Below you will find a collection of apps that TGH has researched for our Early Childhood program. They include links to the iTunes App Store and reviews by CommonSenseMedia, if available. Additionally, Dan's younger daughters have lent their stamp of approval to many. Please note that some apps are in multiple sections as they cover a number of topics.
PBS Parents has important information on child development and early learning. It also serves as a parent's guide to the world of PBS KIDS, offering access to educational games and activities inspired by PBS Kids.
Common Sense Media is designed to help people find trustworthy, positive media for children. They have age-appropriate reviews on apps, games, books, movies, and more.
Resources for Early Learning offers fun learning resources for educators, parents, and caregivers. "From detailed lesson plans to simple, everyday activities, you will find everything you need to help your children succeed."
Draw and Tell
CommonSenseMedia - "Draw and Tell keeps it simple. Kids choose from a variety of different backgrounds, colors, characters, objects, and even stencils to create their drawings. Once they are ready, they can record a story or whatever they want while moving around the characters."
Duckie Deck Trash Toys
CommonSenseMedia - "Kids choose from a variety of recycled and found items and make creatures. Kids aren't limited by how many items they can add to their creature. No ads, parent settings, or instructions distract or limit kids. They are totally free to be as creative as they want."
Sago Mini Monsters
CommonSenseMedia - "Sago Mini Monsters is designed for kids ages 2 to 4 to have fun creating their own custom-made monsters, but monster-making is so fun that older kids and parents may want to join in the fun, too. It's all designed with the littlest app users in mind, so creating the monster is easy, and there are no time constraints."
PBS Kids Video
CommonSenseMedia - "PBS KIDS Video is an educational app for kids to watch a variety of clips from more than a dozen PBS Kids shows. The app allows parents to share video clips with friends through email, Facebook, or Twitter. Users can also tap a link to buy videos through iTunes."
CommonSenseMedia - "Peek-a-Zoo is an app game that asks children to look at different groups of cartoon animal characters and distinguish which ones are exhibiting a specific trait or behavior ('Who is crying?' 'Who is surprised?' 'Who is angry?'). It's super simple to use, making it a nice tool for toddlers and preschoolers."
CommonSenseMedia - "YouTube Kids is a kid-centric portal to YouTube that features curated TV shows, music, educational videos, and user-created content... There are parental control features in place -- like a timer and a way to disable the search feature -- but the parents' gate is accessed via entering the numerical versions of spelled-out numbers, so when kids can read, they'll be able to access the settings.
Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame
CommonSenseMedia - "Kids may quickly make their way through the five scenarios, but each is worth revisiting... Don't miss the parent section, which is chock-full of free resources such as tips and strategies (including video clips to watch with kids), as well as options to personalize the encouraging audio messages kids hear when playing the app, which can be played in English or Spanish."
Daniel Tiger's Grr-ific Feelings
CommonSenseMedia - "Daniel Tiger's Grr-ific Feelings helps kids identify and express emotions through fun games and songs. This early learning app for kids ages 2 to 5 incorporates many feelings words -- such as "jealous," "patient," "frustrated," and "proud" -- to expand the ways kids can verbally express what they're feeling inside. It also includes instructions for a simple calming technique."
CommonSenseMedia - "Park Math presents kids with a series of fun, interactive math games. Kids will count a rabbit's swings, subtract ducks as they go down a slide, make two amounts even by adding or removing mice from a seesaw, and more. The activities all allow the children to physically manipulate the objects they are counting."
Montessori 1st Operations
CommonSenseMedia - "Montessori 1st Operations is a well-designed math activities app based on Montessori principles and tools. Kids can practice basic addition and subtraction (1-99) in a concrete, visual way, and become familiar with the building blocks to division and multiplication."
Elmo Loves 123s
CommonSenseMedia - "Elmo Loves 123s is designed to teach preschoolers numbers from 1 to 20. Sesame Street favorites Elmo and Abby introduce kids to the number and activities... When first opening the app, parents can view information about their kids' past play, including time played, numbers and activities covered, and percentages correct, but kids can't access those screens without restarting the game."
CommonSenseMedia- "TallyTots is an educational app that is designed to help toddlers learn to count. Kids count along with an on-screen voice on numbers between 1 and 20, then are rewarded with an interactive activity (such as pressing the screen to make racecars circle a track or touching a light bulb to turn it on).
CommonSenseMedia - "Todo Math is designed to help kids of all abilities practice math. 'Todo' means 'all' in Spanish, and this app is designed with learning differences in mind. It can be helpful for kids who have auditory and visual processing issues or language of math issues. It also is beneficial for kids who have fine motor issues."
First 8 Studios
From WGBH - "Share the joy of early math learning with your preschoolers! Play the 8 math learning apps and dozens of hands-on activities at home or in the classroom. A digital Teacher's Guide supports classroom implementation of the technology-based preschool math curriculum." See all the apps and resources at first8studios.org.
CommonSenseMedia - "Zoo Train is a 5-in-1 learning game for preschoolers. The games are mostly simple and easy to use, and the colorful animals and trains are appropriate for young children. Aside from the info screen, there aren't any brands or ads, and since the game does not connect to the Internet there are no privacy or safety issues."
CommonSenseMedia - "Musical Me is a selection of music-based mini-games that allow kids to play around with pitch, rhythm, and instrumentation. One game lets kids tap out the melody to a classic tune on flying birds; whichever bird is tapped will play the next note in the song, allowing kids to learn the rhythm without worrying about hitting an incorrect key."
CommonSenseMedia - "Toca Band is a super cute and creative app that encourages kids to discover and explore music... As with other apps by Toca Boca, the app is pretty hands off, giving kids room to figure out for themselves what they can do. The Parent Center offers settings to disable external links and provides discussion topics to help parents extend the learning."
CommonSenseMedia- "AlphaTots is an excellent tool for helping children learn the alphabet. Filled with creative and clever interactive activities, the app reinforces letters with interactive elements that are fun to do (such as assembling a building for the letter B or cutting strings for the letter C). Letters are sounded out and the app is easy for kids of virtually all ages to navigate."
LetterSchool - Block Letters
CommonSenseMedia- "LetterSchool is a letter-writing app that incorporates engaging animated features. As kids write a letter, it animates; for example, it may light up or turn into a rocket flying through space. While this app is meant for kids who can probably already recognize their ABCs, each letter is first labeled and paired with an object to reinforce letter recognition."
When I Grow Up - Little Critter
When I Grow Up is a book where the child can be read to (interactive), read on their own (interactive) or autoplay. During the reading the child is able to tap on all people, places and things to have the word displayed and read to them. As the parent goes through the story with the child they can ask questions to help the child relate more to the book and notice more of the little details.
From CommonSenseMedia- "Endless Alphabet is simple yet powerful. Kids work at their own pace with no objective or goals beyond exploring the words in this endless alphabet. The animations demonstrate the meanings of the words in an unforgettable way -- like seeing a monster grow from normal-size to gargantuan or an invisible word appear when paint is thrown on it."
Molly of Denali
CommonSenseMedia - "Molly of Denali centers on an Alaska Native girl who learns about the indigenous experience through travels around the state and encounters with its people. In this app, kids ages 4-8 can play with Molly and friends in her Alaskan village, Qyah. Children can go on dog sledding missions, fish, create beading projects or help run the Denali Trading Post. The Molly of Denali app teaches children to use familiar texts such as books, diagrams, and captioned photos to solve problems, accomplish tasks, and help Molly’s friends! The educational games in Molly of Denali support foundational literacy skills in using and understanding informational texts."
I Hear Ewe
From iTunes - "...24 different authentic animal sounds and 12 different vehicle sounds. When your baby taps on an animal or vehicle icon, the game will verbally announce what type of animal or vehicle it is and play a recording of its real sound."
Toca Doctor HD
CommonSenseMedia - "Toca Doctor is a fun and safe collection of puzzles based on healing a sick patient. There are no written and few spoken words in the app -- it is largely visual with sound effects and music. Kids will need help at first understanding how to play. Four patient issues are identified at a time; tapping on one takes you to that puzzle."
Dr. Panda Hospital
CommonSenseMedia - "Dr. Panda's Hospital is an interactive educational app that teaches preschool- and kindergarten-age kids a little bit about sequencing, anatomy, and health care as they pretend to work at a hospital. Mini-games... prompt kids to help care for cute animals with different health problems."
iTunes - "Build it up helps develop visual perception skills and fine motor skills among toddlers aged 2.5+ years old. It also helps develop primary math concepts such as size, top and bottom, before and after... Each board displays parts of an image. The goal of the game is to assemble the parts correctly, one on top of the other, to create the whole image."
Toca Robot Lab
CommonSenseMedia - "Make your dream robot by mixing odd pieces found around the house, scrap metal and junk. What was once a TV can now make a perfect head, and a rusty gear becomes a leg.Choose a body, head, arms and legs and put it together as you prepare to take off!"
From PBS - "With PBS KIDS ScratchJr, kids can create their own interactive stories and games featuring their favorite PBS KIDS characters. The storytelling possibilities are endless with this creative coding app for children ages 5-8." Find activities and resources on PBS Kids.
PBS Play and Learn Science
From WGBH- "Play with shadows, control the weather, roll and slide objects down a ramp, choose the best materials for an umbrella – all while building science inquiry skills and learning core science concepts. The games in the app encourage kids to see the science in their world. They are intentionally designed to serve as catalysts for real-world exploration by modeling real-world locations and experiences."