4 of the Best Apps that Promote Preschool Language Development

Image via Mindi Stavish

I now have two kids in elementary school who are tablet-obsessed. I admit, I am much too lenient when it comes to their amount of screen time. As a single mom of three boys, thirty minutes to an hour of peace is worth it to me. Fortunately, there are plenty of great games and apps that also work on language skills. My youngest son, Ryker, is three and also loves the tablet. Here are some of my favorite apps that promote language skills for preschoolers.

Language Learning App
Image via Toca Boca

Toca Boca Kitchen

Toca Boca Kitchen is a simple game, where your child pretends to cook. Surprisingly, this app contains no verbal instruction or expressive language output other than a few silly sounds, and music. In order for your child to get the most language learning from the game, an adult should guide the child through the game.

Language Learning Tips:

  1. Talk to your child about all the different food types. If your child can name all the food items, work on categories. Have him or her pick out all the fruits vs. vegetables vs. meats.
  2. Once your child has selected a food item, talk about all the different options there are for cooking it, using action words (blend, fry, warm, chop, etc).
  3. Depending on what was chosen, talk about the steps to cooking or preparing the food item using that tool.
  4. Once the food is cooked the character will then proceed to eat the prepared food. He or she may or may not eat it. If the food is not preferred the character will spit it out or not try to eat it at all. Ask your child simple questions about the characters behaviors.
Preschool Language Apps

Speech with Milo

This app uses the forward facing camera to place your child in the game, which makes learning about nouns so much fun. My favorite part about the app is that the nouns are separated into basic categories (such as toys, food, and animals) so it's easy to teach your child about categories, as well as all the amazing vocabulary words included in the app. My son's favorite part about the app is that we can record our sentences and then play them back.

Image via Mindi Stavish

The Monster at the End of This Book

The developers of this app turned one of my favorite childhood books into an incredibly interactive and adorable story app. My son's favorite part about this book is that Grover tells you to turn the page, which works on direction following. The animation and narration are super cute and often times sarcastic. I love that this app works on many different language and communication skills, including humor, description words, answering questions, verbs, and sequencing events. 

{ MORE: Teaching Kids How to Wait Without Electronics }

Image via screenshot

Things That Go from Story Toys

This is another great app created from a picture book. It's narrated and has simple single words, so is great for early literacy skills. Each “page” of the book has large pictures of transportation vehicles. When your child presses on each the corresponding word pops up. If they tap the item a second time, a sound effect is heard. Each page is a different category of vehicles, which is a great way to introduce your child to new vocabulary. For example, on the train page there is a locomotive, streetcar, high-speed train, and steam train. There are also three other apps similar to this one – On the Farm, Zoo Animals, and First Words. All are equally as great for teaching your child new vocabulary in an interactive way.

Image via screenshot

Grandma's Preschool

My son loves all the different games, challenges and puzzles in the app Grandma's Preschool. The app is focused around Grandma, who walks children through her educational classroom. I love this app because it has several different games that teach about letters, science vocabulary, color concepts, numbers, and much more.

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Do you have any favorite educational apps?

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4 of the Best Apps that Promote Preschool Language Development

Mindi is a working mom with three boys ages 4, 2, and an infant (born June 2013). She spent her first 8 years of her career in Speech-Language Pathology at a Children's Hospital. She currently works with adults and children in home health. The real fun for her happens when she is at home with her boys, chasing them around and pretending to be a super hero. She blogs about life as a working mom at Simply Stavish. Her weekly feature, Words in the Sand, teaches parents how to grow their child's s ... More

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