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Awesome Apps for Early Education

Early education and school preparedness is an important issue for the Latino community. More and more parents are learning the value of teaching their children basic concepts to prepare them for entering kindergarten. But knowing how and what to teach often remains a mystery for many families. Fortunately, there are a growing number of apps hitting the market to help parents teach their children anywhere and everywhere.

Here, we've reviewed three apps to help you teach your children in the areas of math, literacy, art, right-brain creativity, hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.

PBS Parents Play and Learn

An app designed for parent with games and activities to develop their children's math and literacy skills

Subjects: Math, Literacy

Price: FREE

Language: English and Spanish

Ages: Adults, with games for children ages 2-5

Available for: iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Kindle and Android

The PBS Parents Play and Learn app is PBS' first app designed primarily for parents with young children. The app focuses on developing pre-literacy and early math skills to help prepare children for school. There are 13 categories of teachable moments, including at the park, a party, in the car and in a restaurant, just to name a few. Each category contains an interactive game your child can play independently or with you, but the best part of this app is the list of hands-on activities parents can do with their children. Each category has four age-specific activities: one each for babies and toddlers, and two for preschoolers.

Like many of their other apps, PBS has included a sticker game featuring many of the familiar images used within the app such as fruit, zoo animals and musical instruments. It's also a fun way to develop your child's fine-motor skills.

Kandoobi Animals

An app for preschoolers that uses animals to develop letter recognition, spelling, and vocabulary

Subject: Literacy

Price: $2.99

Language: English and Spanish (Separate apps available for purchase)

Ages: 2 to 5

Available for: iPad, iPhone

This full-immersion app is available in English or Spanish and centers on an impressive collection of more than 100 domestic and wild animals. From avestruzes to morsas, your niños will learn the names of each animal. Many of the animals included are not frequently seen in Spanish-language children's materials available on the market today.

The app features four different games, each of which develops your child's fine motor skills. "Letras" teaches your child how to spell the name of the animal using moveable letter tiles that your child simply drags and drops into place. The words and letters are voiced aloud to reinforce letter and word recognition. Kids can draw their own animals, or use one of the templates to color it in "A colorear."

"Raya y rellena" allows your child to color in images, also, but great for those not ready to stay within the lines just yet. All your child has to do is swipe their finger back and forth across the image. And finally, "Igual a la silueta" is a matching game that provides a silhouette, and your child must choose the correct animal from a selection of three, drag and drop it into the silhouette.

Faces iMake

Create your own faces using every-day items

Subject(s): Art, Right Brain Creativity, Coordination

Price: $0.99 to $1.99

Language: English

Ages: 4 and up

Available for: iPad, iPhone

the joyful background music to the simple act of creating faces out of food, toys, tools, candy, musical instruments, you child will have total control over each item, including where to place it, what size to make it, and their ability to rotate it into the position they desire. It's fascinating to see whose faces my kids recreate, and it warms my heart to know that when they create abuelita's face, or mine, they are choosing subjects they love and it reflects our close relationship. But your kids aren't limited to creating funny faces—they can create images of virtually any object. This app even allows your child to use their own objects from pictures they take using the iPad.

Once their masterpiece is complete, you can share it via Facebook or email. This provides a wonderful opportunity to share your child's art with los abuelos! And if you'd like to take creating a step further, you can explore the images in the gallery for inspiration. Watch five video lessons featuring artist and children's educator Hanoch Piven. The videos are in English, but the rest of the app isn't language-based, so children fluent in any language can enjoy creating their own artwork without any language barriers.

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