By Tracey Dowdy
Although we know kids learn more in those first three years of life than they will ever again, it’s in those next years – ages 3-5 – that they develop the skills that form an educational foundation for the future.
In some ways, social skills are more important at this age. Kids need to learn to wait their turn, follow simple instructions from their teacher and learn that other people’s feelings and needs are important too. However, along with those social skills, preschoolers need to grasp foundational math and reading skills which will set the stage for future academic success.
These five simple apps offer more than just fun. They’re challenging, educational, and will help your pre-schooler get the year off to a good start.
Intro to Math, by Montessorium
Intro to Math offers kids a comprehensive look at fundamental math concepts like comparison, sequencing, units and wholes, even and odd, and symbols. Kids learn to read, write and understand numbers from 0-9, learn problem-solving and develop fine-motor skills.
Platform: iOS, Android
Starfall ABCs is the app-based version of the popular Starfall website. Kids see, hear and interact with words to learn upper and lower case letters, phonics, and develop vocabulary skills. The app focuses on positive reinforcement by offering games that hold the child’s interest while boosting their confidence to try more challenging activities.
Platform: iOS, Android, Amazon
Thinkrolls challenges kids to move different shapes through over 200 mazes, all while teaching observation skills, logic and reasoning, problem solving, spatial cognition and memory. There’s no winning or losing, passing or failing. Kids learn by trial and error what works to get their character through the maze.
Platform: iOS, Android
Avokiddo Emotions uses silliness and an open-style of play to teach children to recognize emotions. Kids play with animals like a zany zebra, shimmying sheep, jolly giraffe and a modest moose by dressing them up using props and watching them react to a honking horn or dance at a fiesta. While it may seem like fun and games, kids not only explore their creativity, they learn cause and effect, practice following directions and learn empathy as they see the consequences of their choices.
Feeding Time with Fred & Olive
Feeding Time has children follow Fred and Olive around Uncle John’s farm as they feed the animals. More than simply teaching kids basic farm animals and sounds, they learn what foods each animal eats and more importantly, they learn responsibility as they see the animals depend on the farmer for their food. It’s a simple game, but pre-schoolers will love the illustrations, narration, and the satisfaction of seeing the animals fall asleep once they’ve been fed.
Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Toronto, ON. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances and researches on subjects from family and education to pop culture and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.