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 Apps. Unbelievable. 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!