educational apps for kids

Photo by Tinkrbrad

Some months ago I wrote a post featuring 9 handpicked apps for bilingual children; it has since become one of our most popular and shared posts.  Since then, more and more great educational apps for children have been created and we realized we needed to share our finds more consistently.  So, we’re starting a new monthly series where we’ll showcase a few of those educational apps we feel you will enjoy.  This time they are all iTunes based, but we plan on including Android apps as soon as we get our hands on some. (Update:  Android Apps for Bilingual Children post by contributor Susan Stephan.)  Problem is both Roxana and I only have iPhones, so we’ll need to figure out how to review the Android apps.

I also recently was presented with the results of a study commissioned by the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop and PBS KIDS Raising Readers, through an initiative funded by a Ready to Learn grant and the United States Department of Education that investigated young children’s usage and learning with mobile devices and apps.

The study concludes that some of the implications for the use of mobile media in education are:

1.  Optimize children’s time with mobile devices.

2.  Use mobile devices as supplemental tools.

3.  Surround children with high-quality educational resources. There’s definitely a “mobile media revolution” spreading around the globe, and our children are directly impacted by it.  I always prefer to embrace technology and understand it so I know how it affects my daughter and how we can use it effectively.  That’s the reason why I choose educational apps that she enjoys and that can help advance her learning.

3 Educational Apps We Recommend

Super Why app

1.  PBS Kids has been leading the way with a series of educational apps for the iPhone, iTouch and iPad based on some of their most popular shows. At 3, my girl is still a bit behind when it comes to letter-recognition and alphabet skills and I’ve found that watching Super Why! on PBS Kids, and playing with the app on my phone, has helped her advance in that area.  Since there’s nothing like Super Why! available in Spanish media–where kids can learn the super powers of words, reading and letters–we actually encourage her to watch this in English. With the Super Why! app, kids will play with their superheroes Alpha Pig, Princess Presto, and Wonder Red and “come to the rescue in four unique games using special powers such as alphabet skills, rhyming, spelling, comprehension and vocabulary.”

Download the SUPER WHY! app on the iTunes Store. Dinousaur Train app2.  Dinosaur Train is another popular PBS Kids series that promotes science and math skills for pre-schoolers through the adventures of a lovely family of dinosaurs.  The new app, DINOSAUR TRAIN Eggspress! complements the show’s educational objectives, while guiding children through three prehistoric eras and various exciting games including a Dinosaur egg hunt. Camila has seen the show a handful of times, but was really interested in the app because this week she’s learning about dinosaurs at pre-school and she’s been going around the house singing “Dinosaurs are really, really big.”  The apps skill level is just right for her age, recommended for 2-5 year olds.

The app is available from the App Store on iPhone and iPod Touch for just $2.99.

Handy Manny Workshop App

Recently released where Disney Channel’s first ever apps for preschoolers “Handy Manny’s Workshop” and “Flicker’s Flashcard Fiesta.” 3.  We actually downloaded  Handy Manny’s Workshop app on Papá’s iPad and the experience feels very dynamic.  The delightful animations, professional narration from the cast of the hit television series, cool sound effects, and all the “Handy Manny” characters will captivate preschoolers.  The app is made up of 5 different zones where your child can choose to play with puzzles, coloring pages, a memory matching game, a search activity and a sing-a-long video. The Handy Manny Workshop app is available for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch for $2.99 from the App Store.

Handy Manny Flicker's Flashcard Fiesta

4.  Handy Manny Flicker’s Flashcard Fiesta app promotes language acquisition in Spanish and English for preschoolers, a personal fave of mine!  When you launch the app you will have the option to touch either the “Learn Spanish” or the “Learn English” button and then be taken to an immersion-experience with two interactive activities to choose from:  Word Bench Game and Flashcard Fiesta, with six categories of colorful flashcards to choose from.  This app is ideal for the bilingual child that is learning that every object has two names and to immerse them in both languages with one very fun game.

Handy Manny Flicker’s Flashcard Fiesta app is available for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch for $2.99 at the App Store.

If you would like to check out these apps yourself, leave us a comment telling us which one you want to try out first and why.  We’ll give away four of the Disney Channel apps and two of the PBS Kids  apps to randomly selected winners.

Disclosure:  We received codes to download the apps for free in order to write the review.  All opinions are my own.

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