iPad App - Alien Assignment

This high quality app is brought to you by the Fred Rogers Center.

In Alien Assignment, kids are on a mission to help the Gloop family fix their spaceship. The narrator instructs kids to take photos of objects that can help solve various problems. For example, there is a leak, so they need something that can hold liquid.

After each round, kids are prompted to pass the device to an adult. The photo review provides kids with feedback on their solutions and also gives parents a way to begin conversations with kids about important learning topics.

Curriculum Area: Critical Thinking

Age Appropriate Group: 4+

iPad App - Star Walk Kids

Star Walk Kids - Astronomy for Children is a fun and engaging way to explore the night skyIt's a virtual planetarium and education tool that teaches kids (and adults) about constellations and celestial bodies. 

Kids can stargaze by pointing their device at sky. The built-in gyroscope follows kids' movements and creates a map of the sky based on their locations.

I've learned so much. Hooray for technology!

Curriculum Area: Science

Age Appropriate Group: 5+

iPad App - Gracie and Friends Birthday Cafe

This is a super approach to helping kids develop an easy familiarity with quantities under five. 

Kids match the number of guests with the seats at a table, and number of plates to hungry guests as they seat and serve food to Gracie and her pals. To do this, kids must subitize for numbers up to five, or quickly determine how many objects are in a group without counting. (Here is a great article on subitizing. Isn't it a great word?)

The game offers scaffolding galore with twenty levels that increase in difficulty or pause for tutorials based on each child's needs.

Curriculum Area: Math

Age Appropriate Group: 5+

iPad App - Big Bird's Words

This app is Sesame Street quality through and through.  Highly interactive elements make this app super fun and engaging.

Play begins in a cyber grocery store where kids are introduced to an i-spy-like game.  Our favorite big yellow bird describes a food and kids have to find it in the on-screen market.That item is then added to a grocery list. 


From that list, kids choose a word to drag into the Word-o-Scope. They then have to find that word in their environments (the pantry, the store, a recipe, any piece of print). Kids line up the word in the camera, and the Word-o-Scope, impressively, recognizes it. Very nifty!

Curriculum Area: Reading

Age Appropriate Group: 5+

iPad App - Reading Rainbow

Take a look! It's in a book! Cue the classic RR song.

Reading Rainbow offers an extensive library of books to users, themed according to a child's interests  Kids can choose to have a book read aloud to them or to read the book themselves. 

But, to access more than the first five free books, it's going to cost you. The subscription fee is: $10 for one month, $30 for six months, or $50 for one year. The high price tag may be a deterrent to many. A library card is free, after all!

 Curriculum Area: Reading

Age Appropriate Group: 4+

iPad App - Who Am I?

This app was developed by a Harvard University expert on anthropology and diversity. Its' goal is to act as a catalyst for meaningful discussions between parents and children about race, ethnicity, and culture. 

The app includes many parental tips on how to talk about human physical diversity and racial self-identification. The game is really designed to be explored by parent and child simultaneously, making it both highly engaging and eye-opening.

Curriculum Area: Social Studies

Age Appropriate Group:  5+

iPad App - Sago Mini Monsters

From a green pit of bubbly slime, kids drag and form a monster shape. After adding horns, eyes, teeth, and seemingly limitless accessories, one can tap a check mark to bring the creation to life.  Kids can then feed and care for their monster.

It would be nice if the accessories were scalable, so that kids could make a bow tie bigger or smaller, for example.  I think that an in-app sharing option would be a great addition too. All of that delicious creativity should be shared with friends and family, after all.

You can shake the device, a la etch-a-sketch, to knock everything off and start over again at any time. I think that Sago Mini Monsters is pure creative fun! 

Curriculum Area: Arts

Age Appropriate Group: 3+

iPad App - Kid in Story Book Maker

Kid in Story Book Maker has a pretty heft price-tag of $6.99. But, it's social-story focus for kids with special social and communication needs is unique and does set it apart from similar apps. 

Creating social stories is a snap and allows kids to see themselves in different situations before they encounter them. This may help ease anxiety. This approach can be very successful with kids on the autism spectrum.

Here  is a video of a social story created using Kid in Story about moving, found on YouTube.

Curriculum Area: Emotional Development

Appropriate Age Group: 4+

iPad App - Toothsavers

Toothsavers Brushing Game is a free app produced by the 2min2x campaign to promote the brushing of little pearly whites twice a day for two minutes.

Kids can play games to see how brushing removes food from their teeth and kills bacteria, unlocking more characters as they advance along a map in a kingdom that is locked by a curse that only brushing can end.

Kids also can brush along with a two-minute video that shows them how to brush each area of their mouth and teeth. Parents can set up the times of day their kids should brush and receive push reminders that it's time to do just that. This app can truly make parenting easier!

Curriculum Area: Health and Fitness

Appropriate Age Group : 5+

iPad App - Touch and Learn Emotions

Touch and Learn - Emotions is a free app that helps kids identify and name emotions, facial expressions, and body language. 

Four stunning images appear on the screen and a voice says an emotion such as "tired." Kids tap on the picture of the person they think looks tired. You can also add personalized audio and photos to boost engagement.

Some of the images are rather ambiguous. I had trouble identifying a few of them myself! The app could use a bit more of a tutorial. Fortunately, the settings options allow you to adjust which images link to which emotions and set images to match more than one picture. 

Curriculum Area: Emotional Development

Appropriate Age Group: 4+

#130 - My Mommy Hung the Moon by Jamie Lee Curtis

Summary My Mommy Hung the Moon celebrates the unconditional love between mother and child. The little narrator declares,"My Mommy's good at everything!" When it comes to stealing bases, untangling kites, baking cookies, and carpooling she's the champ. 

Suggested Activity:  Caring Ropes

For this activity use a 20 inch rug-yarn length or leather strip for each student. Ask students to keep track of their caring deeds towards others. Each time they perform a deed, invite them to tie a knot in the rope. Keep the ropes in an accessible place, such as a cubby. You Mom's "caring rope" sure would have a lot of knots!

Curriculum AreaProsocial Behavior (plays well with other children, recognizes the feelings of others and responds appropriately)

Appropriate Age Group
: 5 and up

#129 - Before You Were Mine by Maribeth Booth

A little boy wonders what life was like for his new dog before he adopted him from a shelter.
Maybe he was kept on a chain, with a dusty bowl and lonely sounds all around. In the end, the boy realizes that it doesn't matter what happened because now his dog is home.

Suggested Activity:  Animal Shelter Visit

Your local animal shelter is a great field trip destination for children. There is usually no cost to visit these facilities, and the staff can help teach youngsters the importance of caring for animals properly as well as the right way to play with their pets so they won't be scared or harmed. 

Curriculum Area: Prosocial Behavior (recognizes the feelings of others and acts appropriately, shares and respects the rights of others)

Appropriate Age Group
: 4 and up

#128 - The Hello, Goodbye Window by Norton Juster

Summary: The window in Nanna and Poppy's kitchen is no ordinary window–it is the place where love and magic happens. It's where the girl and her doting grandparents watch stars, play games, and, most importantly, say hello and goodbye.  

Suggested Activity:
Many Languages

Ask children if they know any other ways of saying "hello," in English. Discuss phrases such as "howdy" and "what's up?" Explain that people in other parts of the world use other words that have the same meaning. Teach preschool students how to say hello in other languages such as "ciao," "bonjour," "buenos dias," "konichiwa" and "shalom."

Curriculum Area: Prosocial Behavior (shares and respects the rights of others)

Appropriate Age Group: 4 and up

#128 - Spoon by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Summary: Meet Spoon. He’s always been a happy little utensil.  But lately, he feels like life as a spoon just isn’t cutting it.  He thinks Fork, Knife, and The Chopsticks all have it so much better than him. As it turns out, the other culinary implements think Spoon is the one who has it made—who else gets to bang on pots, dive into a bowl of ice cream, or relax in hot cup of tea?

Suggested Activity:  Silverware Set

Provide a silverware set. The children can sort the pieces according to sizes, shapes, and/or use.

Curriculum Area: Logical Thinking (classifies objects)

Appropriate Age Group: 4 and up

#127 - A Blue's Clues Chanukah by Jessica Lissy

Summary: Blue and her friends have been invited to a Chanukah party at Orange Kitten's house! From lighting the menorah and eating special foods to playing dreidel and singing songs, you can join in the celebration too!

Suggested ActivityMenorah Craft

Glue eight wooden or styrofoam spools of equal size to a piece of wood, leaving a space in the middle. Glue a larger spool in the middle, thus making four smaller spools on each side. The menorah can be lit during the eight days of Hanukkah during group time. Explain the meaning of a menorah to the group as well.

Curriculum Area: Prosocial Behavior (shares and respects the rights of others)

Appropriate Age Group
: 4 and up

#126 - Wash Your Hands by Tony Ross

Summary: The Little Princess learns that if she doesn't wash her hands, the germs and nasties "can get into your food, and then into your tummy ... and then they make you ill." The little princess cheerfully accepts the reasoning behind hand-washing and does just that before eating a big slice of cake. 

Suggested Activity:  Hand-Washing Check

Have children wash their hands. Then take small pieces of cotton dipped in rubbing alcohol. Rub the back of each child's hand with the moistened cotton. Look at the dirt on the cotton and discuss what it means. 
Even when we think we've washed our hands thoroughly, there may still be dirt present. Remind children to sing "Happy Birthday" two times (10-15 seconds) to kill germs.

Curriculum Area: Sense of Self (takes responsibility for own well-being)

Appropriate Age Group
: 4 and up

#125 - Lilly's Purple Purse by Kevin Henkes

Summary: Lily loves everything about school. She loves the sharp pencils, squeaky chalk and Mr. Slinger, who is the coolest teacher in the world. But when Lilly brings her purple plastic purse, three jingly quarters, and movie star sunglasses to school and can't wait until sharing time, Mr. Slinger confiscates her prized possessions. 

Outside of school she finds a note in her returned purse that reads, “Today was a difficult day. Tomorrow will be better.” Mr. Slinger is truly the best!

Suggested Activity
: Guess the Emotion

One child chooses an emotion and acts out that feeling. The other children playing the game try to guess the emotion. The child who guesses correctly becomes the next actor. 

Curriculum Area: Prosocial Behavior (recognizes the feelings of others and responds appropriately)

Appropriate Age Group
: 4 and up

#124 - The Easter Egg by Jan Brett

Summary: If Hoppi can make the best Easter egg, he will get to help the Easter Rabbit deliver the eggs on Easter morning. But it is not so easy. Discouraged, he goes into the woods to think when a blue robin’s egg tumbles out of its nest. Hoppi keeps it safe and warm until the baby bird hatches, and when the Easter Rabbit arrives, he chooses the empty blue eggshell to reward Hoppi for his kindness.

Suggested Activity: Sharing Baskets

Decorate eggs or baskets to give to a home for the elderly. Take a field trip and let the children deliver them.

Curriculum Area: Prosocial Behavior (recognizes the feelings of others and responds appropriately)

Appropriate Age Group
: 4 and up

#123 - A Color of his Own by Leo Leoni

Summary: The chameleon is forlorn that he doesn't have a color of his own.  He is purple like the heather, yellow like a lemon, and even black and orange striped like a tiger! When another chameleon suggests they travel together, he learns that companionship is more important than what color you are. No matter where he goes with his new friend, they will always be alike.

Suggested Activity: The Feel of Color
This activity can be introduced at large group time. Begin by collecting colored construction paper. Individually hold each color up and ask the children how that particular color makes them feel. Adjectives that may be used include: hot, cold cheerful, warm, sad, tired, happy, clean, etc.

Curriculum Area: Sense of Self (recognizes own feelings and manages them appropriately)

Appropriate Age Group
: 4 and up

#122 - Raisin and Grape by Tom Amico

Summary: A young grape is lucky enough to spend the whole day with his grandpa raisin. Grape thinks Grandpa’s wrinkles are awesome. Grandpa says you couldn’t pay him to be a grape again. Both of them agree, however, that together they make a great team.

Suggested Activity Purple Bubble Print

In a small plastic bowl or cup, mix one tablespoon purple liquid tempera paint with two tablespoons liquid dishwashing detergent and gently stir in a small amount of water. One child at a time can put a straw in the paint mixture and blow until bubbles rise above the rim of the bowl or cup. Remove straw and lay a piece of white paper on top of the bubbles. As the bubbles pop, they will leave prints on the paper.

Curriculum Area: Learning and Problem Solving (observes objects and events with curiosity, explores cause and effect)

Appropriate Age Group
: 4 and up

#122 - The Red Book by Barbara Lehman

Summary: This book is about a book. A magical red book without any words. When you turn the pages you’ll experience a new kind of adventure through the power of story. The Red Book crosses oceans and continents to deliver one girl into a new world of possibility, where a friend she’s never met is waiting. And as with the best of books, at the conclusion of the story, the journey is not over.

Suggested Activity: Sugar Cube Science

Mix a few drops of red food coloring into water and then pour it onto a plate. Add a stack of sugar cubes and observe what happens. The colored water should move up the stack of sugar cubes and eventually make them collapse.

Curriculum Area: Learning and Problem Solving (observes objects and events with curiosity, explores cause and effect)

Appropriate Age Group
: 4 and up

#121 - I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie by Allison Jackson

Summary: I know an old lady who swallowed a pie, a Thanksgiving pie, which was really too dry. And with that the feast begins! After the pie the old lady swallows a whole squash, all of the salad, and the entire turkey!

Suggested Activity: Rubber Wishbone

Bring in a wishbone from a turkey and place it in a jar. Pour some vinegar into the jar to cover the wishbone. Leave the wishbone in the bottle for 3 days. Remove it and feel it. It will feel and bend like rubber.

Curriculum Area: Learning and Problem Solving (observes objects and events with curiosity, explores cause and effect)

Appropriate Age Group
: 4 and up

#120 - Shapes, Shapes, Shapes by Tana Hoban

Summary: Whenever you are -- inside or outside -- there are shapes to discover. And with Tana Hoban's help you will begin to see them. Look around. How many circles, squares, stars, triangles, hearts, and rectangles can you see?

Suggested Activity: Shape Feely Box

Cut many shapes out of different materials such as felt, cardboard, wallpaper, carpet, etc. Place the shapes into a feely box. The children can be encouraged to reach in and identify the shape by feeling it before removing it from the box.

Curriculum Area: Learning and Problem Solving (observes objects and events with curiosity, explores cause and effect)

Appropriate Age Group
: 4 and up