic! Unlimited Books for Kids
This app is a delightful library of children's books for preschool, elementary and even middle school children. The app is free, but there are two types of accounts. Educators are eligible for a free account, while parents (or anyone) can get a paid monthly subscription with a wider selection. There are read-to-me books and audio books as well, so there's quite a bit to choose from. This makes a great alternative to the library or book store for voracious readers, especially in winter months!
OverDrive - Library Books and Audiobooks
This one is completely free through (participating) library systems. Just set up your account with your library card and you can access tons of books and audio! You actually "borrow" the books just like you would physical materials through the library.
Amazon Music with Prime Music
We pull up children's albums all the time just for fun song and dance sessions. Of course, I can use this to play classical or other music in the background, which is nice for all ages!
These are in no way an exhaustive list of Preschool/Kindergarten level apps we've used, but they are some of our favorites and most loved. You can find a more detailed list of Preschool Apps from Common Sense Media, though I am not familiar with all of them. As with any media, preview first and use your discretion when presenting any apps, videos or music to your children!
This post is part of a collection of App Schooling articles (for iOS and android devices) which goes live on 1/22/16, so be sure to check out what other Schoohouse Review Crew members are sharing for all ages!
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