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Published on January 26th, 2010 | by What2Learn


Top five free iPhone apps for pre-schoolers

Our chief tester for this post is now three years of age and has very clear opinions on what makes a good iPhone / iPod Touch application. Many have been downloaded and uninstalled pretty quickly afterwards. Only the following five applications have enjoyed a sustained level of interest. Some are of great educational worth, others will develop creativity but are really just a bit of fun and a great distraction when needed. Most importantly, all are free to download from the Apps Store.

No doubt many of you will disagree with this ‘Top Five’, but our chief tester had the final say on what made the list so we apologise in advance. Please suggest any you think should have made the list using the comments box below.

1: Feed Me!

Feed Me is a fantastic app created by the good folks at Honolulu-based Edutainment Resources Inc. With crisp graphics, a great user-interface and amusing game play this has resulted in a fair few hours of histerical laughter and enjoyment. It also has some great educational content including recognition of colors, shapes and patters as well as some early mathematics skills.

Feed Me

Essentially, each question is multiple-choice, with the player needing to choose from a choice of three possible answers. They then drag the answer to the mouth of the monster who begins to wave his arms excitedly and open his mouth wide as the object gets nearer. Once the player has dropped the object in it’s mouth it will either give a contented burp of enjoyment or suffer some serious indigestion depending on whether the answer was right or wrong.

There are mutlple levels within the game, with the player earning a different trophy for their trophy cabinet at the end of each. One minor improvement here would have been to have allowed the player to replay a previous level as the levels become increasingly challenging and for young children it would be preferable to repeat earlier levels.

A truly great application that will delight young children and develop their thinking skills.

2: Giraffe’s Memory Match Zoo

Speaking as somebody with the memory of a sieve, I was delighted to see how effective this application was at encourging children to really work the old grey matter and develop their memory skills. I am sure there are many more matching pair type applications available from the apps store, but this was the one that proved the most engaging and retained interest for many weeks.

Giraffe's Memory Match Zoo

With quality, colorful graphics and amusing sound effects as each animal is displayed, this app provides a great educational resource and a stimulating distraction. You will be surprised at just how quickly children as young as two are soon able to complete the grids.

3: Baby Flash Cards

There is a reason that Baby Flash Cards by Dream Cortex has had well over 100,000 downloads from the app store – it is quite simply as good as an app for flash cards can really be. That said, they have released ‘Baby Flash Cards 2’ with an added voice to read out the cards for any parents too lazy (sorry… busy) to read them out to their own children. Our chief tester felt she had moved beyond flash cards by the time of this post being writtent so we are unable to talk about this latest version.

Baby Flash Cards

High quality graphics are used throughout, with cartoon-style images which are both clear and stimulating to young users. There is also a range of ways to use it, with cards able to be displayed in alphabetical or non-alphabetical order. For youngsters who are beginning to learn to read the cards can also display the word before the picture is added.

As parents we often worry that we do not devote enough time to edcational activities such as Flash cards. Having a copy of this on your iPhone or iPod touch makes it easy to steal an extra five minutes here or there while you are out and about.

4: Baby Piano Lite

Kudos again to those lovely people at Dream Cortex for providing this fun little musical application. The app comprises a colorful seven-key piano with cute, animated animal characters. It will soon have your little angels producing masterpieces of their very own. Well… at the least they will be making a bit of a racket but highly enjoying themselves in doing so!

Baby Piano lite

Despite being the free ‘lite’ version of the app, this is surprisingly full-featured and will retain interest over a good period of time. It is possible to switch between having piano sound effects or the sound effects of animals as the keys are pressed. Two modes of play are also available – freestyle and ‘play along’ in which the next key the child should press is highlighted as they are guided through playing a nursery rhyme.

5: Make a Martian

Make a Martian, by 3DAL, is a great little application for developing imaginative and creative little minds. Combining excellent animated graphics and an extremely easy to use interface, your little ones will soon be creating a wide range of fun and colorful alien life forms.

Make a martian

So, there we go. These are the five free apps that we have seen bring the most enjoyment and development to one little mind. Are there any different ones that would have made your top five? Let us know by sending a comment below.

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