Curious George at the Zoo

Curious George: Zoo Animals for iPad is currently FREE (again) for iPhone/iPad. Designed for preschoolers, this educational app has kids helping Curious George wake, clean, and feed animals in the zoo. Introduced by the Man with the Yellow Hat (of course), the app then asks your child where he/she would like to go. But, buyer beware  –  there is only one section of zoo (Sunny Safari) included with the initial purchase of the app – normally $.99.

There are 5 animals for kids to learn about in this app – the hippo. giraffe, lion, parrot, and elephant. First they wake the animal up, then they clean it and feed it – fairly simple activities. Also included are age-appropriate video clips about each animal. Kids can play a game (Safari Showers) and collect stickers.

I have always loved Curious George books – the stories are timeless and can be enjoyed by kids from preschool through first/second grade. The simplicity of this app makes it most appropriate for Curious George’s youngest fans (2 – 3 year olds). I am disappointed that kids are given “a choice” of where they would like go in the app when there is only one area available without additional purchases. Choices are presented in a cute pop-up book but 3 out of 4 pages are covered by a huge “tap here to purchase” button. It feels similar to having the candy in the checkout line of the grocery story. That being said, if you have 2 – 3 year old that loves Curious George, you may want to download this app. Then you can decide if you want to purchase the remaining zoo sections.

Curious George at the Zoo for iPad - Houghton Mifflin Harcourt


Star Walk™ 2 – Guide to the Night Sky to Watch Stars, Planets, Meteor Showers & Constellations

star walk 2On sale for $.99 – Star Walk™ 2 – Guide to the Night Sky to Watch Stars, Planets, Meteor Showers & Constellations. Just point your iPhone or iPad at the sky to begin your journey through the stars, comets, and constellations. Star Walk™ 2  is the next generation of the best-selling Star Walk which has been used by over 10 million people. Summer is the perfect time for you and your children to learn the position of stars, planets, constellations, comets, ISS, satellites, star clusters, nebulae and meteor showers in the night sky. Grab your telescope and Star Walk 2 and have a family stargazing party tonight!

Direct Link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/star-walk-2-guide-to-night/id892279069?mt=8


Ocean – Animal Adventures for Kids


FREE for a limited time – Ocean – Animal Adventures for Kids, an educational app for preschoolers. Kids will become sea life experts as they explore 3 ocean scenes – a coral reef, a shark reef, and the deep-sea. The app has two modes – one for tapping/interacting with the creatures and the other for listening to/learning facts about them. Kids will learn fun facts about 30+ animals and they will be delighted with the 60+ animations. The app is narrated in 12 languages – English, German, French, Spanish, Russian, Swedish, Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese (Brazilian), Turkish, Dutch and Italian. Check out this cute interactive book for your preschooler today. 🙂

Download link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/ocean-animal-adventures-for/id819165012?mt=8&uo=4


Marco Polo Ocean

marco polo

This Parents’ Choice Gold Award winner is FREE for a limited time. Marco Polo Ocean is a fun & educational app for preschoolers. Kids learn about Earth’s oceans through build & explore activities (puzzles) or through free play. There are 5 build and explore activities: coral reef, killer whale, herring, boat, and submersible. As kids add parts to each puzzle, they build their vocabulary and learn fun facts. During free play, kids can: explore from the shore to the sea floor, steer their vehicles through ocean waters, add creatures to the water to see how they interact with each other, and more. Marco Polo Ocean uses self-directed discovery to expose kids to STEM education (science, technology, engineering, and math) in a fun, engaging way. Kids will learn about the ocean structure, the species that live there, characteristics of the fish/marine mammals, etc. It’s no wonder that Marco Polo Ocean was named App Store Editors’ Choice in 15 Countries!! Do not miss this one. It’s learning and fun rolled into one! 🙂

Download link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/marcopolo-ocean/id797157312?mt=8&uo=4


Universal Zoom: All About Sizes and Distances


On sale – Universal Zoom: All About Sizes and Distances, a very cool scientific app. Teachers and parents can use this educational app to help kids compare and contrast the size of natural and man-made objects in our universe. The app features about 200 objects presented to scale. Included are things like the world’s tallest buildings, the largest trees, animals, mountains, the planets of our Solar System. Kids can compare the size of a man to an ostrich, the size of a whale to an airplane, the size of the planets and more. And, there are also interesting facts about each object. VERY cool!

Direct link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/universal-zoom-all-about-sizes/id807673066?mt=8


Hour of Code Week – 3 FREE & Fabulous Coding Apps for Kids

The Hour of Code is a global movement that reaches millions of students in 180+ countries. There are 191,016 Hour of Code events happening around the world this week, December 7 – 13.

Why teach kids to code? Coding is what makes computer software work. Understanding the basics of programming will help your child be prepared for the jobs of the future. And, in the process your child will be learning to THINK by using logic, solving problems, and having fun! Check out these apps and try coding yourself. Then try it with your students. We are living in creative, exciting times – be part of it.

Here are fabulous FREE resources to use:

scratch jrFREE app – ScratchJr is designed to teach kids how to code their own stories and/or games. Specifically developed for younger children, ScratchJr is based on Scratch programming language (http://scratch.mit.edu) which is used by millions around the world. The app includes an introduction video and examples of sample projects. Once the add button is pressed, the app opens to a page with a friendly looking cat in a blank square surrounded by programming tools. Then the fun begins. Kids snap together programming blocks to make the cat move – forward, backward, right, left, hop, etc. They can choose to add a setting to their story/game by selecting one of the twenty-eight different backgrounds. They can add additional characters and/or objects to their scenes. They can make their character talk either by using word bubbles or by recording their own voices. They can control timing, speed, and the sequencing of events. The app can be simple but it becomes more complex as kids start to figure things out. For example, they can learn to program multiple characters to move in sequence, move together, etc. Kids can also add themselves to the story. They simply choose one of the fifteen “faceless” characters then add in their own face using the iPad’s built-in camera. How cool is that? As kids learn to program, they are also learning to problem solve, design projects, and be creative on the computer. LOVE this app!

Download link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/scratchjr/id895485086?mt=8&uo=4

kodableFREE for iPad – Kodable, an introduction to programming for kids 5+. The fuzzFamily has crashed their spaceship on Smeeborg. Kids help the fuzzes through Smeeborg’s mazes by creating drag & drop instructions for them to follow. As they code, kids need to remember that fuzzes follow instructions exactly as they are written. After coding the instructions, kids hit play to watch the fuzzes roll through the maze. They are rewarded with stars, coins, and extra members of the fuzzFamily if they are successful. This educational app comes with 45 free levels which become progressively more difficult. Additional content is available as an in-app purchase.

Download link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/kodable/id577673067?mt=8&uo=4

Hopscotch HD

Hopscotch HD is an educational app that teaches kids how to program their own games and animations! Introduce kids to computer science with this app. 🙂 Kids drag and drop “method blocks” into scripts. When they are done, they can press play to see their code in action! Why teach kids coding? According to the developer – there will be about 1.4 million computer jobs by 2020 and only 400,000 computer science students. Many coders first fell in love with coding when they were  8-12 year old children. Hopscotch is based on a visual programming language named Scratch which was developed by MIT. It promotes STEM education (science, technology, engineering and math) in a fun way – by making coding kid-friendly!  LOVE it!!

Hopscotch HD - Hopscotch Technologies




Happy Birthday Wonderopolis – Here’s to 5 great years of wondering. 🙂

FREE – Wonderopolis, a fabulous educational app. Now you can explore Wonderopolis (the website) with your mobile device.

Wonderopolis (Wonderopolis | Where the Wonders of Learning Never Cease) is a fantastic website that provides a daily Wonder of the Day®.  A fun & intriguing question is featured every day. The website/app includes a written explanation of the answer, vocabulary words, and a gallery of images & videos – all to foster learning and inspire curiosity about the Wonder of the Day®. Other daily features include a “Try It Out” section which suggests activities based on the day’s question, a “Still Wondering” section which gives additional/related information, and a quiz. There is even a section for teachers/parents called the “Educator Sandbox” with additional resources and opportunities to connect with the Wonderopolis community. It’s such a fascinating and wonderful resource – I enjoy reading it myself!

Using this website/app would be a fabulous addition to a daily classroom routine. Kids could read (or listen to) the daily Wonder of the Day® as part of their independent work time. They could journal about what they learned and/or what they are still wondering about. A class discussion could be scheduled for later. What a great way to encourage THINKING! Wonderopolis is a fabulous resource to ignite the natural curiosity and imagination of kids!

Download link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/wonderopolis/id505247028?mt=8&uo=4