For my birthday my husband surprised me with the latest iPod Touch. I am embarrassed to admit that it took me 3 months to install anything on it beyond our music library. But eventually I got around to evaluating some fun apps for kids out there. It helped that my friend from work has a very technology-savvy son who is going to be 5 soon. She gave me some initial ideas, and I am still going to follow up on some of her recommendations. While grandparents were visiting, we went to more dinners out than we usually do, and iPod was very handy during those wait times. Anna was begging to “play with iPod” every day. What I like about those games is that they are very short and can be good for a short activity. So here are our three picks so far:
Teach Me: Kindergarten is genius because of its reward mechanism. Every 3 correct answers (the number can be configured) will earn a player a coin. The coin can be used to buy stickers for virtual scenes. It has 4 components – sight words, spelling, addition and subtraction. It has an annoying bug when sometimes the correct answer disappears from the screen when dragged incorrectly, and I am not letting Anna to play it for longer than “3 coins”, because she gets tired and cranky – math part is a stretch for her current abilities while spelling and sight words are a bit too easy.
iWriteWords is really ingeniously done, and I didn’t find annoying bugs so far. This is my favorite out of the three. Essentially it allows you to trace letters in the same way the writing is taught in schools, and it also allows you to make short words in iWords part. It’s very intuitive. The only complaint that I have is that I didn’t find any way to pick a character or go back to the beginning to the alphabet – it keeps going until it reaches the end and then starts at A again.
123 Color is sort of interesting and relaxing for me, but not so much for Anna. The premise is coloring by numbers or by letters, but the color picking palette is too small for chubby little fingers – she just doesn’t have precision in picking colors or in placing her picks on the coloring pad. She didn’t want to play with this one after the first couple times.
If you have iPhone or iPod Touch, have you installed any games or educational apps for your kids? If so, what are your favorite picks and what are your own picks?