Tablets are the must-have tech in any educational setting but with a slew of EYFS apps on the market and limited time to check them all out, we at QA Nursery have done some of the hard work for you. Some of these apps are for children aged from two and most develop into more difficult levels or follow-on apps, making differentiation easy. From sounding out to sorting recycling, there is something for every pre-schooler on this list…
1 CBeebies series (below) A real must-have for any child’s tablet is the whole CBeebies series. With no ads, great-quality content and familiar characters from TV, all of the apps are free. Playtime Island is a fun games app including My Swashbuckle Adventure, Build & Play With Bing and My Pet Friends. The child-friendly BBC iPlayer Kids app is available for children of all ages, to watch and download video content. Beebies Storytime aims to make reading fun, with a library feature where adults can download more stories. The stories can be read alone or read aloud by one of the celebrities who provide voice-overs. In addition, the Get Well Soon app has been created to help support and reassure children on trips to hospital as Dr Ranj treats the characters and games can be played to familiarise children with body parts.
2 Endless series (below) These EYFS apps are delightfully animated and use a range of funny voices to explore letters and numbers, which children will love. In Endless Reader, children are encouraged to move letters into place to form a word, before building a sentence with the word in it. Additional apps include Wordplay, Academy and there’s even a Spanish app. The makers Originator say, “Kids will have a blast learning their ABC’s and building vocabulary with the adorable Endless monsters. Each word features an interactive puzzle game with talking letters and a short animation illustrating the definition. Before you know it, your child will be using words like gargantuan and cooperate!”
3 Duck, Duck, Moose (below) Duck Duck Moose apps are made by a passionate team of engineers, artists, designers, and educators. Founded in 2008, the company has created 21 top-selling titles and has received a raft of technology awards for it colourful, engaging and effective apps. Duck Duck Moose also has an ethical background: it’s a wholly-owned subsidiary of Khan Academy, a nonprofit with a mission to provide a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere. Duck, Duck, Moose Reading is aimed at ages three to seven and allows children to learn through feeding animals including flamingoes, monkeys and lions. There are a whole range of apps including maths and nursery rhyme versions which can be used from age two up.
4 Phonics Island (below) Phonics Island is designed to teach children initial words sounds as recommended by the Montessori method. Through a simple game of loading a train with animals and sounds, children learn to identify letter sounds and match them to their orthographic form. The app includes 90 animal pictures situated in colourful sceneries, accompanied by authentic animal sounds and phonetic sounds of the animals’ initial letters. There are also seven alphabet phonetic sectors divided according to the Montessori methodology. In the game, a child advances to more difficult levels as new sectors unlock. At the end, a surprise of the island awaits!
EYFS apps offer phonics, maths, videos and educational gaming from age two upwards
5 Reading Eggs Reading Eggspress caters for ages two to 13, which will ensure effective differentiation within EYFS and beyond. There are a range of educational apps to ensure children can learn on the go and Mathseeds is available to boost numeracy. Within Reading Eggs Junior, which is aimed at ages two to four, children can look at books, watch videos and complete an activity. You can also download and print hundreds of full-colour activity sheets that align with each individual lesson. There’s four weeks free access, then 12 months’ access costs £39.95. The accounts can be linked to schools.
6 Wonster Words Great for sounding out, Wonster Words features silly letter ghosts and hilarious “wonsters”. With phonics, consonant blends, word families, diphthongs, digraphs, and more, it's a great all-rounder among the EYFS apps. The makers say, “Kids will have a blast putting together words through interactive spelling puzzles, letter hide-and-seek, and other engaging mini-games. Once the words are completed, your child will enjoy cute animations head-lined by the lovable wonsters. These animations will further reinforce the meaning of the words that he had just learnt.” Wonster Words has won numerous awards and comes with many free words, so you can try before buying.
7 EduKitchen EduKitchen has lots of maths links for pre-schoolers. Set inside a fun kitchen, children learn skills such as healthy eating, recycling, organisation, matching fruits, and counting. Made by Cubic Frog, who have a range of vibrant, engaging apps which even toddlers can use, EduKitchen features games such as putting the correct number of eggs into the frying pan, sorting all the dirty dishes and putting them in the dishwasher and separating items which can be recycled. With an eco-friendly and health-conscious approach, this covers many EYFS areas including maths, understanding of the world and listening and attention.
8 Magic Letters (below) Pre-schoolers can build words, learn the alphabet and names of the objects in Magic Letters. This is played using toy blocks with letters on them, and to pass to the next stage you must arrange five words. There’s a puzzle game too and the app contains no ads – plus 30% of the gameplay is free. One parent review reads, “A five star rating for this great kids app. Not only is it educational for children learning how to read and spell, but the graphics keep it engaging as you progress to more difficult levels. A must to download.”
9 Hairy Letters For first learning of phonics, out of the many EYFS apps out there Hairy Letters is ideal. Children can learn the letters of the alphabet and how to blend first words. There is the opportunity to interact with animations and children can trace the letter shapes onscreen with their finger. They can play games to reinforce learning and build letters into simple words as the Hairy characters and funny animations make a fun and engaging introduction to literacy. But don’t just take our word for it. One parent, Gary, comments, “My five year old, four year old and two year old are now running around the house like the Ant on your App. They are having a blast and love it.”
10 YouTube Kids (below) A child-friendly version of the world-famous video app, YouTube Kids makes it safer and simpler for kids to explore the world through online video – from their favourite shows and music to learning how to play computer games and everything in between. There’s also a raft of parental controls, so you can tailor the experience to your family’s needs. With limited adverts which are checked by YouTube to ensure they are family-friendly, and no click-throughs allowed in the app to outside advertising sites, children can enjoy viewing without the risk of seeing inappropriate content.