Free Puzzle App for Kids

Pebble has found a new favourite app recently. She has been asking to play Kids Preschool Lite more often than other games, and seems to get a certain satisfaction from completing each simple jigsaw puzzle. She also enjoy playing with her hands on puzzles at home, so it’s not really a surprise that she loves this app.

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Kids Preschool Lite is the free version of Kids Puzzle ($AUD2.88), an easy to use puzzle game for pre-schoolers. To play, children press and drag puzzle pieces into the correct place on the outline of a simple drawing. The lite version allows for about 20 puzzles, while the full version has over 100 puzzles to play. The game can be made trickier by removing the outline between pieces and unchecking the ‘easy snap’ option, which allows the puzzle pieces to click very easily into place when they are moved near the correct position. We have kept the easy settings, for now.

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As a parent I love that Pebble can play this game independently, and that it’s not overwhelming with noise, flashing colours, or anything too tricky. At her age (two and a half) it’s just the right level to keep her engaged for a few minutes (not too much screen time), but not to drive her crazy with frustration.

Pebble can open this game and select and complete her favourite puzzles all by herself. There are puzzles with four pieces, which are quite easy, and some tricker puzzles with up to nine or ten pieces. Children can choose from puzzles such as a cow, a clock, an apple, a car and letters and numbers.

This game has definitely given us a few more minutes in bed in the morning, and who doesn’t want that? You can download Kids Preschool Lite from Google Play, or try the version for iTunes (which may play differently to this review).

Have you found any good puzzle apps for kids lately? Or adults!?

Best You Tube Stories for Kids

The other day I was searching for some good free story apps for kids. I have struggled to find a good free (or paid!) one that is appropriate for Pebble’s age group. Many have very long, wordy stories, which don’t hold her interest. Then I struck gold with You Tube! These classics are currently bed time favourites at our hosue, along with a couple of books (how many stories is standard at bed time? We do about four here…. yep, bed time is a long process).

How do your children enjoy stories? Do they like to use the tablets, phones, CDs and videos, as well as books?

Best apps for toddlers

You may have noticed that I’m a tech-geek, and love all things Android. I am a big fan of integrating technology with children’s learning, and I’ve written before about kid friendly web site Poisson Rouge. What has only just come to my attention is their fun and easy to use apps for Android. How did I not see these before?

There are three apps by Poison Rouge Interactiva which are great fun for toddlers and young children – Aquarium, Bugs and Amos from Outerspace. Children can click anywhere without “breaking” the app and there are no ads to whisk children away to strange places. Almost every game is controlled by a simple click or click and drag that leads to success every time – you almost can’t do it wrong!

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Each app costs just $AU3.23 to buy from the Google Play store, and for us they’ve been well worth the money. We don’t use apps for long periods of time, but they’re perfect for snuggling up under the covers for an extra five minutes in bed while playing the games together, or for distracting a grumpy toddler when you’re stuck in parenting hell (doctors waiting room, post office queue…. that sort of thing).

What’s your idea of parenting hell?

10 FREE Alphabet Games for Kids

Alphabet Games for Kids

Here are ten fun places for kids to practice their alphabet online

Starfall – listen to each letter name and sound, look at upper case and lower case letters and sing the alphabet song, plus lots of other games.

The Bee Game – help the bee find each letter of the alphabet in order and take it back to his hive.

Find the Missing Letter – find the missing letter in a row of three letters in alphabetical order. Handy alphabet on display helps littlies.

Learning Planet – Alphabetical Order – choose which letter comes next in a string of three letters.

Boowakwala Alphabet Game – choose the correct letter from a set of four choices.

Alphabet Antics – help the monkey catch the letter coconuts before they fall to the ground – choose from easy, medium or hard.

Haunted Alphabet – one of my favourites – find the hidden letters in the spooky picture.

Alphabet Bingo – An alphabet bingo game. Choose from Easy, Medium or Hard.

Alphabet Doors – Click on the door to see each letter, a word beginning with that letter and a matching picture.

Alphabet Matching Game – An alphabet memory game. Choose from 6, 8 or 12 cards.

Have you found any awesome alphabet games online? Please share them in the comments below, thanks ever so.

A Story Before Bed

Last week a student brought in their mum’s iPad as a part of their news talk for the day. Her mum helped her to show us a favourite poem, The Jabberwocky, using an app called A Story Before Bed. I thought it was awesome! It showed the poem page by page along side a video of the student and her mum reading it. The first thing I did in my break that day was look for the app on Google Play store, but alas it is only available for Apple. BUT you can use the A Story Before Bed website to create video stories at home. Winning!

It is a subscription site with reasonable rates (minimum of $5.99 per month for access to over 400 books) however you can also access 19 books for free.

I signed up an account for my class, but the wiggedy-wack government internet system is not letting me through firewalls and such just yet (I’ve got our IT guy onto it). I also signed up an account for home, and we made this video for Pebble’s cousins. A little bit cute, no?

{click to watch Pebble and I read a story}

You can share videos by email or Facebook, or copy and paste the link wherever you like. Free books appear to be free for as long as you want them. Other books need to be paid for within 24 hours of recording or they disappear from your bookshelf.

What do you think of A Story Before Bed? Would you use it? Would you pay for it?