The iPad is a phenomenal device that is revolutionizing work and play plus learning for kids. The interactive educational fun that it makes possible for kids is really quite amazing. At first, I was leery of letting my 4 and almost 3-year-old girls touch my precious iPad, even though I’ve let them play with my iPod Touch many, many times before. But once I finally got over the idea that if they had clean fingers, they’d be doing no harm, we’ve had a blast “playing” together. Here’s a look at our favorite ten apps we’ve tried and enjoyed on the iPad:
Mee Genius is an app made just for the iPad that is basically a digital kids’ book reader. It’s perfect for back-to-school time too, helping strengthen reading comprehension, making young readers more confident in their abilities and able to enjoy reading on their own. With the digital stories within MeeGenius! children can benefit from extras that traditional books can’t offer like word highlighting, audio playback, personalization of each story and the convenience of reading anywhere and anytime. The app is $1.99 including 12 introductory books and the option to purchase other books for an additional $1.99 apiece. The books it comes with are classics that my girls enjoy. This is a favorite of ours to sit on the couch or bed together and enjoy being read to. I also love the words being highlighted because it makes it easy for my 4-year-old to follow along and work on her reading skills.
I Write Words is a super fun way to teach letter and number writing and words. You can get the free iWriteWords (lite) to try it out, and if you kids like it too, you can upgrade for $2.99. This is a great handwriting tool that lets them both practice over and over and feel a sense of pride for a job well done without letting her cheat letters by writing backwards, like they do on paper sometimes.
Word Totz are digital, customizable flashcards for iPad, iPhone or iPods. It is made by techie parents of a 3-year-old, so it’s been tested by little ones from day one. It has over 100 built-in flashcards, plus you can create your own with your own photos. It also has a “spelling wizard” that will help children learn to spell the word on each card. You can go through flash cards by animals, objects, foods, numbers, just your cards or shuffle them all up.
My Name is pretty cool and great for 2-5-year-olds. You type in any name you want in upper or lower case letters. The letters are jumbled and kids must touch the letters in their names in the proper order. It’s a great tool to help kids learn to spell first and last names and learn upper and lowercase letters. Especially great if your kids have long, difficult last names like mine do.
Tap Dots is a fun way to teach numbers visually with simple tracing of images that little ones love — 18 in all — including a bear, train, duck and more. This is the full version of this app and it’s completely free! My almost 3-year-old particularly loves this one!
Baby Flash Cards is another full-version app that’s 100% free! It has 200 different cards that you can sort in several different ways. These are the digital version of flash cards you probably have at home and your kids have nibbled on or lost some of. Really can’t beat this for what it is! So simple and you can use for small babies up through toddlers.
Toddler Teasers Shapes teaches tots their shapes with positive rewards (digital stickers and a page to stick them). My girls love tapping the screen on the correct shape. If they’re wrong, they get more chances. It’s easy but fun, and they like to play over and over.
ABC Maze is made by the same people as I Write Words. This one has easy mazes that your tot has to navigate a ball through to spell out easy words. It is fun because it involves moving the iPad around to get the ball to hit the letters and spell out words. You can get a free version or upgrade to a full version for more mazes.
School Zone’s Alphabet and Numbers 1-100 Flash Action teaches numbers, letters, matching and more with interactive lessons and animation. For example, match a set of lower and uppercase letters and the dinosaur comes to “life.” Really cute and brings listening skills together with alphabet, numerals and matching.
Doodle Buddy is the best of all the free drawing apps we’ve tried. You can free-draw, use stamps, even trace or draw over your own photos. Just shake lightly and clear the screen to start over. You can also save your works of art. Both my girls enjoy this and want to play over and over again! For older kids or kids at heart, you can invite other users to draw with you — and play hangman or other drawing games!
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