Do you wonder what your little one needs to know to get ready for school? Curious about what concepts to practice at home? While expert opinions vary, most agree that it’s useful for your child to practice basic writing skills, letter recognition, beginning sounds, number recognition/counting, shapes/colors, and fine motor skills. Playing is a great way to introduce these skills throughout the day. Even something as simple as sorting blocks teaches your child about colors, shapes, sizes, matching, counting, and more. If you’re looking for a way to make learning activities mobile, apps like Toddler Marine Preschool let you practice similar skills electronically.
Toddler Marine Preschool – Educational Fish Games by Antti Lehtinen
Ages: 4+ (made for ages 5 and under)
Requires: iOS 6.0 or later
Compatibility: iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch
Toddler Marine Preschool is an educational app featuring six different mini games to practice basic skills. Three activities are included for free. In Puzzles, randomly generated fish puzzles let your child practice matching up various marine images to their outlines. In Comparisons, practice picking the largest and smallest fish from a group. In counting, practice numbers and counting by counting the fish on the screen. Three additional activities are available for in-app purchase ($1.99 to unlock all games). In Species, learn different fish and other sea animal species. In Colors, practice picking the fish of the right color. In Matching, play a memory game to find the matching fish pairs.
The game includes three difficulty levels: toddler, preschool, and kindergartner. Adults can change these levels at any time by simply tapping to the appropriate level. By touching the tool icon next to the the level, you can choose to turn specific activities on or off and customize your child’s playing experience. Once you’ve selected your settings, you’ll enter the aquarium. To start, your aquarium will be empty. Touching the fish icon at the top of the screen starts game play. Your child will be asked to complete three of the six possible games (which might be repeated in the same challenge) to unlock a new marine animal.
The app is completely navigated by touch and drag-and-drop functionality, making it easy for little hands to use. Narration offers encouragement if the wrong answer is chosen, and praise when the correct answer is given. In the free version, you can earn up to six fish in your aquarium at once. Once you’ve earned six, you can keep playing, but you’ll lose one of your fish each time you add a new one. You can choose to unlock the aquarium fish ($1.99) to allow up to 76 fish in your aquarium at once.
The aquarium is interactive even when you’re not earning new fish. You can tap the screen to create bubbles, which attract the fish, and touching a fish will provide its spoken name, if available. At any time, you can return to the main menu and reset your aquarium to empty and start earning fish all over again. If you have fun, you can choose to unlock all of the games, fish, and additional background content at once for a $2.99 fee.
The main screen also includes links for More Games, Shop, and For Parents. The More Games page includes other apps by the same developer, and the For Parents page includes FAQs and troubleshooting for the app. Both are only accessible with an internet connection. The shop includes the opportunity to upgrade game features. While it’s easy to get to the additional purchase menus, they are protected by a math problem passcode to ensure little ones don’t inadvertently purchase. For an additional security, you can also disable in-app purchases on your device. A mute button, though faint and hard to see, is in the top corner of the screen.
While the games are fairly simple, it makes it easier for your child to focus without distractions. The activities are completed quickly, and the repetition of the activities reinforces the concepts. While your child plays, you can talk about what they are planning. Asking your child about the activity helps you know when to adjust the difficulty and concepts. You can also transfer the games show in the app to off-screen playtime – try sorting toys, counting blocks, and playing with puzzles that reinforce the skills taught.
For more app recommendations and examples, be sure to join us for App Time on Tuesday mornings (11:15 AM) at Parr Library or Wednesday mornings (11:15 AM) at Davis Library. You can also stop by our Upcoming Programs page to see great events happening at all of our buildings this week. For more, check out our Engage brochure online or in any library for the complete program lineup!