Are you constantly bombarded by your little ones nagging you to play games on your iPad? Well today, you can breathe a sigh of relief when you hand over the iPad as you download these newly released apps that focus on kids language games.
With the three following word apps, including one that teaches Spanish words, kids get hooked on learning words. One involves a treasure hunt, another lets kids cavort with silly monsters and the third turn word creation into an experiment with humorous results. Here’s a closer look.
Mystery Word Town — Sight Word Spelling
Rating: 4 stars
Kids travel back in time to the Old West to help the sheriff of Word Town rustle up the Huevos Rancheros Gang who stole a bunch of gold and is holed up in the town’s buildings. As kids search each building for the treasure, they collect letters of the alphabet found in the rooms. To move from room to room, players must complete the spelling of words, using the letters they found.
What makes the learning fun? Kids feel as if they are solving a mystery as they search each building’s rooms for the missing gold. The spelling of words, available in three skill levels, is tied to how players move around in the buildings. As outlaw-rustlers, kids complete the spelling of a word to open each new door or window as they search. Also amusing are the quirky captured outlaws who talk to you from Wanted posters and the ethereal sheriff who is a little round ghost.
Bonus Tip: If your kids like the format of this game, they will also enjoy the same developer’s similar app called Mystery Math Town.
In Endless Spanish, hilarious monsters and animated words and letters make learning Spanish words fun.
Originator, best for ages 4-8, Free (with in-app purchase), iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad
Rating: 4 stars
Silly and charming monsters are waiting to teach your kids Spanish words in Originator's new Endless Spanish app. Kids learn new words by interacting with animated letters and words, and by watching hilarious short videos of the monsters acting out the meaning of the new words. The app can be downloaded for free and it comes with six words to explore. Families may unlock the remaining 21 words by purchasing the add-on pack for $4.99.
What makes the learning fun? Endless Spanish establishes a playful vibe from the get-go by having kids select new words to learn from inside of a monster’s mouth. The liveliness continues with the letters squiggling under your finger when moved, and with words that animate in ways to reinforce their meaning. “Grande” will grow bigger and “flor” (flower) blooms. The two modes allow native Spanish speakers to use the app for Spanish immersion to learn sight words, and English speakers to learn Spanish as a new language. Endless Spanish is brilliant in how it uses adorable monsters and comedy to make learning Spanish fun.
The new Tiggly Tales app, which is playable with or without the app-connected Tiggly Words toy, encourages kids to experiment with creating words by rewarding them with zany animations and ability to record stories.
Tiggly, best for ages 4-7, $2.99 (or free with the purchase of Tiggly Words toy), iPad
Rating: 4 stars
Tiggly Tales is one of the three apps that will work with the newly released app-connected toy called Tiggly Words (a $29.95 set of five, vowel-shaped toys that kids stamp on the surface of the iPad). But, you don’t need the toy to play this app.
This app presents kids with a lab in which to create words. Two consonants sit on the bottom of the screen with space in between. Dangling from the top of the screen are the five vowels. By selecting a vowel to fill the space, kids see and hear if it creates a word. If kids are using the toy, they stamp a vowel to see if it creates a word. When the letter combo creates a real word, the corresponding object appears on the screen, usually accompanied by a humorous animation. For example, when kids make the word “peg,” a peg hops into the scene followed by a limping pirate who snatches the peg and attaches it to his leg. By trying different consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) word combos, kids bring animals and objects into being. And once in the scene, the objects frequently interact in funny ways.
What makes the learning fun? This app turns the process of creating three-letter words into a madcap experiment. The silly animations are so good that kids will be constantly combining the CVC words to see what happens next. Then, when the objects interact in unexpected ways, kids can get in on the zaniness by recording their voice to tell a tale while they use their fingers to move the objects around on the screen. Tiggly Tales makes creating words an adventure that kids will want to tell. When using the Tiggly Words toy, the adventure becomes hands-on.
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