Spelling Star

spelling star

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? 🙂

Download link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/spelling-star/id557070660?mt=8&uo=4


Marco Polo Ocean

marco polo

FREE for a limited time – Marco Polo Ocean, an adorable educational app for preschoolers. Kids will learn about Earth’s oceans in two ways – through build & explore activities or free play. There are five build & explore (puzzle) activities – build a coral reef, build marine animals, build fish, build a boat, and build a submersible. As kids add parts to each puzzle, they learn the appropriate vocabulary. Many vocabulary words are also explained. During free play, kids can do several things: 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 puts the fun back in learning. 🙂

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



Musical Paint

Musical Paint

FREE for a limited time – Musical Paint a creative, multi-sensory app for the iPhone/iPad. Kids are welcomed into an art museum by a friendly blue walrus with a French accent. There is also an ensemble of lively musicians (underwater animals) at the museum. Kids are invited to paint a picture on a canvas. Each color is a musical tone so when kids paint, they are painting music! If the child chooses to save his/her painting, it is hung in the museum – a very cute feature. They even get to sign their work. Kids can also share their paintings via email. What fun it would be for kids to send Grandma a picture of their masterpiece that is in a museum!! The app also has a lesson plan section for teachers & parents. Nicely done app for younger kids!!

Musical Paint - Building Blocks Media LLC


Summertime Apps

Those lazy, crazy days of summer have arrived. Here are some summer-themed apps for kids to enjoy.

sand drawing

Sand Drawing by Timbuktu is currently $2.99 but it was FREE when I downloaded it. Kids can relax on the virtual beach by drawing in the sand. The app comes with 3 drawing tools and 12 decorations that kids can choose to use. Decorations can easily be mixed, rotated, and resized. Waves clear the beach so to make way for new creations. Simple to use and fun!

I wish the app had a save feature built-in – perhaps that will be an option in an updated version. The good news is that you can save your child’s sand drawing by taking a screen shot of your iPad. Here’s how: 1. Have your child’s creation open. 2. Find your Sleep/Wake button (top right of the iPad). 3. Find your home button (centered on the bottom your iPad’s screen). 4. Hold down both buttons together – it only takes a second. 5. Release them and you should hear a camera shutter sound and see a white screen. 6. Check your Camera Roll – the image should be there!

Now the fun begins… use your creations to as illustrations in story apps, as backgrounds for photo albums of your vacation, as postcards to grandma & grandpa, etc. Get creative!!

Sand Drawing - by Timbuktu - Timbuktu Labs, Inc.

Ice Cream Truck Game

Ice Cream Truck Game is another cute, educational app for only $2.99 –  Kids utilize their math skills while operating an ice cream truck in this game. They begin by purchasing the right amount of ingredients (cones, ice cream, and toppings) for each day. All ingredients are sold in metric measurement – liters or grams. Then, kids choose a cone size  and set a price for the treats. Sales are affected by price and by the popularity of the treats. At the end of each day, the child sees a graph of liquid assets and a graph of customer satisfaction. They can assess what works or what does not work and make the necessary adjustments for the next day. Kids have 10 days in each city. The goal is to make enough money to move to the next city (level). The levels get progressively more difficult. Lots of math skills are woven into this game – money, measurement, estimating, reading a graph, etc. I could see third, fourth, & fifth graders having fun with this one!

Ice Cream Truck Game - Hooda MathI Like Summer

Preschool Books – I Like Summer from Grasshopper Apps is FREE! Written for preschoolers, this book is 1 of 20 books in the “I Like” series. Kids will enjoy listening to the story that highlights the joys of summer. They will also love looking at story’s photos. The best part of this educational app is that it can be customized. You can record the existing story in your child’s voice (or your voice). Or… you can completely change the text and record the new story in your child’s voice/your voice. How fun  – have your child make up a story to go with the pictures!

Preschool Books - I Like Summer - GrasshopperApps.com

Stella adn Sam Storypack

4 out of 5 of these stories are about summer!

Now only $3.99 – Stella and Sam Story Pack, a wonderful educational app that was selling for $6.99. The story pack contains 5 Stella and Sam apps (Into the Snow We Go, Rainy Days and Rainbows, Backyard at Twilight, Go There Square, and Cocoons & Caterpillars). They are also sold individually for $1.99 each. Stella and Sam apps are based on the television show and book series by Marie-Louise Gay. The Stella and Sam books have been translated into 15 languages and have sold over a million copies. All Stella and Sam apps are also supported in French.

I love how all of the stories focus on getting kids outside to enjoy the beauty of nature. They are beautifully animated, creatively presented, and such fun for preschoolers!

Into the Snow We Go: In this adventure, kids join Stella and Sam to make pictures in the snow, decorate a snowman, and discover what’s hidden under the snow.

Rainy Days and Rainbows: Once again, kids join Stella, Sam and their dog Fred. They paint with Fred, dig through leaves looking for treasures, and have a pine cone race across Puddle Lake.

Backyard at Twilight: In this adventure, kids play along with Stella, Sam, and their dog Fred as they spend the night camping out in the backyard. They look for bugs, learn about shapes from fireflies, and discover the constellations.

Go There Square: Stella and Sam find magical places with the help of their go-there-square. Kids go along to pop musical bubbles, collect dandelions and build a bridge out of flowers.

Cocoons & Caterpillars: In this adventure, kids play along with Stella, Sam, and their dog Fred to discover the joys of nature – butterflies, birds, and clouds.

Download link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/stella-and-sam-story-pack/id441939700?mt=8&uo=4


Now $1.99 – Torii’s Summer Adventure, a cute interactive book written by an elementary school teacher. Torii is a lovable & curious golden retriever who loves exploring – especially when her family takes her to the lake! Kids will enjoy reading about her adventures. They will have fun discovering the interactivity & sound effects on every page. The book has “read to me” or “read by myself” options. It also has a choice of reading levels – a very cool feature. Kids can search for Torii’s bone throughout the story and the app keeps track along the way. The app also includes additional activity/coloring pages at the end of the story. Who wouldn’t love a dog in pink sunglasses? 🙂

Download link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/toriis-summer-adventure-interactive/id579935507?mt=8&uo=4


Toca Builders

Toca Builders

FREE for a limited time (and for the first time) – Toca Builders, another wonderfully creative app from Toca Boca. Kids (ages 5+) create things with the help of 6 builder friends: Blox, Cooper, Vex, Stretch, Connie, and Jum-Jum. Each builder has unique skills which kids can control with simple gestures. The builders help move, stack, drop, spray, smash, paint, & lift blocks as kids create/construct new objects.The educational app also has a snapshot feature and an autosave feature to share & save the world that your child has created. If your child can imagine it, he/she can build it with the help of the Toca Builders – creative fun for your budding engineer/builder!

Download link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/toca-builders/id652077009?mt=8&uo=4


Non-Scary, Educational Apps About Sharks

Discovery Channel’s Shark Week starts tomorrow. It’s a week of TV programs dedicated to sharks that began in 1988 and is now broadcast in over 70 countries.

Here are some educational apps about these creatures who capture the interest of so many people – young and old!

Shark Goes to the Doctor

FREE – SeaWorld: Ruckus Reader presents – Shark Goes to the Doctor, an engaging story that follows a sand tiger shark as it is checked by vets. Kids learn interesting facts about sharks’ lives.

Download link for SeaWorld: Ruckus Readerhttps://itunes.apple.com/us/app/seaworld-ruckus-reader/id515220048?mt=8&uo=4


shark track 1

shark track 2

FREE – Global Shark Tracker lets you follow the navigational pattern of sharks that have been tagged with satellite tracking technology.  The purpose of this tracking is for shark conservation and the collection of data on the health of sharks. Very cool!

Download link for Global Shark Tracker:https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/global-shark-tracker/id570772231?mt=8&uo=4


Currently, $3.99, Treasure Kai and the Lost Gold of Shark Island is an adventure story of a 10-year-old treasure hunter named Kai. Kai is always dreaming about treasure and looking for it in his parents’ store: The Treasure Shop. Kai’s dreams magically transport him to Shark Island where he finds a treasure chest. And so the adventure begins…. Kids help in the hunt for gold by choosing from 8 different treasure chests. Each chest reveals another clue – leading Kai through more adventures. Along the way, there are animations to discover, great sound effects, and an original score. This digital story is similar to the “choose your own adventure” books with an “Indiana Jones” feel to it. It is different every time it is read with thousands of ways to find the treasure. This app would be great for kids who are a bit older and becoming independent readers. Very cool 🙂

Visit the website for a preview http://treasurekai.com/. After reading the story, your child can go back to the website for a variety of extras: watch fun fact videos, go behind the scenes, play a video game, work some puzzles and more.

Treasure Kai and the Lost Gold of Shark Island - Interactive Book App for Kids - Treasure Bound Books


Currently $1.99 – 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 more than 30 animals and 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 1 – 5-year-old today. 🙂

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


Synonym Match, Antonym Match & Homophone Match

imageFREE for a limited time – Synonym Match, Antonym Match and Homophone Match. These three educational apps each feature a classic card matching game that helps kids with vocabulary development. Each matching game can be played by one to four people. Players can choose to match twelve, sixteen, twenty, or twenty-four cards. There are three levels of difficulty – easy, medium and difficult. When a match is made, fireworks appear. These apps would be great in a shared iPad classroom setting because they support multiple players and multiple student levels. Check them out while they are FREE!!

Direct Link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/synonym-match/id778611894?mt=8

Direct Link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/antonym-match/id786868905?mt=8

Direct Link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/homophone-match/id794723450?mt=8


7 Math Manipulatives for your Digital Toolkit

Seven FREE and fabulous math apps for your digital toolkit.
Geoboard by The Math Learning Center (a nonprofit organization dedicated to K – 12 education) is a FREE app that turns your iPhone/iPad into a virtual geoboard. Geoboards can be used as tools to teach mathematical concepts such as polygons, perimeter, area, line segments, angles, congruent shapes, symmetry, fractions, etc. Shapes are created by stretching bands on the geoboard’s pegs. There are 5 colors of bands in the iPhone version and 8 in the iPad version. There is also a tool to fill in shapes. On the iPad version, you can switch from the standard 25 peg board to a 150 peg board to create more complex shapes. This is a great app with the potential to be used in so many ways.

Geoboard, by The Math Learning Center - Clarity Innovations

FREE for the iPad, Virtual Manipulatives contains math manipulatives for teaching fractions, decimals, and percents. Included are tiles/circles divided into halves, thirds, fourth, fifths, sixths, eighths, tenths, and 12ths AND their corresponding decimals and percentages! The manipulatives are color coded across the settings so that 1/2 is blue as is .50 and 50%. Kids drag tile pieces onto the work area to compare fractions/decimals/percentages. In the settings you can change from tiles to circles, make the pieces transparent, and hide the numbers on the pieces. Completed work can be easily saved to photos. Finding equivalent fractions has never been so slick – WOW!!

Common Core Standards met:

  • 3.NF.3 – Explain equivalence of fractions in special cases, and compare fractions by reasoning about their size. Understand two fractions as equivalent (equal) if they are the same size, or the same point on a number line.
  • 4.NF.1 – Explain why a fraction a/b is equivalent to a fraction (n × a)/(n × b) by using visual fraction models, with attention to how the number and size of the parts differ even though the two fractions themselves are the same size. Use this principle to recognize and generate equivalent fractions.

Virtual Manipulatives! - ABCya.com

equivalent fractions

From the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics comes a FREE app called Equivalent Fractions. Kids create equivalent fractions by dividing and shading squares or circles. Circles can be divided into 24ths. Squares can be divided into 144ths. In the play mode, a fraction is shown and kids must create 2 additional fractions that are equivalent. All 3 fractions must have different denominators. The app also places the fractions on a number line – a great visual for comparing! There is also a “build your own” mode which would be fabulous to use for guided exploration & practice. Kids could also use this section as a virtual manipulative when working independently. This app is an excellent resource for the classroom !!

Common Core Standards met:

  • 3.NF.3 – Explain equivalence of fractions and compare fractions by reasoning about their size. Understand two fractions as equivalent (equal) if they are the same size, or the same point on a number line. Recognize and generate simple equivalent fractions, e.g., 1/2 = 2/4, 4/6 = 2/3). Explain why the fractions are equivalent, e.g., by using a visual fraction model.

Equivalent Fractions - National Council of Teachers of Mathematics

counting board

Another FREE app is Counting Board HD, a colorful number grid that can be used to help kids learn basic number concepts. The app is advertised as being suitable for 2 to 4 year olds but it can also used with older students. I frequently used number grids with third graders. Number grids help kids see patterns and visualize math concepts. With younger children, the app can be used for counting to 100 – by ones, fives, tens. Younger kids can also learn basic addition and subtraction by using the app to count up or count back. With older kids, number grids can be used to teach: greater than and less than, how to find missing addends, place value concepts, skip counting, and more! The app can be used with the numbers showing or hidden and the pronunciation can be on or off. The app simple to use, visually appealing, and useful for so many math lessons. I love this app! It’s so much easier than dragging out the laminated number grids and counters. 🙂

Common Core Standards met:

  • K.CC.1. Count to 100 by ones and by tens.
  • K.CC.2. Count forward beginning from a given number within the known sequence (instead of having to begin at 1).
  • 1.NBT.5. Given a two-digit number, mentally find 10 more or 10 less than the number, without having to count; explain the reasoning used.
  • 1.NBT.6. Subtract multiples of 10 in the range 10-90 from multiples of 10 in the range 10-90 (positive or zero differences), using concrete models or drawings and strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction; relate the strategy to a written method and explain the reasoning used.
  • 3.OA. 9. Identify arithmetic patterns (including patterns in the addition table or multiplication table), and explain them using properties of operations.

Download link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/counting-board/id450751745?mt=8&uo=4

number lineNumber Line, by the Math Learning Center is a fantastic FREE app that will help kids visualize number patterns and understand number operations. The app is well-designed with several useful features. The number line can be set by ones, twos, fives, tens, twenty-fives, and hundreds. It can also be customized to show multiples of any whole number from 1 to 100. This feature is perfect for skip counting and/or for visualizing multiplication. The app permits kids to add and manipulate forward & backward jumps – a great feature for teaching addition & subtraction. This feature also helps kids visualize multiplication as repeated addition of the same number and division as repeated subtraction of the same number. Teachers are able to hide or reveal numbers on the number line. This feature can be used to challenge kids to apply what they know in order to figure out the missing number/numbers. Teachers can also use this feature to teach kids how to solve more difficult patterns that are missing several numbers; such as 4, __, __, 16.  Kids can use the drawing tools to show what they know. They can write equations and expressions with the text tool. They can screen shot their work and use it as an exit slip after a lesson. Add this one to your virtual toolkit today – “seeing math” helps kids understand it. 🙂

Download Link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/number-line-by-math-learning/id751816884?mt=8&uo=4


Free Protractor from Pongo Soft is another tool that you may want to add to your digital toolbox. The angle can be set in two ways: by touching the pointer or by entering the angle on a keypad. Once the angle has been set, it can be locked to avoid movement of the pointer when taking readings. Kids can also use this tool to see how many degrees are in a straight angle and a right angle or to discover the difference between an acute angle and an obtuse angle. They can easily see what combinations of angles are equal to a straight angle.  Since the app is free, there is some advertising across the top. Check out this FREE educational app for your geometry students.

Download link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/free-protractor/id555590467?mt=8&uo=4

number pieces

FREE educational app – Number Pieces from Math Learning Center. This educational app is the digital version of place value manipulatives, hands-on tools used to help students understand place value. Using the place value models within this app, kids can visualize the process of adding and subtracting ones, tens, and hundreds. The app has a function that permits kids to break apart pieces or join them together. This feature is fabulous for kids who need concrete examples. The app also includes expanding edge pieces which can be used to introduce arrays. Other features of the app include: three colors for identifying groups, drawing tools for labeling, a text tool for writing number sentences, zooming & scrolling for larger numbers. Thanks to the Math Learning Center, teachers & their students have another great app to add to their digital toolkits!

Common Core Standards:

  • 1.NBT.6. Subtract multiples of 10 in the range 10-90 from multiples of 10 in the range 10-90 (positive or zero differences), using concrete models or drawings and strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction; relate the strategy to a written method and explain the reasoning used.
  • 2.NBT.1 Understand that the three digits of a three-digit number represent amounts of hundreds, tens, and ones; e.g., 706 equals 7 hundreds, 0 tens, and 6 ones. Understand the following as special cases: a. 100 can be thought of as a bundle of ten tens — called a “hundred.” b. The numbers 100, 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, 700, 800, 900 refer to one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, or nine hundreds (and 0 tens and 0 ones).

Download link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/number-pieces-by-math-learning/id605433778?mt=8&uo=4


Slice Fractions

slice fractions

On sale for only $.99  – Slice Fractions was recently listed as one of Apple’s Best of 2014: Apps. Kids learn about fractions as they slice through ice and lava to clear a path for a cute mammoth. Along the way they collect silly hats for the mammoth to wear. As they solve the app’s 90+ physics puzzles, they are exposed to key concepts of fractions – partitioning, equivalent fraction, numerator/denominator notation, ordering, subtracting from a whole, etc. Kids will enjoy learning about fractions in this wordless environment that seems more like a game than math lessons. I love that the app encourages kids to be problem solvers. Its replay button permits them to try each puzzle again and again until they figure it out. Hints are only given when support is needed. The end result is that kids are learning through discovery!  It’s no wonder that this app has received so many accolades: Apple Editor’s Choice, Editor’s Choice for Excellence in Design: Children’s Technology Review, Winner of a Parents’ Choice Gold Award 2014, Gold Medal Winner 2014: International Serious Play Awards, and Best Family Friendly Game 2014: Indie Prize Showcase Awards.

Common Core State Standards met:

  • 2.G.2. Partition a rectangle into rows and columns of same-size squares and count to find the total number of them.
  • 2.G.3. Partition circles and rectangles into two, three, or four equal shares, describe the shares using the words halves, thirds, half of, a third of, etc., and describe the whole as two halves, three thirds, four fourths. Recognize that equal shares of identical wholes need not have the same shape.
  • 3.NF.1. Understand a fraction 1/b as the quantity formed by 1 part when a whole is partitioned into b equal parts; understand a fraction a/b as the quantity formed by a parts of size 1/b.
  • 3.NF.3 – Explain equivalence of fractions and compare fractions by reasoning about their size. Understand two fractions as equivalent (equal) if they are the same size. Recognize and generate simple equivalent fractions, e.g., 1/2 = 2/4, 4/6 = 2/3).
  • 4.NF.2. Compare two fractions with different numerators and different denominators, e.g., by creating common denominators or numerators, or by comparing to a benchmark fraction such as 1/2.
  • 4.NF.3b. Decompose a fraction into a sum of fractions with the same denominator in more than one way, recording each decomposition by an equation.

Download link: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/slice-fractions/id794730213?mt=8&uo=4


Teddy’s Night

Teddy's NightTeddy’s Night is on sale for $.99! Based on the bestselling book “What Does My Teddy Bear Do All Night?” by Bruno Hachler, this app won a 2011 Parent’s Choice Awards in the Mobile Apps Category. A little girl narrates a story about her teddy bear who doesn’t like to go to sleep at night – a cute story with lots of great interactivity! You won’t want to miss this one. 😊

Auryn HD - Teddy's Night - Auryn Inc.