David Wiesner’s Spot: Pinch-to-Zoom to Choose Your Own Story

Start from the working desk inside the bug house and travel across five imaginative worlds.Start from the working desk inside the bug house and travel across five imaginative worlds.

Imagine a storybook app that doesn’t have text in it. You can’t swipe left or right to navigate either. Many kids would probably dismiss it immediately because they are unable to interact and understand what the story is about.

That was exactly how my kids first reacted to David Wiesner’s Spot. But once I showed them that they can use the pinch-to-zoom gesture to navigate the app, they have really enjoyed its wordless world. Never before I experienced a reading session in which my kids asked so many questions. We ended up having lengthy, interesting discussions about how we could interpret the story.

Find the Portals and Zoom to Transport Yourself

You start your journey by zooming in on the ladybug to reveal a small house inside a lake on an island. Zooming in further will transport you inside the bug house, where you can find a desk stuffed with various items. Some of these items are actually portals that can transport you to five imaginative worlds created by David Wiesner. You may want to remember these portal items: the sandwich, the drawings, the newspaper article, the blue pencil, and the cookie.

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Improve Fine Motor Skills by Tracing Patterns of Animals in Labo Fabric Friends

Trace shapes to cut the fabric and paste them together to create your own favorite animals.Trace shapes to cut the fabric and paste them together to create your own favorite animals.

Having a fully-developed set of fine motor skills is very important for kids to start learning how to write. The skills include coordinating small muscle movements and synchronizing hands, fingers, and eyes. Kids can practice and develop these skills over time, for example by using thumb and other fingers to pick up small things.

As parents, you can also help improving your kids’ fine motor skills by tracing lines and patterns on the iPad. Labo Fabric Friends is a good example for this. Using various templates, kids can trace and cut fabric to form cute animals, such as bear, rabbit, and pig.

Create and Play with Your Fabric Friends

The first thing you do in Labo Fabric Friends is choosing which animals you want to make, based on the sketches available in the main menu. These include fox, sheep, elephant, lion, deer, panda, penguin, and cow.

Once you select an animal, you can start tracing shapes according to that animal’s template. By tracing the shape, you automatically cut the fabric and paste it on a piece of paper. To complete the shape of an animal, you may need to cut several fabric pieces — which may come from different fabric types.

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Daniel Tiger's Grr-ific Feelings Wants to Help Kids Learn about Their Feelings

Daniel Tiger’s Grr-ific Feelings includes 18 music videos to show examples of how Daniel and his friends are experiencing the different feelings.

My boys love the Daniel Tiger TV series. Maybe it’s the fact that Daniel is a four-year-old tiger that makes the stories easy for my kids to relate to. They also enjoy playing the Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood apps. The first app, called Play at Home, lets kids get familiar with Daniel and his home. The second app, Day & Night, focuses more on his morning and night routines.

Just recently, PBS Kids released a brand new Daniel Tiger’s app called Grr-ific Feelings. It is designed to help kids learn more about their feelings through various examples in Daniel’s life.

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Learn Phonics as You Teach Your Monster to Read

Help each Island King reclaim their missing letters and in return, they will help you rebuild your spaceship.

I’ve said this more than once, but kids really learn best when they’re playing and having fun. That’s why I always get excited over new apps that bring a fun learning environment for my kids.

My app pick for today is called Teach Your Monster to Read: First Steps. It’s a great iPad game for kids ages 3+ who want to learn phonics the fun way.

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Help Orphaned Siblings Rebuild Their Family Tree in The Great Ghost Chase

Kids explore a haunted castle to construct a family tree in The Great Ghost Chase.

I remember when I was asked by my four-year-old’s kindergarten teacher to draw our family tree. My son was supposed to bring it to school and present it to the class. I had not imagined how hard it must be for orphans to draw their family trees, until I read The Great Ghost Chase.

It’s an adventure game book from Audois & Alleuil, the developer who brought us SOS Dinos in Distress and The Poppin Princess. Reading the book requires you to pay close attention, make decisions, and solve riddles. It’s a great fit for kids ages 8+ who want to be more than passive readers.

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