As a Montessori-inspired mother who purposely doesn't even own a television, I resisted learning via technology for quite some time. After becoming a single mother, I needed a good distraction for my curious preschooler while I did things like shower, so I let him explore some apps on my iPhone to keep him out of mischief. It wasn't long before I realized how much technology could teach his insatiable brain, and I bought him a refurbished iPad for his fourth birthday last August. Since then I've been incredibly impressed with his learning. I would rather teach him myself and with more hands-on methods, but working full-time rather than being a stay-at-home mother now has made that quite challenging, especially as his interests and rate of learning are so fast-paced and changing. I feel like I've made a good choice in allowing technology into our lives.
Time on his iPad is limited each day, but we've explored a great deal of apps in the last four months that I'd love to share with you. Al of these apps have been adored and used frequently. So many of them are great and very useful without any sort of purchase.
You may notice that many apps are for much higher level than his age, but his brain doesn't know that. I've just followed his lead on what he's interested in, as I have since he was a baby. He reads at a mid-elementary level as far as I can tell, so many of these apps could be used independently with precocious readers or elementary-aged children and up. I enjoy several of them myself!
*Starred apps denote our absolute favorite apps
Green links denote apps that we've purchased
Units Convertor: *Convert time, temperature, volume, speed, distance, power, pressure, weight etc.
Hygrometer: Measure humidity where you live. See what's considered dry, comfortable or wet.
Free Compass: North, South, East, or West. Which way are you facing on the Earth?
Stopwatch: Time how long things take, or how fast your child can run!
Decibel Meter: *Measure how soft or loud sounds are.
Expert Calculator: Normal or scientific calculator that calculates numbers into the quadrillions.
Fraction Calculator : A calculator for fractions.
3D Protractor: Tilt the iPad to use this cool protractor.
Timer: Use for all sorts of things, from how long your child has to clean-up to toy sharing.
Weather Channel: Check your local weather as well as in different areas of the world. Chart it!
Math Worksheets: Worksheets for grades 3-8 with whiteboard.
Monkey Math: *Preschool Math
3rd Grade Splash Math: *Full year of fun 3rd grade math. Free version allows 20 questions a day.
Pizza Fractions: Beginner fraction work/game.
Equivalence Tiles: *"Hands-on" fraction and decimal work. For upper elem - high school.
Fraction Basics: Videos explaining everything you need to know about fractions.
2nd a Grade Splash Math: *Full year of fun 2nd grade math. Free version allows 20 questions a day.
Math Puppy Bingo: *Two game modes with addition, subtraction, multiplication or division.
Math Academy: Addition, subtraction, multiplication and division for elementary students.
Nuclear: *Build the periodic table of elements one element at a time.
Building Atoms, Ion's, Isotopes: Use the correct number of protons, neutrons, electrons to create.
Chemical Elements: Explore the table of elements.
Table of Elements: Explore the table with diagrams and detailed information on each element.
Periodic Table of Elements: Element flashcards.
Atoms in Motion: *Control and experiment with atoms, their state/temperature and note pressure.
Color Pad: *Free-color or color over pre-drawn pictures.
Inspire Pro Paint: Choose from a huge variety of brushes and colors to create a masterpiece.
Color Mixxa: *Mix colors together to see the result.
Google Earth: *Explore our planet Earth and all the lovely places it holds.
NASA: Explore the latest news, mission information, photos, videos and more.
Cosmic Universe: Beautiful 360 degree simulation of dark matter, gas, stars, and galaxies,
Star Chart: Point your device at the night sky and find out what you're looking at.
Moon: Hold the moon in your hands, spin and explore it's surface and more.
Mars Globe: Take a guided tour of Mars or explore yourself with detailed information.
Astrolabe: Clock showing position of Moon, planets and more today or travel to any day past/future.
Exoplanet: *Amazing exploration of exoplanets, Milky Way, solar system and beyond.
NASA Visualization Explorer: *The latest photos and cutting-edge research from NASA.
String: Modify tension, dampening, angular frequencing, amplitude to manipulate waves.
Particlescape: Beautiful particle and gravity simulator.
Weight Mass Force: *Explore effects of gravity on weight/mass on other planets and more.
Gravity Lab: Create your own solar system and observe Newton and Kepler's laws.
Gravity 2.0: *Create your own solar system and go into battle with realistic physics in this game.
Tiny Piano: More than 100 free songs. You control the timing of each note.
Music Studio: Keyboard, instruments, track sequencer, reverb, effects and more.
Hopscotch Coding for Kids: *Coding for kids. Create games, animations and more.
Puzzle and Strategy Games
Puzzles: *Sliced, drag and drop, and jigsaw puzzles aimed at toddlers and preschoolers.
Chromoverse: *Practice hand-eye coordination and speed while connecting particles to make chains.
Dots and Boxes: The classic game of lines and closing boxes on a grid.
Sudoku Kids: *Sudoku for kids using smaller puzzles and colors or numbers to solve.
Sunny Seeds: Find pairs of numbers with the sum of ten to clear the board.
Qwizful: *Fun quizzes for kids 4-7. Analogies, sequencing, math, vocabulary and more.
Qwizful Holiday Edition: Fun, holiday-themed brain-building quiz questions aimed at ages 4-7
Numbers Maze: *Mazes work on number recognition, counting, and skip counting.
Number Link: Connect the numbers in order but fill-in all the squares as you go.
Tetra Blocks: Basically classic Tetris for iPad.
Pipelines: *Create pipes by connecting color coded holes. Great for problem solving/spatial learning.
Space Dots: *Connect the numbers in order but fill-in all the squares as you go.
Cursive Writing: *Learn to write upper and lowercase cursive letters. All free.
Pre-K Letters and Numbers: *Learn to write letters, numbers and more. First three free.
Tracing Numbers: *Learn to write numbers 1-50. All free.
Writing Letters/Numbers in Spanish. Write and hear Spanish letters and numbers. 1st three free.
Spelling City: *Spelling, vocabulary and fun games for grades K-12
Phonics Genius: Huge app. teaching phonetic sounds and building phonetic awareness.
Build A Word: *Spelling fun and phonetic awareness for Pre-K and up.
Time and Money
Clockwork Puzzle: *Become familiar with clocks and learn to tell time.
Time Math: Learn to tell the time on a face clock.
Tell Time: *Time telling practice with various levels of play.
Money: *Practice counting bills and coins at various levels.
Count Money: Practice counting coins only at various levels.
iSleep Sphere: Control soothing sounds for sleep or when your child (or you!) need a break to relax.
Educational Video Series
Khan Academy: *4,200 free instructional videos for grades K-12
Brain Pop: *Fun, educational videos with quizzes for ages 9-12. A few free videos.
Brain Pop Jr. Fun, educational videos with quizzes for ages 6-8. A few free videos.
Smithsonian: Access thousands of educational videos in the Smithsonial collection. All free.