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Appy Monday! Educational Apps For Children

In our house, the iPad is used for many purposes, but only recently have we started to explore its potential as an educational tool and think about how we can use it to help teach our children to read and about the world around them. Here are a couple of the best educational apps we have found -one for reading and one for counting - and we'll report back on some more soon. We'd love to know which apps you've found helpful too - for children of all ages.

Pocket Phonics was recommended to me as a good app for young children who are already starting to sound out letters and show an interest in reading. It is a very simple app which asks children to trace letters that are sounded out using the phonics sounds they are taught in nursery/school. Once they have done this they then put the letters together to make very simple words which once done correctly are animated.

Once they have completed a group of letter sounds they can progress to the next one and this app is probably suitable for children up to fully confident readers as there are some quite complex sound groups such igh words and ph words that I would have thought older children would still need to practise and learn about.

My daughter is 3.5 and so perhaps a little young for this yet but she was interested in practising the writing and sounds but got bored quite quickly. The app is very forgiving of toddler hands and when the tracing of the letter only loosely resembled the letter itself, she still got a cheer!

What We Loved: This is very intuitive and easy to learn to use. There is a lot of positive reinforcement for children and it can easily be picked up and put down at any time so there is no pressure to complete any groups in one sitting. I think it is a great well thought out tool for teaching reading.

What We Didn't: The word sound sections are very long and so the concentration of smaller children lapses before they progress to the next section making this probably better for older (4+) children.

Vital Stats: Costs £1.99 and suitable for iPhone and iPad.

iTouchiLearn Numbers for Preschool Kids was also recommended to me and has the bonus of being free (although there is an upgraded versions you can pay for, but we haven't tried that as we haven't needed to yet).

There are three sections: Numbers, Games and Music.
Numbers gets children to learn about 1-5 by playing very simple counting games
Games has slightly more complex games that ask children to use the numbers in very simple additions and subtractions.
Music plays songs that use numbers in them. This is the weakest section.

This was a good starter app to learn about numbers for a very young child and has something to interest older children who are learning addition and subtraction too.

What We Loved: A good, free app that encourages children to think about numbers in a fun way

What We Didn't: The music section is weak

Vital Stats: Free! Available for iPad and iPhone

We'd really love to hear your recommendations of educational apps so do share below or on Facebook or by tweeting us @northlondonmums.

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