I have to say that being a digital dad has really become part of the natural relationship between my daughter and I. We can debate the socialization concerns around TV, computers, iPhones and other screens that suck the juice out of our brain another time — for now, I’d like to focus on the glass being half full.
I have come to enjoy the time my daughter and I spend playing together on my iPad. We have curated a terrific library of apps that bring smiles, songs, new words, letters, shapes and colors into her world. I am constantly amazed by how quickly she learns the nuances of a particular app and is able to fly solo within minutes of launching a new one. She’s only two and half years old but can navigate an iPad more effectively than my mother in law!
The long and short of it is — I am convinced that our iPad (and sometimes iPhone) sessions not only provide us with quality time together, but also dramatically contribute to her learning and education.
Below is a list of kid-friendly apps I came across while surfing around which motivated this particular blog post.
Language and Vocabulary
Here you’ll find apps for learning the alphabet, using the dictionary, reviewing grammar rules, and more.
- ABC Animals: Help young children learn the alphabet and phonics with this cute, illustrated app.
- Word Magic: Kids fill in the missing letter to form words, accompanied by bright pictures.
- Clifford’s BE BIG with Words: In this game, kids spell out words so that Clifford and his friends can think of things to paint.
- Dictionary.com – Dictionary and Thesaurus: This easy-to-use app features a search bar, thesaurus, search history and word of the day.
- Free Spanish Tutor: Introduce or help your kids review Spanish with this app that features native speaker audio, puzzles, written tests, flash cards, and a multiple choice quiz.
- Textropolis: Kids have to find and piece together words in order to build up their “textropolis” in this game.
- iWrite Words: Small children learn to write by tracing words with this game.
- Spell and Listen Cards: Kids rearrange letters to form basic words, improving their vocabulary and sight reading.
- TypeFast: If your kids don’t have time to take a typing class, they can use this app to learn how to type faster and more accurately.
- Grammar Up: Help kids learn adjectives, nouns, verbs, adverbs, infinitives, gerunds, conjunctions, and other grammar basics.
These American and world history apps involve your kids in making decisions that determine the success or decline of whole civilizations.
- Manual for the United States of America: Kids can learn about and read the Articles of Confederation, Declaration of Independence, Federalist Papers, biographies of Supreme Court justices, and a lot more.
- Oregon Trail: This classic game is now available on the iPad and helps children of various ages practice problem-solving and decision-making skills as they learn about history and try to survive the great trek West.
- Civilization Revolution: Sid Meier’s Civilization Revolution teaches kids about world civilizations, including Japan, Germany, China, Spain, America, and others, as they lead their people to victory.
- On This Day: Help your students learn more about history with this trivia-like game that lists important events each day.
Math and Science
These apps use flash cards, games and interactive displays to teach your kids about math, astronomy and more.
- Math Cards: This grade-as-you-go game teaches subtraction, division, multiplication and addition in a touch-screen game.
- Kids Math Fun – Third Grade: This app is devoted to third grade math skills, including basic arithmetic. Games like Double Dare and Minute Math keep it fun, too.
- The Math Master: Practice math drills and learn math facts on this app, which features a numeric touchpad.
- KidsCalc 7-in-1 Math Fun: This app teaches young children number recognition, and older kids arithmetic. It features a birthday party theme, and includes flash cards, puzzle game, running timer, and more.
- PopMath Basic Math: This level-based math game is supposed to be non-stressful but still effective.
- Pocket Universe: Virtual Sky Astronomy: This app displays the night sky just as you’re seeing it, but with more detail and descriptions of constellations and stars.
- Mathematical Formulas: This app serves as a great reference and review tool that catalogs and explains math formulas for geometry and more.
- The Chemical Touch: View the periodic table and learn about chemical properties with this app.
- Brain Tuner Lite: This free app is a great tool for getting your kids to practice math skills each day.
- Mathemagics – Mental Math Tricks: More advanced students can practice multiplication, square numbers, and more.
Help your children learn to read and get excited about reading the classics with these apps.
- Learn Sight Words: Help your children learn the expected high-frequency words they need to know by the end of 1st grade with this cute app.
- Newspapers: Encourage your children to read about the rest of the world by linking them to newspapers from different cities.
- Free Books: This app costs $1.99, but you’ll get to read over 23,000 classic books like The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and plays by Shakespeare.
- iLibrary+audio: Download whole chapters and then listen to them read aloud with this app. Books include The Call of the Wild, Emma and Treasure Island.
Art and Music
Encourage your children to explore art and music with the help of these apps.
- Preschool Music: Kids can create their own songs and play a virtual piano as they play along with sheep and birds on this app.
- Ultimate Guitar Tabs: Kids can read guitar chords and tabs to learn about music.
- Art: Your kids — ages 12 and up — will learn about important artists like da Vinci, Georgia O’Keefe, Jackson Pollock and more with this searchable app that features quizzes, a slideshow, newsletter, and more.
- Instruments in Reach Basic: Learn the fingerings for instruments like the flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, bassoon, oboe and trombone.
General Education and Life Skills
These general education apps help to improve critical thinking skills through games, matching, puzzles, and more.
- Monster Mix & Match: Kids practice critical thinking and problem solving skills with this game that lets them create monster cartoon characters.
- Preschool Arcade: Preschoolers can learn numbers, the alphabet, and capital and lower case letters while developing critical thinking and matching skills.
- Highlights Hidden Pictures: Highlights Magazine designed this game that includes eight puzzles filled with hidden pictures your kids search for while using clues and hints.
- I SPY Spooky Mansion: This is a great app for helping kids think critically as they solve riddles and puzzles while collecting keys in a spooky old mansion.
- TeachMe: Kindergarten: Review or help younger children get a head start on kindergarten lessons in reading, math and spelling.
- 10,500+ Cool Facts: This app provides an easy way to add random tidbits of knowledge to your kids’ brains. Shake your iPad to get a new cool fact.
- 2010 World Factbook: With this app, your children can learn about different countries, their flags, languages, government, economy, and more.
- Flashcards Deluxe: Customize your own flashcards with this app, which integrates with Quizlet.com, features audio and text, and can hold over 5,000 flash cards.via onlineclasses.org