According to a recent PBS survey, nearly a quarter of parents plan to pass their used mobile phones, tablets and computers to their 2- to 10- year-olds when they upgrade their devices this holiday season. My toddler has already benefited from my clumsy hands, and is the proud owner of an iPhone 3S with a cracked screen.
It’s a good idea to completely wipe any device you plan to hand down to a child. But once you’ve removed any personal data and professional documents, you’ll want to fill the gift up with age-appropriate goodies. If you’ve got a toddler, check out my post from a few months ago on educational apps for preschoolers.
Now that my son is getting a bit older, I have been branching out into apps that teach basic reading, math, science and social skills. The following apps are my top educational programs for kindergarten aged students.
Word Wagon by Duck Duck Moose ($1.99)
I have been a big fan of Duck Duck Moose apps ever since their Old MacDonald software kept my 1 year old occupied during a three-hour flight. Word Wagon introduces students to basic spelling and language skills through a fun, colorful interface and upbeat music. Early learners will become familiar with the names and sounds of letters and more advanced students can start sounding out words. Although it’s not yet available for Android, Duck Duck Moose have been slowly developing Android versions of their popular apps so watch for it coming soon.
Word Wizard by L’Escapadou ($2.99)
Another language app, Word Wizard teaches young people the concept of phonetic spelling. Called a “Speak ’N Spell for the iPad generation” in a New York Times app review, Word Wizard lets users hear the sounds of letters and words as they write them. This app is currently only available on Apple products.
Letter Writer Oceans by Barking Dog Interactive ($1.99)
This app not only teaches kids what letters are, it gives them writing practice. Using beautifully rendered sea creatures as pointers, Letter Writer Oceans guides young hands as they shape letters. This app is currently only available on Apple products.
Kindergarten Math by Infinut ($1.99)
The interface doesn’t have the fancy graphics that you see on many iPad apps, but this Android program offers a variety of exercises that speak to the way young minds pick up mathematical concepts. For example, by moving balls in and out of a box users are able to actually see the process of addition and subtraction. Created by a software designer to share his love of math with his young daughters, Kindergarten Math is educational and fun.
Talking Kids Math and Numbers by Kaufcom Games Apps Widgets (Free)
If you’re an Android user who responds to graphic elements, Talking Kids Math and Numbers is a more visually advanced program for teaching kids numbers and basic math processes. Featuring a portly penguin rendered in high quality 3D graphics, this app offers integrated voice interaction as well as touchscreen manipulation.
TeachMe: Kindergarten by 24x7digital LLC ($.99)
It’s unfortunate that this app is only offered for Apple products since this is one of the most comprehensive kindergarten skills app I’ve come across. Not only does this app enable students to practice early math, spelling, reading and language skills, but it offers cute scenes and a huge variety of reward stickers to keep young people engaged.
ABC Music by Peapod Labs ($1.99)
The range of apps by Peapod Labs are another favorite of my pre-k son. ABC Wildlife, ABC Food and ABC Play, as well as ABC Music, all use the same interface, but it’s the gorgeous photos, engaging videos and fun interactive activities that have made these apps perennial favorites. The ABC Music app is an exceptionally fine way to introduce budding musicians to the cacophony of sounds used to make beautiful music.
Concentration for Kids by Jigawatt Labs (Free)
The game of concentration has come a long way since the box full of small marching cards that inevitably ended up under the bed, in the washing machine and behind the couch. With three different themes and 10 levels, this app helps kindergarteners build their memory skills. It makes my top list because one of the themes has users match uppercase and lowercase letters, which is a handy way to make letter matching fun. At this time, Concentration for Kids is only available for Android users, but iPhone and iPad users can try the similar app Fruit Memory Match Game, which is available for $.99 on iTunes.
What are your favorite educational apps for kindergarten age students?
Katie Stansberry authors the blog Teaching with Tech. She is the former community manager of ISTE Connects.