Although young children develop at their own pace, most educators and developmental experts agree children should have a minimal academic and developmental skillset in place when they start kindergarten.
Common skills include good oral language abilities, the ability to listen and follow simple directions, basic letter and number recognition, color and shape recognition, and fine-motor skills. The use of technology while learning also should be part of a child’s academic skillset.
A good way teachers can introduce young learners to educational technology is by using an educational app to teach or reinforce basic academic concepts.
When choosing an app for young learners, a good one teachers should consider is “PEEP Which Fish” by WGBH Digital. It targets youngsters ages 3 to 8 and teaches them to identify colors and patterns. The free app, affiliated with the animated children’s educational television series “PEEP and the Big Wide World,” can be used on most smartphones and digital tablets.
The app also can help enhance other important developmental skills, including:
- Attention to details
- Cognitive development
- Color and shape recognition
- Fine-motor skills (for pre-kindergartners)
- Memory and retention
Audio prompts in the app help children with language and word recognition and following directions.
How it works
The app has a simple, colorful animated interface showing a school of eight fish swimming together under the sea. The fish all face forward, with the first seven appearing in various colors. The eighth fish always appears as white.
But there’s a catch: the fish colors are arranged in an unfinished pattern that players need to examine closely. Soon, three new fish in various colors appear below the original line of fish. An audio prompt asks players to use their finger to tap one of the new fish to replace the white fish above and complete the color pattern.
If a player selects the right color, a large “sailor” fish appears and offers congratulations and a new game is automatically started at a higher challenge level. Wrong answers have no penalties; players can take as long as they need to respond. Audio hints prompt players to continue trying until they choose the right color.
The app has a nice collection of interactive and dynamic features that keep the game moving and engage youngsters while they learn. The most helpful ones include:
- Audio prompts
- Colorful animated characters
- Multiple challenge levels
- Onscreen touch technology
The app can be especially helpful to children who are kinesthetic learners and thrive on movement and tactile activities while learning.
Content in the “PEEPS Which Fish” app is all-inclusive. Once it’s been downloaded onto a device, all content, including animation, music, voice prompts and games, will work without an Internet connection.
There are no advertisements or in-app purchases.
The “PEEP Which Fish” app by WBGH Digital is free and can be downloaded through Google Play and iTunes. It is compatible with smartphones and tablets running the Android operating system 2.2 or later. Apple users can play the app using iPhones or iPad tablets running iOS version 4.3 or later.Learn More: Click to view related resources.
- Leslie Barden Smith, "Kindergarten Readiness: Using Age or Skills in Assessing a Child’s Readiness," Dominican University of California