When we first got our Kindle Fire, Ashlynn was about Kenley's age now. 20 months old and not a lot of options that fell into an learning field that she could actually master. We favored apps focusing on putting together puzzles or ones that involved recognizing colors, shapes, or counting. A year and a half later, Ashlynn is rarely entertained with any of those. She still enjoys the "play" apps like Strawberry Shortcake's Bake Shop, where she follows directions to create a cake and Puppy Palace where she gives the dogs baths, treats, and toys, but thankfully her favorites are actually learning apps.
One of my favorites from when Ashlynn turned two was Endless Alphabet. It was a puzzle/matching game where she would match the letters to where they belonged in the word, but it also made the phonetic sound of each letter when she touched it. After the word is completed the little monster characters act out the definition of the word. It was one of the only apps we actually paid for, and it was worth every penny, she still plays it today. Apple users can play this as well as Endless Numbers and Endless Reader.
One of the reasons I thought to do this post was that I was completely stunned when at a party on July 4th, Ashlynn spelled her friend's name without any hesitation. He had a personalized name puzzle and she went up and pointed "B R O O K S". Spelling her own name is no big deal, but usually whenever I ask her to identify a letter, she says "you tell me" before I encourage her to make a guess. I had been so shocked because Ashlynn had been out of school since Memorial Day, and I hadn't really been doing the best job of playing teacher at home. Whenever I would attempt to have Ashlynn write or trace letters, she would want to do something else. I think she was afraid of messing up or not doing it right, so she wouldn't try at all. The day after, I realized she was able to spell his name so easily from all her alphabet and phonics apps. Now pointing out letters is like her favorite thing, in the car she'll point out letters on signs, letters in books, the mail, you name it.
At least, it makes me feel less mom guilt about screen time.
Hooked on Phonics - While we only have the free first unit, this is definitely my favorite. Granted, the songs they sing are bit annoying and I find myself singing them at random times, I can tell educationally, she is really learning a lot about letters and sounds. The repetition and memorable songs and games are definitely working their way into little sponge of a brain.
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