First let me say I’m not a fan of computer games, programs, or videos for young children. Honestly, I just think a good book is the best way to start a young child. I checked out a few handheld devices as possible Christmas gifts this past year; I was appalled. After watching a fairy apply lipstick – the item went quickly back on the shelf. Not really the sort of image I want instilled in my young daughter’s mind. Trust me she needs no encouragement with makeup.
However, I have been searching for apps to use on our phone – something that I find educational, and the children will enjoy. Over the last few months I’ve looked for science apps, geography apps, french apps, and honestly I’ve not been impressed with what I’ve seen.
But I have been very impressed with a little game called Teach Me: Kindergarten.
Teach Me: Kindergarten (also comes in preschool, 1st grade, and other levels) covers basic sight words, spelling (beginning sounds), addition, and subtraction. The program provides hints and helps them if they have trouble.
I really like the way it introduced my children to subtraction. Before playing this program we had never done any subtraction with the children. As each of the my children first started this app I explained subtraction in a very basic way. No further help was needed because the game provides help along the way. For subtraction the game provides a waste basket where the child can throw away the subtrahend and then count up the difference. If a child forgets to count the difference, the game reminds them to do so.
The spelling questions test a child’s ability to recognize beginning letter sounds and select the correct letter. And the Dolce Sight words simply asks the child to choose the correct word.
I was most impressed with the overall design of the program. Up to 4 children can play; each with a separate account. In addition, the program tracks each child’s progress and as they progress they receive a “star” and move up to the next level. You can see on the picture below that Jasper is on Level 3 in addition, Level 2 in subtraction, Level 2 in spelling, and Level 1 in sight words. And I love to hear the encouragement it gives the child. Jasper’s face lit up the first week every time he heard it say “Good Work” or “Nice job, keep it up.”
To keep things fun, the children earn one coin for every three correct answers. And then they can take those coins and buy stickers to put on a virtual screen, or even to buy fish and other supplies for a virtual fishtank. My kiddos had no trouble saving up 10 coins to buy the fancy fish. And feeding the fish is always fun.
After about 2 months of use, and at a low cost of just 99 cents on my iphone, I can say this app is the best I’ve seen yet. I would readily recommend to other parents.
I’d be interested if any of you had any app recommendations?