Kids Apps: as selected by miss 4


As tested and selected by my Miss 4 1/2 – a 3 1/2 year iOS veteran.
Nearly all of these have iPad and iPod touch/iPhone versions, and are in the free->$5 range (some also have free ‘lite’ versions you can try out).

Special mention:


Clara

http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/clara/id286367870?mt=8&ls=1

This was the first app our then 9 month old used. Very simple of course, just tap the image that links to the sound being made. Ask what the name of the old iPhone that she uses is tho, and even to this day she will reply ‘Clara’ .

Her top choices (based on which apps she independently goes back to and spends the most time on):


Puppet Pals

http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/puppet-pals-hd/id342076546?mt=8&ls=1

- choose characters, move them with your finger and talk – and Puppet Pals turns it all into a movie. Great for imagination and developing oral language.


My PlayHome

http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/my-playhome/id439628153?mt=8&ls=1

- interact with 5 spaces in a play house – amazing level of detail and interaction possibilities.


Art Maker by Playschool

http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/play-school-art-maker/id473900831?mt=8&ls=1

- free and provides great picture making options and scenes


Ansel & Clair

http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/ansel-clairs-adventures-in/id433593765?mt=8&ls=1

- a little more advanced, but even at age three this was a hit with lots of sections and animations to explore on a journey around Africa


Park Math or Draw and Tell, or anything by Duck Duck Moose

http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/draw-tell-hd-by-duck-duck/id504752087?mt=8&ls=1

- all apps by Duck Duck Moose have great graphics and animation as well as songs and hidden interactions.


Red Writing

http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/red-writing-learn-to-write/id474392775?mt=8&ls=1

- aimed at Australian kids, it includes the right school font used by each state as kids practice letter formation


Montessori Crosswords

http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/montessori-crosswords-learn/id384334005?mt=8&ls=1

- allows kids to explore letters and sounds as well as to see how to use them to build words


FindThemAll

http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/find-them-all-looking-for/id426394333?mt=8&ls=1

- just a simple look around and find animals with some quiz questions, but this one has proved very popular on a recent week away.


Seuss Band

http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/dr.-seuss-band/id474940131?mt=8&ls=1

- Great for co-ordination and getting a sense of the fun of playing music


Talking Carl

http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/talking-carl!/id417373312?mt=8&ls=1

- the original talking creature app – repeats what you say in fun and interactive ways – very good for developing oral language skills


iWrite Words

http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/iwritewords-handwriting-game/id307025309?mt=8&ls=1

- a letter tracing and word making app with fun activities like tipping the device to slide the letters around


Me Books – Lady Bird Classics

http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/ladybird-classic-me-books/id453238220?mt=8&ls=1

- animates old classic books and allows you to record as many animal sounds or readings of the story as you like yourself.


Monster at the end of the book

http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/monster-at-end-this-book…starring/id409467802?mt=8&ls=1

- just pure fun as you drive Grover more and more crazy as the story unfolds

A little more advanced:


Pirate Treasure Hunt

http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/pirate-treasure-hunt-eight/id392208108?mt=8&ls=1

- younger kids may require help as there are some great problem solving puzzles


Bartelby’s Book of Buttons volume 1 & 2

http://itunes.apple.com/au/app/bartlebys-book-buttons-vol./id384841276?mt=8&ls=1

- a step beyond Pirate Treasure hunt with an involved story and puzzles that prove a great challenge for kids when they are ready.

Also – Moms with apps is the best parent site for keeping up apps aimed at kids:
http://momswithapps.com

What does the new iPad mean for education?

Significantly, my number one item for how the new 2012 iPad will impact education is not the new 2012 iPad at all – its the fact that the 2011 iPad 2 is now much more affordable for schools – $100, or a permanent 20% discount in fact. And if schools take the tip of buying refurbished units when they can (these still have the full warranty) you can now get an iPad 2 for US$349.
The screen. I don’t think anyone will start off talking about the boost to ram, the additional graphic cores etc. I’m guessing that the sharpness of the screen will be the number one new feature that people purchase the new iPad for. For students (and readers in general), I’m positing that there will be less eye strain – a good outcome for schools that are deploying iPads to large numbers of students.
The camera. Sure most schools have separate digital cameras for taking photos and video recording, and yes the iPad is a little hard to hold for this kind of thing, but as they say, the best camera is the one you have with you – so there will be times when being able to capture decent shots without having to reach for another camera means action gets captured that would otherwise be missed.
The specs. Ok, perhaps in terms of future-proofing, schools may choose to spend the extra money on the new iPad simply so they know that the device will be usable for a longer period of time due to its extra ram and processor speed. iPads typically support more years of updates than other tablets already, but $100 or so for an extra year or two that you don’t have to replace your iPad fleet could be significant for some institutions.
Voice dictation. Maybe not so vital for the everyday student, but for those with physical disabilities or even just those that think in more auditory terms, this could prove a very useful addition. Pity its not the full Siri voice control as well though.
200,000+ tablet apps. All the great hardware in the world is useless unless there is software to run on it, and the iPad has this in spades. Many schools are looking at Android tablets for various reasons at present, but the fact that there are only a few hundred tablet apps, and because experienced educators such as this one see them as only a gadget, not platform choice for schools makes those 200,000+ choices all the more pertinent.