03 Nov 2016

Balancing Act: 10 Favourite Educational Apps for Pre-schoolers

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Children today seem to be born with an instinctive knowledge of how to run their little fingers across touchscreen devices.  As parents with hectic schedules, sometimes we consider mobile devices as a “virtual babysitter” for our children.

But don’t just throw digital screens at your children. Use technology to your child’s advantage. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of the 10 must-have educational apps that can spur your children’s curiosity, imagination and learning in the right way. 

1. ABC PocketPhonics

Available for: iOS devices
Developer: Apps in My Pocket, Ltd.

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Src: CommonSense

ABC PocketPhonics teaches phonemes or sounds that distinguish one word from another. It does so with sound, handwriting and spelling functions. For example, when a child sees the word “hear” in the app, he or she will learn how to read it aloud through the app’s sound library. The word can also be written by tracing the letters h-e-a-r using the app’s handwriting function.

Best of all, you’ll also get email updates on your child’s improvement.

2. Alphabet Organizer

Available for: iOS, Android devices
Developer: International Reading Association

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Src: Google Play

Alphabet Organizer may not be as visually striking as other educational apps, but it does a great job of helping young children learn about letters and supporting older kids to develop a love for reading and writing.

It’s basically a visual organiser where users can create an alphabet book or chart. After launching the app, you can choose a user name and icon. You can either open a new or a past project, then create a page with a list of words or pictures with descriptions. Toddlers can use the app to print letter pages and draw pictures of things that start with each letter, while older kids can use the app for keeping notes on different topics.

Alphabet Organizer has many possible applications across different subject areas, making it a handy app for kids, teachers, and parents.

3. Book Creator
Available for: iOS, Android devices
Developer: Red Jumper, Ltd.

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Src: iTunes

Book Creator does just what the name implies: it lets kids harness their imagination and combine it with technology to create books. It was voted as the No.1 book app for iPad in 90+ countries and the Best Educational App in the 2015 BETT Awards.

Children can easily create individual pages, which can be turned into an entire book by accessing the user-friendly interface. They can combine text with images, or use the pages to create comic strips using their own drawings. Users can also integrate audio or video into the books, which also makes it possible to create audiobooks. 

4. Booksy
Available for: iOS, Android devices
Developer: SensiSoft/Booksy International

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Src: Google Play

Booksy is a great app for kindergartners and up. It focuses on helping kids aged 6 to 8 develop their reading skills. Once the app is launched, there’s a built-in audio feature which allows the user to listen to one word or one page at a time. There’s a comprehension quiz at the end, as well as an option to re-read.

Parents are recommended to guide their kids to use this app. With the tracking feature, you can access the dashboard to check your child’s reading progress and a progress report can also be sent to your email.

5. Hooked on Phonics
Available for: iOS, Android devices
Developer: Hooked on Phonics

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Src: iTunes

Based on the award-winning “Hooked on Phonics Learn to Read” system, Hooked on Phonics is a digital reading programme. Instead of just using plain text, it incorporates songs, games and interactive entertainment to encourage kids to learn how to read.

The app contains 24 lessons, which can serve as a foundation to build the child’s reading skills. From short vowels to simple plurals, compound words to more complex two-syllable words, a child can build up his or her proficiency in reading. The app is only suited for kids who have already mastered the alphabet and letter sounds. If not, a more basic reading programme may be required.

Download Free eBook:  5 Fun Smartphone-less Games for Your Child

6. Kidspiration Maps
Available for: iOS devices
Developer: Inspiration Software, Inc.

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Src: iTunes

The goal of Kidspiration Maps as an educational app is to help users create visual maps to develop their reading, writing, and reading skills. Designed specifically for iOS devices, kids can create outlines and turn them into story maps or convert them to webs or Venn diagrams.

With Kidspiration, kids can also develop their vocabulary development, information classification, and project organisation.

7. Pictello
Available for: iOS devices
Developer: AssistiveWare
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Src: Pictello

Even the youngest kids know how to take selfies these days, making Pictello a fun but still educational photo-based app. Exclusively designed for iOS devices, Pictello allows users to create social stories, making it a big hit for teachers to use in the classroom.

For older children, Pictello lets them use their own photos, videos, and voice to tell a story. If a teacher requires the students to share with the class their family tree, the app can be used to create an interactive presentation. There’s a “How to Write a Story” guide that walks a user through the steps of story creation.

With the help of visual and auditory prompts, Pictello can also help increase a child’s comprehension. Best of all, it’s super fun to use!

8. MiniMod Reading for Details Lite
Available for: iOS devices
Developer: E. Skills Learning, LLC

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Src: iTunes

Developed by E.Skills Learning for iOS devices, Minimod Reading for Details (Lite) is a great reading and comprehension app for kids. There are three levels of difficulty:

  1. Red: Reading level of 2.0 to 3.5
  2. Blue: Reading level of 3.5 to 5.0
  3. Green: Reading level of 5.0 to 6.5

Users can read a passage, then test their understanding of the materials. By answering questions pertaining to the Who, What, Why, When, and Where of what they read, their comprehension skills are developed and sharpened. MiniMod Reading for Details is a great alternative to apps that merely let kids play games.

9. Superhero Comic Book Maker
Available for: iOS devices
Developer: Duck Duck Moose, Inc. 

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Src: iTunes

All kids love superheroes, making the Superhero Comic Book Maker the perfect app to have on their parents’ digital devices. Developed for iOS devices, this award-winning app lets users create animated comic books with, what else but superheroes and monsters as the protagonists?

Perfect for kids aged 3 to 9 years old, the app expands the children’s imagination. There are over two dozen background scenes, animated stickers, crayons, coloured pencils, and scenes – tools which they can use to create their very own comic strip or animated movie. With this app, your kids might just be the next Pixar director or Disney film animator. 

10. Tales2Go

Available for: iOS, Android devices
Developer: Tales2Go, Inc. 

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Src: Google Play

Tales2Go aims to turn children to great students by turning them into good listeners first. So how exactly does it work?

It adds the crucial listening component to reading instruction. There are thousands of audio book titles streamed through the app. As a child listens to the audio book, he or she can read the print version of the book that’s displayed on the screen. The listening component helps improve a child’s reading proficiency. With this app, parents can also listen to their favourite audio books while driving, working, or travelling.

Download Free eBook:  5 Fun Smartphone-less Games for Your Child

Need alternatives to technological apps? Download our eBook: “Word Play Over Digital Screens: 5 Fun Reading & Writing Activities for You & Your Pre-schoolers”.

 

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