Posts Tagged ‘apps’

App Time Session 8

March 7, 2015

monster appThis week in App Time, we looked at the book app There’s a Monster at the End of this Book!  It’s produced by Sesame Street and available for $4.99 on the App Store.  Based on the beloved book of the same name, Grover narrates the book, warning readers NOT to turn the pages because there’s a monster at the end of the book. The book’s interactivity comes into play as readers can “untie” the ropes and “break down” the brick wall that Grover builds, in hopes of preventing the reader from turning another page. It’s easy to navigate with the bottom corner of the page pulling up, and Grover acting as a guide with funny comments. Interactive parts glow so it’s obvious where to tap, and there’s highlighted narration.  There is also a parent tab with lots of extension activities, and ideas for using the app to calm a child’s fears.
ACPL appThe activity app this week is ACPL Family (free on the App Store) from the Allen County Public Library.  The app promotes early literacy and can be used with preschoolers up through elementary-grade children. There are booklists with helpful themed lists, with some common ones such as Great Books for Toddlers but also less common ones such as “Dentist” or “Clay Illustrations.” Keep in mind that the books link to the Allen County Library so you’ll want to use the Plano library app to check for the titles recommended here.

There’s a Tips & Facts section that gives early literacy tips by age group.  There’s also a Reading Timer (great for independent readers or adults who want to commit to read-aloud time with their child).

The READY on the Go section is impressive for its videos related to each of the 5 early literacy practices (Talking, Singing, Reading, Writing & Playing).  The videos, aimed at the child but modeling for the parent or caregiver, give ideas for how to reinforce that practice.


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App Time Session 5: Boats & MOMA Art Lab

February 14, 2015

Boats appThis week in App Time we looked at Boats, an app based on the book of the same name by Byron Barton.  It’s produced by Oceanhouse Media and is available as part of the Byron Barton Collection #1 for $4.99 from the App Store.

This app has the bright colors, bold outlines and simple shapes that are familiar from Barton’s books.  The book will automatically read aloud unless you go into the settings. There is the option to record your own voice.

There are sound effects and animation as the different boats move onto the page. Navigation is intuitive with the triangle appearing in the bottom right.

Tapping on a boat repeats a sound effect. You can also move the boats by holding and dragging. Tapping on objects or parts of the scene will identify the object and the word will appear, a great way to build on a child’s vocabulary.


moma art labThe activity app this week is MOMA Art Lab from the Museum of Modern Art in NY. It’s available for free from the App Store and encourages open-ended creativity.

Once the app is opened, you’ll see 3 colored buttons on the left. The button with the lightbulb gives you ideas for your artwork; the scissors and pencil button gives suggests activities based on a specific artist’s work.   Each of these button also has the option for audio, so that a pre-reader will have the activity or suggestion read aloud to them. The third button is your gallery where you can save your artwork.  On the right side, there’s the option to start a new work, take a picture of your art, change the canvas color, or delete your artwork.

In the middle is a blank canvas with drawing, shape and color options at the bottom. Bring shapes onto the canvas by tapping on them. You can move shapes around, resize them and turn them…or drag them off the screen to remove them.  Practice shape and color recognition with your child using the app.  There are lots of color and drawing options, and a handy eraser if you need to revise your artwork. The drawing option will allow a child to scribble and practice pre-writing skills by “writing” in their own way.

This app has so many possibilities: discuss the artists featured on the app; visit a museum; try some of the artwork with real art supplies; talk with your child about their artwork.


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App Time Session 3

January 31, 2015

frog thingThe book app presented at App Time this week was A Frog Thing  produced by Oceanhouse Media  ($2.99 in App Store and Google Play) based on the book of the same name by Eric Drachman.

This app has a few standard options such as Read to Me, Read it Myself and Auto Play.  There is also the option to record your own voice.  There are only one or two sound effects per page, and some pages pan in and out, but the app mainly allows the reader and child to focus on the story and text with minimal distractions.

Voices for the main characters are appealing, with a lovable child’s voice for Frank the frog.  Words are highlighted in green as they are read aloud, which helps build print awareness and vocabulary. Words are repeated if they are tapped which helps with word recognition.  There is some background music to enhance the drama of the story.

I hope you enjoy the story of Frank, a frog who wants to fly!

mgolThe activity app used in App Time this week was Mother Goose on the Loose produced by Software Smoothie (free in the App Store).

This is a nursery rhyme and felt board app. On the left are 8 buttons. When you tap one of these, it displays the flannel objects associated with it. On the right side are circular buttons that have different rhymes—for example, the button with the spider opens up the options for the rhymes Little Miss Muffett and the Eency Weensy Spider (in both English and Spanish). There’s also the option to play the rain stick. You can move the flannel objects to the flannel board scene and then press the button to hear the nursery rhyme. You can move flannel pieces around or remove them from the scene.  This app is a fun way to introduce or reinforce the wonderful rhythm and rhymes in nursery songs.

Join us next week for App Time on Friday at 11am at Haggard Library!

Register online to use one of our tablets or bring your own:

Click here to see all of our App Time videos.

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Recommended App of the Week

July 5, 2014

stickersudoku StickerSudoku

This logic game is exactly like Sudoku, but it replaces the numbers with stickers. For those unfamiliar with the rules of    Sudoku, there is a question mark button at the top right corner of the home screen. This app is very easy to play and  fun!  Kids develop problem solving skill that are age-appropriately challenging.

“One useful aspect of this app is that if the child incorrectly places an animal, it turns upside down, but stays in place.  This  allows for discussion of why the placement is incorrect and allows the child to use problem solving skills instead of simple trial and error.” –from a Center for Pediatric Therapy review.


Recommended ages: 4-7 years old.

Compatibility: Requires iOS 3.1 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

Price: Free

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Recommended App of the Week

June 21, 2014

a starfallreadStarfall Learn to Read

Compatible with iPhone, iPodTouch, iPad, Android, Kindle Fire.

Price: $2.99

This app is phonics based.  In the “Play” section, there are interactive games for a child to make words- the narrator announces “make a word with -an to match the picture.”  Then a picture appears and the narrator pronounces the word- for example, a picture of a fan appears and the narrator says “fan”. The child has 4 letters to choose from.  If the wrong letter is chosen and dragged in front of -an to make the word, the letter moves back to its original place accompanied by a sound to indicate it is the wrong letter. When the correct letter is chosen and dragged in front of the -an, the letter stays in place and the word is pronounced.

a tarfallread1

A matching game shows a picture on one card and a word on the other. When you match them correctly, the narrator pronounces the word.

The picture hunt game shows a drawing in black and white and when you find the word asked for, that image turns to color while the word is sounded out.

a starfallread3

“Starfall Learn to Read is an app version of the stellar learn-to-read website, Starfall. The app has the same content as the “Learn to Read” section of the site. There are 15 mini-books, each focusing on a specific vowel, along with videos and activities to enhance literacy learning. As with other Starfall apps, the thorough and careful design keeps kids focused on learning.” From Common Sense Media Review.

Recommended for preschool children.

Donna C. (Schimelpfenig Library)

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Recommended App of the Week

April 26, 2014

cinderella thumbnailCinderella by Nosy Crow 

From London-based independent publisher Nosy Crow comes a dynamic adaptation of the well-known fairy tale.  Readers can get involved in the story by helping Cinderella clean the kitchen, stacking the King’s invitations to the ball, dressing up the Stepsisters for the party, building the magical carriage with the Fairy Godmother, and choosing Cinderella’s dress.  You can even select the music for the Prince and Cinderella and watch them hit the dance floor! Do you want a waltz, disco or Bollywood?

Other useful options and features for young readers include:

  • Multiple reading modes: Read to Me, Read by Myself or Read and Play.
  • Choose how long text stays on the screen so beginning readers have enough time to read by themselves.
  • Choose between American or British spelling styles.
  • Help is embedded into the story. Characters offer hints about what to do on each page so even very young readers can participate fully.
  • Tap the characters to trigger additional dialogue.

A special treat for iPad 2 or iPhone 4 users – the front-facing camera activates in certain scenes and places the reader’s image in a mirror in the room!

Recommended for children ages 3 and up.

Compatibility: Requires iOS 4.3 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5. $4.99.

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Recommended App of the Week

April 19, 2014

lazoosquigglesLazoo: Squiggles! (optimized for iPad, iOS 5.0+):  Make squiggles with this fun and simple app.  Choose a scene: blank, one of the 12 installed in the app, or one from your device.  Then, listen to the instructions and add the appropriate “squiggles” on the drawing.  After you are done, press “go” and the drawing will become animated.  Take a look at the video below for a demonstration:


This app is available for free here and is recommended for ages 2 and up.

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Recommended App of the Week

March 29, 2014

diysunscienceDIY Sun Science (iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch; iOS 6.0+ ): This educational app was developed by the University of California Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science.  The app includes 13 activities about the sun, including instructions, materials lists, videos, and images.  The activities can be completed easily at home using minimal supplies.  As an added bonus, the app links to live images of the sun from NASA’s SDO satellite.  This is a free app that you can download here.  Recommended for families and educators, and for children preschool and up.



Check out this link for more information from the developer.

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Recommended App of the Week

March 8, 2014


moosemathnewiconMoose Math (Compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, Android) iOS 5.1 or later; Android 2.3. and up. $1.99.

“Covers early math skills in a fun build-your-own-world environment. Every detail, from the kid-friendly narration to hints, is designed with young kids in mind. Parents can see reports of their kids’ progress. Parental control swipe screens keep kids from wandering into the reports or other app sections.  Kids enter Moose Juice, the smoothie shop, to practice counting, addition, and subtraction. They go to the Pet Shop to play Pet Bingo, where they work more on counting, addition, and subtraction or to play Paint Pet, where they’ll match animals by counting dots. Then they can visit the Lost & Found store, sort shapes and colors, and work on geometry, or they can play dot-to-dot, where they count by 1s, 2s, 5s, and 10s. As they complete each level, they get to add another feature to their town.” From Common Sense Media

moose juice

Recommended for kindergarten and first grade students.

Donna C (Schimelpfenig Library)

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Recommended App of the Week

February 22, 2014


Felt Board-Mother Goose on the Loose (iPad, iOS 6.1+): This app is based on the award-winning early literacy program by Dr. Betsy Diamant-Cohen and the developers of the original felt app, Software Smoothie.  This app works like a digital felt board, with some extra fun features.  Move the characters and objects around on the screen to share Mother Goose rhymes and stories.  Have children create their own narratives and learn fine motor skills by moving the felt pieces and adding sound effects that are built into the app.  Here is Dr. Diamant-Cohen demonstrating the process here.

Need more ideas about how you could use this app?  Take a look at the developer site and there are some useful extension activities to share with children here.  You can also access this information via the app with an icon in the upper right hand corner.  

Download this app via iTunes, it is free!  Recommended for ages 2 and up.


Screenshot of Two Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed


Screenshot of Hickory Dickory Dock


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