Got a little one starting nursery or reception in September? Here’s a round-up of the best educational apps you can do with them over the summer holidays to make settling in that little bit less daunting.
Teach Your Monster To Read
Designed with the help of leading educational academics, this award-winning app claims to have taught over half a million children to read. It cleverly combines phonetics with simple games, encouraging children to identify different parts of words and earn rewards, with the help of a purple furry monster.
Barefoot World Atlas
Seeing new places is an enriching experience for kids but travelling with them? Not so much. This fantastic app allows your little one to learn about the world from the comfort of their sofa. Using their fingertips, kids “fly” around a 3D globe and learn amazing facts about different parts of the planet with the help of hand-painted, moving animations. And when they’re bored of all that globe-trotting, they can test their new-found knowledge with a series of interactive puzzles and games.
This app makes teaching kids their letters a fun, interactive experience. Using a combination of phonetics, colourful cartoon characters and a lively soundtrack, children create words by dragging letters across the screen. These are then given context in a sentence, illustrated with a funny animation that they’re bound to want to repeat again and again.
Cost: From £5.99
Disney Jigsaw Puzzles
Why resist? You might as well harness the power of Disney. A great one for long car journeys and less messy than a traditional jigsaw, this app lets children drag and drop jigsaw pieces to create scenes from their favourite movies. As well as featuring characters from the likes of Frozen, Zootopia and Inside Out, you can set the level of difficulty and add a timer element so kids of different ages can compete fairly against each other.
There are lots of writing apps out there but iTrace is good for pre-schoolers because of its simplicity. Using either their finger or a stylus, kids learn to trace letters by watching a demonstration, then following the step-by-step dot-to-dot. After they’ve mastered this, they move on to writing numbers and entire words, which are grouped by themes like farm and circus, and have simple animations to accompany them. A bonus is that you can personalise these words, adding in their name or a favourite TV character for them to practise writing.
Intro to Colours by Montessori
If your little one is struggling with their colours, you might find this Montessori app a fun distraction. Tasks include identifying coloured objects from a monochrome illustration, sorting colours into groups and reordering different colour gradients. There’s a paint section too so kids can let loose and create their own rainbow palette.
Got a budding Beethoven on your hands? Or perhaps they’re more of an Ed Sheeran. Either way, the Music Sparkles app is a great way to get your little ones into music. Kids can compose their own tunes and add backing tracks to 14 different musical instruments, including the drums, xylophone, bango and piano, using one, two or five fingers.
Aimed specifically at pre-schoolers, Hopster uses TV characters that children already know to help them learn. Featuring the likes of Paddington Bear, The Gruffalo and Ben & Holly, this app encourages kids to watch a show before playing a related game that helps them with their reading and writing. TV will become an interactive, learning experience, rather than a passive one.
Cost: £3.99 a month
If teaching your child the difference between 5.30am or 7.30am is something that’s becoming increasingly important, this might be just the app for you. Five colourful monsters have been “plucked from the deepest, darkest lagoon” to help kids with this task. Via a series of fun exercises, they’ll learn to tell the time on digital and analogue clocks – the latter with the help of some octopus tentacle hands!
The people behind Endless Reader have brought their special brand of learning to numeracy too. Kids are invited to pick a number from a giant, colourful carousel, after which they’ll learn the quantity it represents and a bit of basic addition via a series of silly animations.
Cost: From £6.99