Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Tech Tips Tuesday

iPad for Preschoolers #2 Alphabet apps

I was a little nervous about putting my iPad into the sticky hands of a two year old, particularly one who seems to hack into things with natural ability! I bought a Fisher Price cover which has proven goop resistant so far and the hard plastic case seems to have done the trick in protection from everyday kid use. While not cheap, it has made me a lot more relaxed and so has been worth the investment. There are far too many things for mothers to stress over when living with a two year old!

I also adjusted the restrictions settings to prevent in app purchases and to request a password every time for new purchases. I have put all my apps (email etc) into folders for Mummy on the last page of apps. There is enough of interest to my little one that he doesn't bother with mine.

So today I thought I would share some of the Alphabet apps that are available and which I have found useful and worthwhile. It is worth noting here, however, that my little one has been more interested in numbers than the alphabet so far, so I am yet to see how his enthusiasm for these will develop.

Elmo Loves ABCs
This app is very large with great content for each letter of the alphabet and thus takes up quite a bit of space on the iPad. Activities are provided to support children with letter id, letter sounds and letter tracing. Children are rewarded with more content. My little guy loves the videos with the ABC songs that are included in this app. Parents can also track their child's progress.

Bugsy Pre-K
This app covers numbers, colours, shapes and the alphabet. The nice thing with this one is that it includes both the text and the audio for the questions, so my little one has some clues to help him answer the questions! He loves the Bugsy games and I am able to see his progress in this and other Peapod lab apps with an account. If you are interested further, you could check out the other ABC apps Peapod lab produces as they are similar to topic dictionaries and may enhance vocabulary and letter id.

Alien Buddies
This is another general preschool app that builds learning around colours, shapes, letters and numbers. The cute alien characters add to the appeal of this app, and the matching game is attractive to littlies. I got it for free when it came on sale recently, and my little guy was enjoying it today. There is an info page for parents, but no customizable features or progress reports.

This app includes an interactive activity for each letter of the alphabet. My little guy enjoys this app, and has his favourite activities. It is a good introduction to the alphabet and sure beats the alphabet frieze or basic ABC book of yesteryear!

Goodnight ABC
This is one of my little guy's favourites. He frequently comes back to it and enjoys the music on the panda page in particular. It is VERY interactive and each page has loads of learning opportunities for children. To extend further, they can change to vocabulary mode and the label for each picture comes up so that they can hear and see the name of the item. My only gripe with this app is that, unlike Animalia, the pages include items beginning with different letters of the alphabet.

This beautiful book is the work of Graeme Base, made interactive for iPad. Each page contains objects beginning with the relevant letter of the alphabet. Children search each page for the hidden items and can discuss the many other items starting with that letter/sound. My little one hasn't explored this yet, but I feel it will be more relevant to him as he gains a greater understanding of the alphabet - particularly for extending his vocabulary. I have only purchased the iPhone version so far and upsized it to fit the iPad, as I am waiting for the iPad HD version to come on sale.

rEd Writing
We only purchased this app in the last week, but so far it has been a big hit with my little one. We have the iPhone version, upsized on the iPad, but he has mainly played it on my phone. This is an Australian app, complete with accent and appropriate fonts for Australian schools. Children are rewarded stickers for tracing letters and numbers correctly. The monsters make it very cute! I was amazed by how interested my little guy was in this one given his usual disinterest in the alphabet.

Little Writer
This is another cute app for writing letters, numbers, shapes and words. I'm not sure of the font for this words, but if that's not a concern for you, than it's definitely worth looking into (and free at time of writing). I like the way that it shows the order of the pencil strokes and that it includes some words. I haven't looked into it much yet, but there are customizable options as well. My gripe: it is not very forgiving when you go off the pathway - which is good when you are trying to promote neat letter formation, but not great for very little ones just starting out.

Other posts that might interest you:
Tech Tips Tuesday - iPad for Preschoolers #1 Mathematics Concepts

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