Kindergarten might be the time that children learn basic math skills like simple arithmetic and begin their journey with books and reading. Some children may enter kindergarten knowing how to read, others might still need to pick up early skills.
Throughout the year parents might want to help their child practice grade-level benchmark concepts to ensure their child doesn’t struggle or fall behind. Apps, educational games and online reading programs for kindergarten can enrich learning opportunities at home.
However, apps or other enrichment games and exercises don’t have to be used just to help children meet benchmarks. Some children might love educational experiences beyond the classroom; they might simply love learning something new.
Apps, online experiences and even educational-specific programs might help children grow their skills beyond their grade level, too.
Finding Educational Applications to Best Benefit a Child’s Needs or Fit Their Interests
Some kindergarten classes are only a half day program, while others are a full day. Parents might not want children to come home and then jump back into learning no matter how long they have sat in the classroom. A break after school can help children unwind, rest and decompress from a day of learning.
Parents who want to introduce extra learning experiences via apps or other programs might select applications and programs based on what areas their child needs additional help. Sometimes parents have already identified areas of struggle, or they might discover difficulties after a parent-teacher conference.
Other families might embrace all types of extra enrichment opportunities for their child. They might fill up a tablet or other device with many different educational apps and games to complement their child’s classroom experience. Or parents might download apps related to subjects that interest their child. Maybe a child loves science or history. Parents could choose apps that let children explore these subjects further.
But It’s Only Kindergarten!
Remember when kindergarten was all about finger paints, paste and coloring. Learning letters and reading was mixed into the day, too. And recess and a snack. Now, though, children might be learning more and grade-level expectations could be higher, too.
Today’s kindergarteners use computers and online programs. Depending on the district or the school, they could be expected to come in already knowing some more basic information and facts. Parents could feel the pressure, even when their child is only five or six years old.
Online programs and educational apps can be a fun way to keep children engaged in learning by mixing in a bit of fun. Many apps are designed as games, and children can explore and learn via a tablet or even their parent’s phone.
What Apps and Programs are Best for Kindergarteners?
Families might wonder what apps, programs or websites are best for kindergarteners. Again, this could depend on the expectations per the district. At the beginning of the year, many teachers provide parents with a rubric of the grade-level expectations. This includes all areas of learning.
Parents can use the school-provided rubric to better understand what areas they might focus on for enrichment. Again, though, each child could have different struggles. And some children just love specific subjects and want to learn more about them.
Fun Educational Games for Kindergarten
While there is no one-size-fits-all for the best apps, games or programs for every kindergartener, there are many, many choices available via online app hubs like the App Store, Google Play and Windows. Parents can do a quick search via their phone or tablet to find the best options. However, here are a few fun game-based apps that are geared towards kindergarteners (not all may be available for every device):
This is all about kindergarten math! Add, subtract, count and learn shapes.
Choose from letter, matching, math, pattern games and more! All games are geared for kindergarten and preschool ages.
Practice learning letters and identifying them and help children practice and write sight words.
The app focused on PBS characters that also help children learn. Find games and more featuring favorite shows from PBS.
Immersive Online Experiences for Kids
Some apps include a technology called augmented reality that creates an immersive experience for the user. Children might enjoy educational apps that offer augmented reality features. What is augmented reality? This technology overlays digital graphics onto the real world environment. The game Pokemon GO is an example of augmented reality.
With augmented reality games, the app asks to access the device camera. The camera will show the user’s environment and graphics will appear in that environment. This is how those cute little Pokemon can pop up anywhere.
A few augmented reality educational apps include Seek and SkyView® Lite. Seek lets kids use the camera to capture any creature or plant and find out what it is! The camera shows the bug, animal or plant, and the app then begins to process the information. The name of what has been captured via the camera will then appear in digital graphic print. Young children should be supervised when using the app, though (who knows what plant or insect they could find…safety!).
SkyView Lite is an astronomy app. Kids can point their camera at the night sky and the app will identify constellations or other celestial bodies. This can be a fun way for children to explore the night sky. Again, though, parents should supervise. And parents and children can talk about what they find in the sky! Upgrades offer extra features and are an extra cost (downloading the app is free!).
Reading Programs for Kindergartners
There are some kindergarteners who struggle with reading. Some might not yet be ready to read, but others might simply struggle with blends, phonics or sight words. Reading can be challenging for some children, and parents might want to use a reading program to help their child at home.
Parents can use a program like Readability that helps children with both fluency and comprehension. The app can be used through grade six, which means that children in kindergarten can use the app for many years if they need it.
Readability is leveled for each child to ensure that they begin at the right level for their ability. A child will only advance to the next level once they have demonstrated proficiency at their current level. This means that the child should read fluently and have mastered the comprehension quizzes for their current level.
Some children benefit from guided instruction, and Readability provides a built-in AI tutor that helps children during lessons. If a child stumbles or mispronounces a word, the tutor will provide help. The AI tutor also is programmed to recognize each user’s voice, so it can pick up a child’s unique vocal inflections.
Like most app-based learning programs, Readability can go anywhere with a child…as long as there is a wifi or internet connection. Children can practice reading at their sibling’s soccer game, during a road trip or even on the beach. Parents should check their data plan, though, when the app is on the go. Some data plans are more limited than others.
How do parents know that the program is beneficial for their child, though? Parents can follow their child’s progress via a portal called the Parent Dashboard; this is only visible to parents. Via the dashboard, parents can see how long their child used Readability, their child’s current reading level, how many words their child can read per minute and other reading data.
Reading data for each child also can be compiled into a report that can be sent to the child’s teacher or school. The child’s teacher can compare the progress on the app to what is seen in the classroom. Ideally, the progress made on Readability should be reflected in classroom work, too. However, any discrepancies can be discussed.
Are All Educational Apps Free?
Many educational apps and games are free to download, but some are not. Others might have other charges known as in-app purchases. With in-app purchases, users can purchase items in the game; this can be an issue for parents as setting on a phone account might let children purchase things without approval. Parents should turn off in-app purchases to ensure they don’t end up with any unexpected charges.
Some learning apps might require a subscription. For example, Readability charges per month for subscriptions. However, one account can be used for up to three users, which can be a great benefit for parents with several children that need help with reading.
Apps also could provide a free trial to let parents and their children find out if the app is a good fit. Readability provides a free seven-day trial period. During that time, children can explore the books on the app and become familiar with the AI tutor. Parents might want to oversee lessons during the trial period so they can better understand the program and help children if they have any difficulties. However, Readability is designed to be easy for children to navigate on their own.
Interested in trying out Readability for a week? Sign up for a free trial today!