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iPad Apps Picks & Pans

I’m creating a new version of Montessori At Home! for the iPad. To preview it I finally got an iPad, and am so glad I did – it’s awesome. Naturally, I loaded a bunch of preschool apps – for review purposes.  Okay, I’m a big kid and can’t let them have all the fun, alright? My wife gets a kick seeing me ‘work’ while a cheery voice calls out ‘Awesome‘, ‘Good Job‘, ‘Sweet‘, ‘Fantastic! Instant positive feedback never gets old. 

I’m sharing a few apps I love and a couple that need work. These are only opinions; your taste may vary. I’m also a tightwad. I love free apps; but still find $.99 a bargain. Above that it better be something special. Oh, and if you don’t have an iPad – what are you waiting for? No, I can’t loan you the money.


Mini Adventures Music. From Alligator AppsUnbelievable. Amazing. FREE. Alphabetically arranged, gorgeous home page. You Tube videos of about 140 musical instruments and styles of music. Make a game out of searching for more videos and add your favorites to the beautiful panel. Very customizable. WARNING: this is a very eclectic collection of many instruments and styles of music. Check out entries like ‘punk‘, ‘pop‘, ‘country‘, and others to see if you’re ok with them. If not, go to settings, delete them, and add your own. Total parental control!


I Like Books – 37 Picture Books for Kids in 1 App, Grasshopper apps. Another incredible app from the same outfit, this one is only $.99. I can’t think of a better bargain! 37 beautiful books you can read to your child, let your child read independently, or put on autoplay and listen. Nice reading voices on autoplay. You and your child can record yourselves reading and play it back! You can change the stories and add your own words, record them, and listen as you or your child read your own book! Great photos and language, highlighted words option, I could go on, just get it.


Memory King – The memory Cards Matching Game. Another FREE app from Alligator apps that I would pay for my child to use (but don’t tell them that!). Totally customizable memory games with all kinds of images. You can do your own recordings. Endless fun and great visual & memory exercise. Highly recommended.



You Tube comes loaded on every iPad and why not? Probably the best free source of an endless supply of audiovisual learning experiences on the planet. Practically a free education. You have to closely monitor what your child watches, but you need to get in that habit anyway, you’ll be doing it for years. Children have all kinds of interests. There is a world of new things for them to see. They are all on You Tube. Use the search window. Save your child’s favorites.


When your child is ready for engaging videos about the real world, here they are. Beautiful, informative, fabulous video experiences of all kinds. Searchable, customizable, awesome, free.





Rantek makes some really good apps. From left to right are: Montessori Opposites, Montessori Vocabulary, and Montessori Rhyming. I’m not sure exactly what makes these ‘Montessori’, maybe that’s so they can charge $1.99 – $2.99. Everyone knows Montessori is always expensive, right? WRONG! These three are worth it, though. Great drawings and photos, simple interface, nice voices, and a whole lot of language experiences here. Highly recommended.



 I like staying positive, so I’ll just give a couple here.

I really wanted to love this app. How could something from a company named Montessorium that costs $4.99 not be fabulous? I did like a lot about it. Clean look, isolates the experience, very Montessori. Phonetic sounds, blends, options. Too bad the flaws make this a no-go. First for me: the consonants do not all include an ‘uh’ sound. It’s ‘b’, not ‘buh’. Very basic, no excuses for this. Next, tactile letters must include visual, auditory, and – wait for it – tactile! Can’t get that from a pad yet, probably won’t be much longer till they can, though. Lastly, IMO for $4.99 this app should continue into simple phonetic word building and phonetic reading with gorgeous photos and interactive features. Okay, Sandpaper Letters cost much more – but they also work. I’d still prefer doing Phonics hands-on, real world style. If Alligator apps can pack what they do into free and $.99 apps, what’s up with Montessorium?




Montessori: Planets of the Solar System. Rantek has some good apps. IMO, this one doesn’t cut it. The information and planet card matching are nice, but the planet sizes and especially planet orbit features need improvement. Still, you may find the good outweighs the bad.



More to come. Meanwhile, tell me about your favorite apps and those you’ve deleted. I’m itching to download!




  • viv

    thanks a lot for the reviews . i got them all . you are right , the ipad is amazing . I have it for my specialneed daughter but my three years old is learning so much from it . I homeschool following montessori approach and prniting cutting laminating card would cost a lot more . i love the pre language applications .

    • John

      Thanks for that, Viv. Neat that both your children are getting whet they need – such a versatile device. Good point about the iPad as an alternative to making many materials yourself. I think the apps will only get better and better. Many schools now are issuing kids iPads or iPods starting in Kindergarten and continuing on. Best wishes to you with your homeschooling!

  • My Boys' Teacher

    How did I not know about this blog until today?

    I added you to the “Ultimate Montessori Blog List” over at my blog (under “General Montessori).

    The iPad has been a great time and space saver for me Montessori-wise…I posted about it recently:


    And YES, I loaded my copy of “Montessori at Home” onto it the first day I owned it. It is iBooks…no special iPad version required :)

    • John

      Many thanks for including me on your blogroll! I’ll check out your blog & the post. Maybe we could do a giveaway for your readers, let me know if you’d like to. I too am happy with how the pdf version looks on the iPad. The iBooks Author app version I’m doing will allow the book to go up for sale in the iTunes store, the one venue the eBook has not appeared on yet. It has a textbook look & feel & takes advantage of some of the embedding capabilities of the app. It’s been fun. Always something new to do!

  • My Boys' Teacher

    Thanks for stopping by the blog! That was a fun surprise this morning!

    Would love to do a giveaway…shoot me an e-mail and let me know how you like to do them.

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