(Anden is six years old and growing up in a world where mobile apps are omnipresent. In this column, we explore apps that are up his alley.)
We’ve been having fun playing with these apps to refresh and prepare Anden for First Grade. We selected the four apps created by Montessorium for the iPad & iPhone. We have been using the iPad for a bigger playing space. The Montessorium apps all operate in the same themes and teach some key important things to children. The one thing that sticks out the most is that there is control of error, so when there is a mistake made — the user is able to correct it instead of being told they are wrong. Overall, we like to use these apps for education purposes and hope they come out with more!
Intro to Letters: $4.99 ~ This was a fun app to play with. It took some coaching from mom to help Anden get used to the manipulation of the app but we enjoy every little bit of this app. First off, I love the look and feel of this app as an introduction to sounding out words and writing. There are not many distractions, it’s a simple education app to help kids focus on the letters. One of the many features that we enjoyed was the recording feature. Anden listened to the prompt in the app with the letter on the screen, then was allowed to record and listen to the way he sounds out letters. There are several variations of flashcards to look through the alphabet in upper and lower case, trace over the letters with suggested writing patterns and an introduction to phonograms. We love this app because it has help introduce and encourage practice writing letters.
AlphaWriter: $2.99~Anden just grew into this app, he learned a lot of essential spelling and reading in Kindergarten. We tried playing with this app before to encourage his growth, but he honestly wasn’t ready. Once he picked up on reading and was experiencing less frustration with sounding words and letters out, we decided it as time to reintroduce this app again. There are two modes for this app. One is the moveable alphabet mode where you select one of the different objects you want to spell and you drag the letters down to spell it. Anden’s favorite thing to do is to resize the objects before he sounds them out and spells them. The other feature is story mode. You can spell out your own story or integrate objects in the sentences. This is not an app you want your child playing if you hate noise toys. This app makes plenty of noise- the sound of dragging the letters, each object has it’s own sound (the cat does in fact meow!), and every time you’ve completed your story or word and tap the check mark there’s another noise.
Intro to Math: $4.99~ This app was fun and cute, but probably designed for children much younger. Anden is 6 and has a clear understanding of numbers so we went through this app pretty quickly. I would recommend it for the parent that wants to start introducing Math to their children at an early age. One of our facorite parts of the game was the shake and reorder feature for the first game. Steps are stacked in an order and you’re instructed to shake the iPad then you reorder the steps from longest to shortest. Montessorium has done a great job at integrating muscial scales in this app to teach children early musical cues as well.
Intro to Geo: $1.99~ While this app felt a little different from the other apps, it was the one that caught our attention the most. When Anden launched the app and started the program he was taken to a Road Map screen that took him to various activities to identify and select countries based on the promptings from the app. The first couple steps were simple because it seemed more like piecing a puzzle together instead of identifying the difference between the Bahamas and Costa Rica. Our favorite section was learning each of the country flags. Anden loves to look at flags so this captured his attention pretty easily. Out of all the apps, this one was our winner!
Moms Notes: I’d encourage users 5 and under to download Intro to Letters, Alpha Writer and Intro to Math with parental guidance and supervision. Users 6 and up can use all of the apps in the Montessorium collection with ease with or without guidance.