The Best Educational Apps For Preschool Lesson Enrichment

Technology is quickly becoming more prevalent in preschool classrooms. When used correctly, classroom technology equipment such as tablets and interactive panels support child development and help children learn through play. 

As an early childhood professional, you want to ensure that any equipment you bring into the classroom will be safe and easy for children (and yourself) to use. You also want to ensure that any apps or games the children play will be developmentally appropriate and will support the educational experiences you provide. 

Digital safety and developmentally appropriate practices are our top priority here at Kaplan. We understand this is a major concern for early childhood professionals, parents, and family members who entrust their children to your care. That is why our technology team works tirelessly to research and develop educational apps that are digitally secure and developmentally appropriate and introduce children to enriching activities that build on the educational experiences their teachers provide. 

If you are searching for educational apps that will enrich your classroom lessons and learning center rotations, keep reading. This article shares a list of our favorite educational apps and how they benefit the development of children in the preschool classroom. 

What is the benefit of using apps and tech devices in my classroom?

The benefit of incorporating educational apps and technology equipment in your classroom goes far beyond the cognitive growth that occurs as children play. Yes, these devices and activities build the foundations of early literacy and math. Still, they also teach children how to play collaboratively with others and how to solve problems through exploration. 

Classroom technology also supports children of varying abilities. For example, children playing a game on an interactive display panel use fine motor movements and auditory and visual cues to complete a task and move on to the next level of gameplay. By engaging all of the senses in this way, children will have an easier time retaining the skills and information they learn through play. 

The best educational apps for literacy development:

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Endless Alphabet

Help children build the foundations of reading success with Endless Alphabet, an interactive and educational app. Delightful animations and friendly monsters will keep children engaged as they study the letters of the alphabet, learn to spell, and explore word definitions. There are no levels to complete so children can explore the letters and literacy concepts at their own pace. 

Pre-Writing Software

The Pre-Writing Software app features activities that support the development of fine motor skills children will need later on as they learn to hold a pencil and write letters. While playing, children will select a pebble on the screen and watch as fish create its pattern in the rock pool. They can then use their fingers to trace the shape on the screen and practice their early writing skills. 

Letter Recognition

Introduce children to uppercase and lowercase letters and their letter sounds with the fun matching game Letter Recognition. To play, children will select a pair of letter stones, hear their name and sound, and then watch to see if they match. Non-matching stones will flip back over so the children can try again. This app functions like a memory match game and is a great way to help children develop spatial awareness while working their memory muscles. 

Letters alive Zoo Keeper 8.0™

Bring all five components of the Science of Reading to life with Letters alive Zoo Keeper 8.0. While technically a classroom program, Letters alive introduces children to early literacy concepts with the help of 3D augmented reality technology. This program includes a free app, alphabet cards, and downloadable lesson plans to help children build phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary, and reading comprehension. While playing, children will also learn science concepts such as how animals move, where they live, what they eat, and more. 

The best educational apps for mathematics development:

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Number Patterns and Bonds

Introduce children to early math concepts with the Number Patterns and Bonds app. This educational app helps children with number recognition, counting numbers 1-10, and simple addition. To play, children move ladybugs and bumblebees across the screen to solve simple math problems. 

Khan Academy

Designed by early childhood experts, Khan Academy encourages learning through exploration with thousands of educational games, books, and activities. Peck the Hummingbird teaches children about numbers and counting, while Sandy the Dingo introduces them to shapes, sorting, and memory puzzles. 

Count, Match, and Order

Children will enjoy learning alongside friendly insects in the Count, Match, and Order app. While playing, children will build early mathematics skills such as counting numbers 1-10, matching by number, and working on simple math sequences. Each game has two levels, which help children extend their learning as they play.

Math alive Zoo Keeper 8.0™

Math alive Zoo Keeper 8.0 makes learning fun by introducing children to a world of 3D animals and early mathematics concepts. While using the free app, number cards, and Zoo Keeper Guide, children will learn how to count, solve simple math problems, sort objects, create patterns, and more. 

The best educational apps for STEM development:

A young boy looks down at a tablet, on the screen is an image from the Precoding Penguins app.

Pre-Coding Penguins

Children will love building their beginner coding skills while playing the Pre-Coding Penguins app. Playful penguins teach early STEM concepts such as pattern-making, spatial positioning, and problem-solving throughout the various activities in this app. Children can move the penguins in line to create directional patterns and use directional cues to guide penguins around and out of icy mazes. 

Toca Boca

The various activities in the Toca Boca family of apps will bring out the budding scientists and engineers in your classroom. Children can grow and experiment with plants, build towers and structures with the help of Toca builders, and so much more. With close to 50 different apps to choose from, Toca Boca has something for every classroom.

Match and Measure

Future paleontologists will enjoy excavating dinosaur bones while playing the Match and Measure app. Children will build early math skills by comparing, measuring, and investigating each bone they uncover. The activities in this game progress in difficulty as children go, helping to expand their knowledge and mathematics skills. 

The best educational apps for group lessons and cooperative play:

Two children sit on an Alive Studios rug, they are looking down at a tablet, which one of the children is holding in her lap.

Learning alive Zoo Keeper 8.0™

Learning alive Zoo Keeper 8.0, while technically a supplemental instructional support program, this software uses 3D Augmented Reality technology to teach children foundational literacy, mathematics, and science skills. The 3D animals introduce new concepts, encourage collaborative play, and make learning fun for every child. Learning alive Zoo Keeper 8.0 combines Letters alive Zoo Keeper 8.0 and Math alive Zoo Keeper 8.0. 

What should you consider about an app before adding it to your classroom devices?

There are several things to consider before downloading apps to your classroom devices. 

  1. What are the age requirements of the app, and does this fit the age ranges of children in your classroom?
  2. Can you customize gameplay so that the app will meet the learning needs of each child in your classroom?
  3. Does the app incorporate multiple levels of play that increase in difficulty as the child moves through them?
  4. Can children play solo, in pairs, or small groups?
  5. How well do the apps' activities fit into your weekly/daily lesson plans?
  6. How much does the app cost to download?
  7. What device will you need for children to play the app?
  8. Does the app require specific software or an internet connection for children to play the games and activities?

Before giving children access to any app on your classroom devices, you must play the games and activities yourself. This will provide you with firsthand knowledge of the information children will encounter so that you can decide if the app is appropriate for your classroom. 

If parents and caregivers are concerned about the apps you intend to use in your classroom, suggest they meet with you so that you can show them the apps in action. Allow them to test out the activities, ask questions, and voice any lingering concerns they may have. This meeting is also an excellent opportunity to share your digital safety plan and how you will keep children safe and secure while playing on devices in the classroom. 

What happens next?

There are so many educational apps available for download today. This article highlights a few of our favorites and what makes them a great option for your classroom. Now, all that you have left to do is download your favorites and encourage children to play. 

If you have any questions about the apps mentioned above, classroom technology options, or how to set up a technology center in your classroom, please contact a Kaplan technology team member today. They are up-to-date on all things classroom technology and will be more than happy to assist you. 

Send an email to the Kaplan technology team:
Give the Kaplan technology team a call: 800-533-2166

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