From Disney Publishing, available for iPhone and iPad, comes a new Mo Willems app called Mo on the Go. For $3.99, you and your child can spend some quality time with the Pigeon’s creator. There’s a monster maker, where you get to choose the top, middle, and bottom of your monster. There’s a fun “Dream Drive” game where you pick up all the ducklings at the bus stops. There are sticker pictures, which is my least favourite of the app, but I’m sure kids will have fun with it. There are two other games that I find really fun. There’s Dance-o-Rama where you get to choose 3 dances for Piggie and Gerald the Elephant. You can dance along, and after a few dance sessions, Mo Williems will come out and dance with you! Fun! ** And Mo’s Squillems is a fun drawing activity. You start with a squiggle then the next person adds to the drawing. You can choose for Mo to start the squillem, or you can play with 2 people (parent and child would be the obvious choice!). For kids who love Mo Willems’ books, this one is an entertaining addition to the app collection. It features several of the author’s characters, so if you already have the Pigeon app, this one is a nice way to look beyond the famous bird books.
**I’ve used this app in storytime — had everyone dance along. Great way to get some movement in!
Has anyone else noticed the trend to make books more like apps? Just today, I read another one. COUNT THE MONKEYS by Mac Barnett made me feel like I was reading a book app. This is not a bad thing, in fact, I rather enjoy the active instructions. For example, you are asked to turn the page slowly, raise your hand, move your hand in a zigzag, etc. The book does not actually DO anything, it is the reader that is doing the actions. And the actions will be great fun in storytime.
TAP THE MAGIC TREE by Christie Matheson is coming out in August. This one really reminds me of an app, especially since the reader is asked to tap, pat, knock, shake, and rub the tree. Again, lots of fun for storytime. I will be really surprised if these books don’t get their own apps. It only seems natural and easy.
One of my favourite app-like books is PRESS HERE by Herve Tullet. This one does have its own app, and it is almost as much fun as the book. I love that Tullet has so many active books — just about every one of his books are almost toy-like in their interactive design.
Other books that remind me of apps are: TUCK ME IN by Dean Hacohen, THERE ARE CATS IN THIS BOOK by Viviane Schwarz, and TANKA TANKA SKUNK, by Steve Webb.
How about you? Have you found any app-like books you love to use in storytime?
This is the best free app I’ve seen, maybe ever! More than a flash-card ABC app, this one allows for personalization that can be an excellent learning tool. Each letter of the alphabet is presented with simple clip art and a spoken word. No big deal, right? Plenty of apps do that. But with this one, from Night & Day Studios, you can make your own ABC flashcards! Record your own voice (or your child’s). Record the dog barking! Take it with you to the zoo and record some animals! Go on an alphabet hunt around your house, your yard, your town — and personalize the alphabet with your child!
It works on iPhone and iPad, so if you have one of those and a child between the ages of 3-6, you need to go get this app right now! And free is a very good price for something with such great learning potential.
Here’s a great way to use it: Start with A. With your child, go on a hunt for something that starts with A. Take a photo of it, and change the default apple picture! Now, record your voice, or your child’s, saying the word or making a sound. Then move on to B…. And once your child has learned all the words you find, you can start over, and add more vocabulary! And you don’t have to stick to English– customize it to help teach your child any language!
I just love this app. What a great way to share a technology tool with your child.
Calgary Public Library has created a lovely app for parents. I just can’t stop looking at this app and how amazing it is!
The app is called GROW A READER and it is free for iPhone and iPad. It has early literacy tips for parents in video form, it has mini-videos of rhymes and songs, and it suggests books, all within the Every Child Ready to Read “Talk, Sing, Read, Play, Write” areas. I love this app so much– I think I have a crush on Calgary Public Library!
Any parent with a young child and an iPhone or iPad should rush out right now and download this sweet app. I’ll even make it easy for you. Just click HERE!
App: Bugs & Bubbles
Developer: Little Bit studio
Educational Use: colors, counting, letters, patterns, shapes, sorting
Why I like it: Lots of games, different levels, and many ways to learn. Nice graphics, too.
There are 18 games in this app, so the $2.99 pricetag is pretty reasonable (and it looks great on the iPad, which is how I tested it). Each game has levels, so the youngest can play and older kids will probably be interested as well. It has soothing background music and really nice graphics. And who doesn’t love bubbles? There are games for learning colors, counting, recognizing patterns, learning about opposites, vocabulary, matching, a game that uses “pinching” -(building those pincer muscles again), a letter drawing activity, and several more! The games are entertaining enough to play more than once, and the skills that can be developed are many.
Welcome to my new feature, App of the Week! Each week, I will showcase an app that I’ve tested and recommend. Here’s my inaugural choice!
App: Chalk Walk
Developer: Mrs. Judd’s Games
Educational Use: writing, fine motor skills
Why I like it: fun and funky music, have to use 2 fingers to draw, which mimics the fine motor skills needed to use a pencil.
There are two modes: Trace and Doodle. In trace, you follow a line that gives puzzle clues to spell words. In Doodle, you can, well, doodle – you can also change backgrounds, save your pictures, and change the chalk color. This is a good app for children who like to draw and write. Because you have to use the “pincer” muscles – the thumb and finger- it develops the same fine motor skills as holding a pencil. the Parents and Teachers section has some nice tips for extending and sharing this app with kids. While it does have occasional notifications, I have not noticed any other annoying ads or in-app purchases. You can turn off the music, though it is really not bad. Settings allow for right or left-handed users.