Happy Fall, my friends! Now that the Big Kids around you are back to their routines, it’s time to look for some new Favorite preschool education tools. Whether your oldest is just now ready for them, or you’re looking for something for the younger kids while the big kids are busy (homeschooling or off to school), I want to share some of our favorite preschool resources with you. These are 3-4-year-old tested, and mom and (homeschool) Grandma approved. They learn things without even realizing that’s what’s happening, and that’s my favorite way to learn!
I don’t have regular ‘lesson times’ with my 4-year-old. However, he is eager to learn and many of these favorites are kid driven, needing little assistance. He’s very close to accidentally learning to read, so my goal for this next month is to spend extra time on the Early Readers that we have, so he will have more opportunities.
?Note that this post contains affiliate links, which at no extra cost to you if you make a purchase, I get a small commission. For my full disclosure, click here.
Favorite Preschool Phone Apps
These are our favorite preschool apps on our Android phones, though they may be available on other platforms as well.
ABC Kids Tracing & Phonics: A lion leads the kids along tracing uppercase and lowercase letters, practicing letter recognition, and matching upper and lowercase letters together. There are ‘prizes’ after every x number of problems.
Cracker Barrel Games: Yes, an odd choice, but he loves it! There is memory match, spot the differences, and the peg game, primarily, but he also enjoys (with help) solitaire, Letter Blocks (jumbled letters you get to unscramble), and the map. Haven’t tried checkers yet, I bet he’ll be really good at it.
Dinosaur Train Jurassic Junior: There is counting and math, size comparison, and creativity here. And I haven’t noticed them getting into how many years ago things happened in the app, so I don’t have to think about that.
Duolingo Learn Languages Free: This one is pretty cool for any age! There are short lessons, that build on each other. This one definitely requires assistance, but you get to practice sight words in 2 languages, and they learn so fast! We’re working on Spanish, and he asks me to practice with him fairly often. There are currently 23 languages for English speakers to learn, as well as many options for other languages.
Potty Time: there’s everything here from a sticker chart to helpful videos and storybooks, and a “Call Rachel” feature, where there’s 2 short, prerecorded videos, that act like a phone call/video chat. Your child can call Rachel with a success or a failure(accident) and she is SO encouraging. He still asks to call Rachel sometimes, so I have kept this one handy.
Starfall ABCs: This app has songs, sign language, letter recognition, sounds and context with simple sentences. It also includes some games, his favorites being geometry and measurement, patterns and moving objects around in a 3D space.
Favorite Preschool Kindle Fire & iPad Apps
These apps are our favorite preschool activities on the Kindle Fire.
Monkey Word School Adventures: Mazes, Sounds, Tracing, Fill In the Blanks, He plays this one probably the longest stretches of any of the apps listed. And can do quite a bit without help! They give good instructions with the best directional on-screen prompts.
Fun Learning Adventures A to Z Games: it covers Shapes and Colors, Patterns and Sizes, Letters and Numbers, Memory Match, etc. Another definite favorite.
We recently signed up for Amazon’s Freetime Unlimited program. You guys, this is Awesome!! you have a safe environment full of thousands of kid-friendly fun and educational apps, shows, and books. Our current favorites are WordWorld and Wild Kratts. My son said the other day ‘I wish we lived in WordWorld, I could make all kinds of things!!‘
You set time limits and goals for each category: apps, shows, books, Audible books (what, you haven’t tried Audible yet? You know you can get Two Free audiobooks right?)
Your first month is FREE and it costs less than my favorite smoothie each month afterwards! You can download the Freetime app on other devices, besides the Kindle Fire.
(First Kids Puzzles) Dinosaurs: it’s an ABC puzzle app with progressive levels. Level one, is just the dinosaur puzzles, level 2 adds the letters, with prompts, because it needs to be put together in alphabetical order, and level 3 with no prompts, but still needs to be done in order. Can be set for Upper or Lowercase. These apps are our current favorite preschool tools for iPad, though they are probably available on other platforms as well.
Cubbies Verse Music: a great singalong memory verse app, whether you’re in AWANA or not!
Owlegories: a neat app where the Owls attending TheOwlogy school learn about the Sun (Son). We hear lots of facts about the Sun and the Son, and there are fun animations that little guys can trigger.
Favorite Preschool DVDs
Here are our favorite preschool educational tools in the DVD department. They worked so well for us, I had to share!
GO Diego GO! For learning about animals, and a little Spanish into the bargain.
Hermie and Friends, the Good Sports Gang, Boz the Bear and On the Farm with Farmer Bob for faith building Life lessons.
Magic School Bus for Science lessons. He has No Idea what he’s learning here, but building these basic concepts now, before he studies them in school, is great! He’ll watch this for hours, and there’s only a couple of episodes that teach things we don’t believe. In the Dinosaur Episode and a couple of other places, they talk about the age of the earth (millions of years), which we don’t believe, but it is a conversation starter, talking about the Bible/Young Earth. Basically we talk about the Magic is pretend but most of the science is pretty accurate.
(We have almost ALL of the LEAPFROG DVDS, so I had to make a separate section, and narrow it down a bit for you)
Leapfrog: Letter Factory: Watching this one for a couple of weeks, he learned to recognize all of the letters, and memorized all of their sounds with almost no effort. ? Yay!!!
It’s followed by The Talking Words Factory, where Tad learns about how each letter sound, when squeezed together with a couple of others, becomes the sounds you hear in different words, and how vowels are the glue that sticks the words together.
Then the Word Caper, where the Complex Words Complex, is added on to the letter factory/word factory where you learn about silent E, and letter Blends, and ‘When 2 vowels go walking, the 1st one does the talking’ which I thought was a very good way to explain things!
For numbers, our favorites are Numbers Ahoy, Math on the Moon and Counting on Lemonade. These have great numbers/counting and adding/subtracting songs and storylines, and the benefit of choices. If your kid likes fish/underwater then go with Numbers Ahoy, if Space/adventures are more their thing, then Math on the Moon. If it’s the more practical aspect of doing things that appeals to your family, then Counting on Lemonade. My one note on Counting on Lemonade, they use coins, but the coins are single value, not our pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters. So if you’re looking for simple math, it works, but if you want US Currency lessons, it doesn’t.
Other LEAPFROG favorites: Amazing Word Explorers, Letter Machine Rescue Team, and The Magnificent Museum of Opposite Words.
Favorite Preschool Games
Dominoes: We play this a lot. Matching numbers, following simple rules, taking turns…
Spelling Bugs: We get to do a puzzle, then find the missing letters to complete the words and race with the bugs all the way to the picnic.
Boggle Junior: is well designed for the beginning reader. There are cards with pictures and simple 3-4 letter words, and your typical boggle dice. For beginners, you just match the letters. Then, there’s a cover, and you can cover the word, but leave the picture showing, or cover the picture, and they can read the words.
A Few Other Favorite Preschool Education Ideas
We do have coloring time and we’re LOVING these Spring Loaded Safety-Scissors-little hands can close scissors but have a harder time opening them up again, so these new scissors solve that problem! We also use activity sheets and workbooks found at the dollar store for a more structured activity sometimes.
Almost anything can become a favorite preschool education tool. I started talking to my little guy about where we were and what came next as we drove around our county even before he was talking. He now knows how to get almost anywhere we go regularly (or once, if it was really fun). For the last couple of weeks, we’ve talked about caution signs. He now points them out, and a decent number of them, he tells me what they mean. Helping with chores (laundry, dishes, sweeping…) can be made into a game, and teach life skills at the same time. If you have the attitude of FUN, they will enjoy and learn from it. It may be more work for you now, to include them, but it will pay off big when they are older. Both at your house and at their own, when they move out someday.
Did I miss your favorite? Let me know what it was, we’d probably love it! And Share this with anyone who’s looking for ideas!
I never thought to try Dominos with my son, I bet he’d really enjoy it. Plus it’s a good traveling game to bring with us on holiday. This is a great list!
Thanks! And a comment over on my Facebook page last night, I thought I should share here: having printed letter charts (upper and lower case) to point to while watching Dvds adds another of the senses. Or, if you have an active learner, try the foam letter floor mats and hopscotch through the alphabet while watching.
Love this list, Aryn! We do a LOT of physical/kinesthetic activities with letters, numbers, etc, so this hopscotch while watching a show idea is BRILLIANT. Will definitely be trying that one. 🙂 Mini-Me LOVES the LeapFrog videos, too. I’m pretty sure she has The Amazing Alphabet Amusement Park & Counting Lemonade memorized. ;)~
Cool! Yes, it was the Letter Factory and Alphabet Amusement Park that we started with hopscotch. I figured if Tad was moving, we should too. Help make that brain connection with motion 🙂
This is a wonderful list! Our grandboy is just turning 2, and I’ve already been looking for things to do with him. What did your son enjoy when he was 2?
We didn’t have smartphones then, but he would probably have enjoyed the ABC tracing app, Starfall ABCS, the dinosaur puzzle maybe? We did start with Boz the Bear and Farmer Bob dvds, and easy leapfrog videos (links above) when he was 2, and he had his alphabet down pat complete with sounds within a few weeks, and didn’t even realize it! Playing with cars or other small toys and counting them, blocks, matching dominos…