22,198 reviews can’t be wrong so you don’t want to miss this one. Toca Hair Salon 2, a creative educational app, is FREE for a limited time. This app is the sequel to the original – Toca Hair Salon. In this app, kids go back into the salon to groom NEW characters. Using the tools in the salon, they cut hair, comb it, curl it, straighten it, make it grow, shave it, color it, etc. Great sound effects are also included in this fantastically fun app. Kids or parents can take a photo of the finished creation and save it to the camera roll. If parents wish, creations may be posted on the Toca Boca Facebook page. The developers have also built-in options to turn off sounds, pictures, and news. What a great springboard for creative writing – give a character a whole new look and write a story to go with it. Use this app to inspire creative writing on Wacky Hair Day!!
Over 4 million downloads and counting… Nighty Night was recently updated and is FREE again for a limited time. This interactive bedtime app (for kids 1 – 4) has it all – cute animals, sleepy lullaby music, great narration, and fabulous artwork. The artwork is beautifully done by Heidi Wittlinger, an Oscar nominated artist. The story is perfect for your child’s bedtime ritual. Kids help to put 7 sleepy animals to bed by clicking off the lights around the farm thus setting the mood for their own bedtime. 🙂 Six additional animals can be added to the story with in-app purchases. The story can be switched from the winter version to the summer version and it can be changed to 12 different languages – English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Chinese, Spanish, Swedish, and Turkish. This educational app is really lovely and it has been successful internationally. It won App of the Year 2011 in the “books category” in Germany & the U.S. It also reached #1 in iPad books in the US, Brazil, Spain, Denmark, Portugal, Germany, Sweden, South Africa, Australia Switzerland and Austria! Love this app!!
FREE for a limited time – Grandpa’s Workshop, an adorable educational app for preschoolers. Kids join dancing grandpa in his workshop. There they play 7 educational games such as Puzzle Fix-Up and Paint the Project. They also watch short videos of real tools in action. Kids will love helping grandpa build and they will be learning in the process. The games address the concepts of colors, numbers (1 -12), fractions (1/2, 1/4, 1/3), spatial relationships, measuring, observation skills, and vocabulary. I love this app because it seamlessly integrates important educational content into fun games. And, little ones will learn how things work. I especially like the when Grandpa asks for a high-five – so cute!
Only $.99 for a limited time – Dr. Panda Mailman, another great app for preschoolers from Dr. Panda Ltd. Kids become mail carriers and deliver mail in a fun-filled interactive world. There are four areas for kids to explore – the mountains, a village, a forests, and fields. First they create their own postcards or wrap their own packages. Then it’s time to deliver their creations. The recipients are different animals, each with his or her own unique personality. As they ride down the road delivering the mail, kids are free go off the beaten path and explore.This app is great for developing vocabulary and creating stories. It’s a big fun world with no rules, points, timers, etc. – just open-ended exploration.
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 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:
FREE 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!
FREE 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.
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!!
Seven apps from popular PBS KIDS series are on sale for only $.99!!
Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: Play at Home with Daniel
Daniel Tiger’s Day and Night
Daniel Tiger’s Grr-ific Feelings
Super Why ABC Adventures: Alphabet for iPad
Wild Kratts World Adventure
Wild Kratts Creature Math
Dinosaur Train A to Z
FREE for a limited time – Spelling Star, an educational app for practicing spelling lists. The app is simple to use – just type in and record the words. You may also include sentences to clarify the words’ meanings. Kids must spell each word correctly three times to become a Spelling Star. Words are presented in random order. As kids practice, they can get a hint – a quick look at the word spelled correctly. When they spell a word without a hint, they earn a star. Spelling Star provides feedback after each word is spelled with the option to “try again” when an error is made. This educational app is great for home and/or school. Parents can use it to input spelling lists for multiple kids. Kids may enjoy inputting their own lists at the beginning of the week which would be GREAT practice! Teachers can create lists on one device and share those lists with anyone who has the Spelling Star app. Simple to use, effective, and tracks progress – what more do you need? 🙂