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By Sarah Guckert • June 23, 2015

9 Best Kindergarten Apps (Great for Preschool, Too!)

Envisioning iPads in the hands of your district’s youngest learners? Not sure how to make an early childhood initiative possible—or more importantly, successful?

At first glance, the Apple App Store can be an overwhelming place for educators to find the best content for young learners. With 100,000+ educational iOS apps on the market, it would take a significant chunk of time out of each week to identify those "needle in a haystack" apps that will be most effective and age appropriate for preschool and kindergarten students.

Best Kindergarten Apps and Best Preschool Apps

To help narrow your focus, start your search by looking for the following characteristics as you hunt for the best kindergarten apps as well as the best preschool apps:

1. Audio functionalities

Audio functionalities are key as most early childhood students cannot read yet; it’s important to select apps that will allow them to hear the content aloud. According to a white paper studying Student Engagement in Educational Apps, "Apps that are silent or have a bare-bones interface are predicted to have significantly lower ratings than average apps."

2. Simplistic in Nature

Apps that are simplistic in nature and focus on one objective at a time will help to retain students’ attention.

3. Engaging Interface

An engaging interface that isn’t distracting–we all know what happens to students when there is too much going on in the classroom. It’s the same way inside an app! We want students to learn how to focus in on what they are learning during their screen time.

4. Stickiness

Sticky songs or memorable characters are great app components to help young children remember what they learned during iPad instruction.

9 Best Apps for Kingergarten & Preschool

As school budgets are always tight, apps that are free also hold high appeal for educators, especially as you first begin building and testing an iPad initiative. Our Learning Design experts at eSpark have shared a list of the 9 best kindergarten apps for both reading and math practice. Visit the App Store, download these free recommendations, and feel confident that your students are learning with highly engaging, age-appropriate content that's helping to build strong foundational skills necessary for future academic success.

1. Gracie & Friends Treasure Bubbles

Gracie Treasure Bubbles

Developer: First 8 Studios at WGBH

Price: Free

Grade: Pre-K

Skill: Math Counting

Benefits: Age-appropriate, relatable content for young children

2. Gracie & Friends Birthday Cafe

Gracie Birthday Cafe

Developer: First 8 Studios at WGBH

Price: Free

Grade: Pre-K

Skill: Math Counting

Benefits: Age-appropriate, relatable content for young children

3. The Three Little Pigs presented by Dog and Cat

Three Little Pigs

Developer: Busythings Ltd

Price: Free

Grade: Pre-K

Skill: Reading Literacy

Benefits: Great audio that highlights each word as it is read

4. Alphabet Blizzard

Alphabet Blizzard

Developer: Red Seat Media, LLC

Price: Free

Grade: Pre-K

Skill: Reading Literacy

Benefits: Brings characters to life with "the Plow family"

5. Pete and the Secret of Flying

Pete and the Secret of Flying

Developer: Apps4kids Games

Price: Free

Grade: Kindergarten

Skill: Reading Literacy

Benefits: Beautiful illustrations that captivate students

6. Stumpy's Alphabet Dinner

Stumpy's Alphabet Dinner

Developer: Roo Roo

Price: Free

Grade: Kindergarten

Skill: Reading Foundations

Benefits: A story about monsters who eat letters for dinner—what could be more engaging to a 5 year old?

7. Montessori - Rhyme Time Learning Games for Kids

Montessori - Rhyme Time Learning Games for Kids

Developer: Innovative Mobile Apps

Price: Free

Grade: Kindergarten

Skill: Reading Foundations

Benefits: Very simple yet colorful app; simplicity is key here as rhymes can be difficult to learn

8. Math for Kids: Teach Numbers

Math for Kids: Teach Numbers

Developer: Pavel Ryzhikov

Price: Free

Grade: Kindergarten

Skill: Math Operations and Algebraic Thinking

Benefits: Great scaffolding in teaching addition, plus it exposes different math symbols

9. Geoboard, by the Math Learning Center

Geoboard, by the Math Learning Center

Developer: Clarity Innovations

Price: Free

Grade: Kindergarten

Skill: Geometry

Benefits: Allows interaction with shapes that would be tricky to manipulate without an iPad

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