Top 5 Educational Tools to Get Your Little One School-Ready
Starting school is such a fun and exciting time for little ones and parents alike (when you're not quietly sobbing in the pantry - where did those years go?), and you can almost pinpoint the moment where your inquisitive preschooler starts looking very ready for big school.
If your child has started showing an interest in letters and numbers, an app or online game can be a very entertaining way of playing around with basic writing and maths elements. The games are always fun as well as being educational, and kids learn foundational concepts without even realising it.
If you'd like them to get a head start on what they'll be doing at school, check out these five of our favourite school-readiness tools.
1. Reading Eggs
ABC Reading Eggs is an Australian app created by expert educators that teaches young children the mechanics of reading and writing through activities, games and songs. Letter sounds and sight words are taught in simple, interactive ways that hold the children's attention, recognise their efforts, and motivate them to learn more.
Before using Reading Eggs, your child takes a placement quiz to see what game level they will be starting on, and their progress is tracked throughout. As a parent or carer, you can check in at any time on how they're faring.
To add to the fun, Reading Eggs has an online library that only contain words they have already studied in the program. There are more than 2000 to choose from and is searchable by the child's age and interests.
Recently, they launched their brand new early learning program for toddlers, ABC Reading Eggs Junior. Designed specifically for children aged 2-4, it's almost the pre-pre school readiness app!
Set in a similar vibrant, musical online world, Reading Eggs Junior is highly intuitive, engaging, and most of all fun for curious and playful toddlers. It totally transforms the way they use technology – turning screen time into learning time!
ABC Reading Eggs is available from $12.99 per month, and you can sign up (with a free trial) here.
ABC Mathseeds teaches kids aged 3-9 the core maths and problem solving skills needed to be successful at school with fun, highly interactive and rewarding lessons. These highly-structured lessons combine fun with motivational elements that keep children engaged and keen to learn.
Along with its sister app, ABC Mathseeds has been created by a highly experienced team of teachers, educational writers, animators and web developers. Each child progresses through the online lessons at their own pace and is rewarded for their achievements. All lessons and activities can be repeated as often as necessary so that children can revise and consolidate skills.
Each lesson begins with an interactive animation that models the skill in an easy-to-understand way. The child then completes a wide range of activities where they practise the new skill through short, playful activities to help build confidence. Early activities focus on numbers, counting and shape recognition. Later lessons build skills in addition, subtraction and measurement, and then early multiplication and division are introduced.
Each lesson ends with a fun eBook that reinforces the concepts they just learned.
ABC Mathseeds is available from $12.99 per month, and you can sign up (with a free trial) here.
With more than 40 activities designed to boost confidence and reading comprehension, VocabularySpellingCity is a popular game among parents and carers of pre-school age kids.
Its versatility is a high point - you can use any word list to create game-based studies of literary skills, and you can set up year-long playlists of the features of interest. Each activity has kids hear, say, write, break down and play with words all while feeling not much like school work at all!
Children are periodically tested for comprehension and knowledge retention, and reports are issued for you to track their progress across time.
Available online or on Apple or Android products, premium membership is $34.95 per year.
4. Matific Galaxy
Matific maths games are also designed to boost children's maths confidence with game-based activities, and the addition of worksheets. Kindergarten-age children start with simple addition and subtraction, and can stay with them right to grade 6 curriculum level. Other activities include counting and place value up to 20, speed counting, comparison and sorting, basic geometry, measuring mass and length, working with data collection, recognising patterns and starting with money. Similar to other apps in its genre, parents and carers can track the child's progress, keep an eye on their weekly activity, and get specific breakdowns on what needs more practice.
Matific is used widely in classrooms and is also the winner of awards and recognition from CODiE, SXSWedu, TED, ISTE and BETT for offering maths education at the highest levels of effectiveness and engagement.
5. Mini Prep
Mini Prep is a fun, educational app that provides a safe, stimulating and positive learning experience for 3-5 year olds through three interactive games based on letters, numbers and colours. The lessons build on important learning skills, encouraging learning through play.
Your little one can also access the Mini Prep Ready for School 28-day program that helps with reading and writing preparation with a major focus on developing essential pre-school skills for big school tasks like writing, cutting, moving puzzle pieces, buttoning, zipping, using a fork and spoon and tying shoe laces. They should also be familiar with all 26 letters of the alphabet after completing the program.
In addition to the interactive app, you can purchase a range of different printable ebooks including a skills pack with 67 pages of activities, flash cards, memory games, threading letters and much more.
The app is available (for iOS devices only) from the App Store for $1.49.
Main image credit: Reading Eggs.
Have you signed up to our newsletter? Join ellaslist to get the best family and kid-friendly events, venues, classes and things to do NEAR YOU!