It goes without saying in our house that Apple products, particularly the iPhone, has become an integral part of how we function. Our iPhones carry our contacts, our schedules, our music, and our pictures, among other important pieces of information. Needless to say, it was not long before our boys, who are currently 2 and 7 years of age, also became fascinated with our iPhones. Both of our boys know that our iPhones hold those irreplaceable episodes of Scooby Doo and other carefully selected videos for times when they are bored but have to wait quietly. Our older son also has discovered that our iPhones can provide him access to a variety of different games that can provide a diversion from his usual activities.
Luckily for us, there are a variety of different game apps that allow for fun as well as an educationally stimulating experience. Some of these apps incorporate characters with whom children are already familiar. For example, “Toy Story 3 Memory Match” by Griffin Technology (2010) is a great app that will get children using their memory. It provides an electronic spin on the traditional memory games by having children find matching pairs of Toy Story pictures in either a timed or untimed mode. If you would rather provide your child with access to interactive literacy opportunities, “Super Why!” by PBS Kids (2010) may be a good game choice. This game incorporates the Super Why character (from the PBS show) and his friends into four interactive literacy games that include identifying letter sounds, tracing letters and writing words, using rhyming words, and filling in sentence blanks to further children’s literacy skills.
Other apps provide access to more traditional learning exercises. For example, “Kid Apps: 13 in 1” from Pilot Fish Media (2010) provides children with an opportunity to practice fundamental reading, writing, and math skills through thirteen different games that were reportedly developed with the assistance of parents. The included games range from more rote tasks, like identifying sight words and solving math problems, to more applied tasks, like learning about the animals and objects that you are likely to see outside the house, on a farm, and at school. There are also apps that utilize more specific academic tasks. For example, the “Spelling Bee App” (No Date) from June Infrastructure provides definitions for different words and then you must select the appropriate spelling from a variety of options. Some of the words are difficult but interesting, making for a real learning experience. Finally, if your child is in the midst of learning their state names and their capitals, “Stack the States” from Dan Russell-Pinson (2010) may be a useful tool. Although the object is for children to learn state locations and shapes as well as each state’s capital, this game includes an added twist. As children complete this information, they also are able to actually stack the states by touching and moving them on the screen in an effort to stack them up to a predetermined line to win each level. There are three bonus games that can be unlocked as children make progress.
Certainly, there are many more apps available covering a variety of topic areas and including both fun as well as educational games. Just find what you and your children might like, and have some fun!
Dan Russell-Pinson. (2010). Stack the States. Retrieved from http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/stack-the-states/id381342267?mt=8.
Griffin Technology. (2010). Toy Story 3 Memory Match. Retrieved from http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/toy-story-3-memory-match/id395987516?mt=8.
June Infrastructure Pvt Ltd. (No Date). Spelling Bee App. Retrieved from http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/spelling-bee-app/id374927196?mt=8.
Pilot Fish Media. (2010). Kids Apps: 13 in 1. Retrieved from http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/kid-apps-13-in-1/id386807019?mt=8.
Public Broadcasting System (PBS) Kids. (2010). Super Why! Retrieved from http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/super-why/id357422351?mt=8.