Sunday, September 14, 2014

Kids Academy Leaning Apps for Preschoolers and Toddlers

I'd like to thank Kid's Academy for sponsoring this post.

As I posted a few weeks ago, we know it's impossible for kids to avoid technology these days. I've made a point of finding educational apps that help to facilitate learning in a fun, engaging manner for my daughter. Not only that, I prefer Apps that work on eye-hand coordination, visual perceptual skills, and school preparatory type activities, such as learning shapes, letters and numbers.  As I've said before, when I hear about a great new App, I jump at the chance to check it out. When I heard Kid's Academy reeently updated their apps and added some new ones, I definitely wanted to check them all out!

As a mom, there's days I need a few minutes of quiet just to ensure that I can get dressed without my daughter unrolling the entire roll of TP in the bathroom, getting into half of the various tubes or containers of things on the bathroom counters (and now she's figured how to access the medicine cabinet), or just go to the bathroom privately. HA.

As a pediatric Occupational Therapist, I am completely aware of the benefits of utilizing technology as positive reinforcement or incentive to participate in an activity that might be a bit challenging or unpreferred by a child. Especially when it comes to learning letters and numbers, or when we're practicing writing skills. I know I've had many kiddos (patients), that really HATE writing. It's their least favorite activity to work on. Unfortunately, that's one of the major concerns of many parents that bring their children to OT: "Can we work on their handwriting, so their name is legible and they can succeed in school?"

The Apps I reviewed were the Preschool & Kindergarten apps for 1-2-3 Tracing, Learn to Read, and Kid's Puzzles. The Kid's Academy Preschool & Kindergarten Apps have a parental lockout written without verbal instruction, in order to prevent your little from buying any upgrades without your permission! Again, this is another app that has the potential to become extremely expensive, as each "workbook" is $2.99, and the "full workbook" for each App is $9.99.

One neat thing is that if you have multiple kiddos that might play the apps, you are able to enter their "Parent Zone" and create different profiles for each child using the game. This is especially beneficial for therapists like myself that might let patients use the apps for reinforcement during therapy. You're able to view their progress, so it can show you where they're sitting for each of the workbooks in the App. I love that Kid's Academy is interactive, has a pleasant (read: not creepy) voice, and cheery background nature sounds with music. You're able to select male or female voice overs, take away nature sounds for those kiddos that might have sensory issues with those kinds of noises, and are able to turn off the background music, as well.

I'm going to give a little run down on each of the Apps I got to try out. 

The Kid's Academy Preschool & Kindergarten Learning 1-2-3 Tracing is adorable, with little lightning bugs that make a teeny purr-type sound when you "collect" each one as you trace your finger across the number. The App tells you "This is the number "1", trace the number "2" and collect fireflies". I love that it tells the child the number, which is especially helpful for the little preschoolers that are still learning number recognition. However, please note, tracing the number is a little difficult to do for a 3-year old on an iPhone due to the size, so I highly recommend a larger tablet for this app, for mamas of younger preschoolers.

Preschool & Kindergarten Kid's Puzzles program is designed with pre-reading and pre-writing skills in mind. The in App workbooks consist of an alphabet workbook that provides a pronunciation of a word, with a cute little picture included. I do wish there were more versions and options for the pronunciations, so this could be something that they might want to consider in later upgrades to this App. They have letter and shape tracing. The shapes are ideal for the younger preschoolers, as it's important to be able to make simple shapes prior to letters and numbers, but the app also identifies them for that younger set that might not be able to identify them independently 100% of the time. There are also a few math workbooks that focus on counting by 5's and 10's, which are great skills for the K-1 grade-set.

Preschool & Kindergarten Kid's Learn to Read program is designed with pre-reading skills in mind. There is an "Easy Maze" workbook that works on moving from left to right, with a really cute little dog that follows the bone. But be careful! He will run into a wall if you're not cautious and take your time! The Uppercase and Lowercase letter tracing and forming is duplicated in this App. There are short and long vowel workbooks to work on various vowel sounds. There are also a beginning writing word workbook, which allows your little to learn to form Uppercase letters, sound out the words, and work on "sight word" recognition.

Overall, the Kid's Academy Preschool and Kindergarten Apps are cute, fun to use, engaging and provide your child with hours of educational fun. I recommend them to parents that prefer learning apps over mindless apps any day of the week.

Disclosure: Financial compensation was received for this posting; however, Ramblings of Mama will always provide honest opinions, beliefs or experiences on products reviewed. We will only recommend products or services that we feel are of benefit to our readers. This disclosure is done in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission 10 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising. Links enclosed contain affiliate links. If you have any questions, please contact Michelle RamblingsOfMama{at} gmail {dot} com

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