STEAM iPad Apps: Learn and Play at Home!

Posted on Monday, December 7, 2020 by Jessica S

Hi! I’m Jessica, and normally, in a pre-COVID-19 world, I was in charge of finding iPad apps for the kiosks in the Children’s Services areas at our branches. Unfortunately, we live in a minimal-touch world right now, so, instead of switching out the apps like I normally would, I decided I would list out a couple of my favorite STEAM apps for iPads so you can play fun, STEAM-themed games at home!

I tried to include both paid apps and free apps from our library iPads. This is not a paid promotion; these are resources that come directly from library usage.

STEAM Apps for iPads

Composer’s Sketchpad by Alexei Baboulevitch

Click here to find it in the App Store: $3.99 (though it does take some trial and error)

Intended age range: 4+

The Composer’s Sketchpad has been one of my favorite apps to offer kids. It allows them to try out different instruments, compose music, save their work and make edits later. No musical experience is required! It allows kids to try things out for themselves, experiment with sound and share their work.

Of my recommendations today, this one is the hardest to engage with at first. It’s got a little bit of a learning curve, but once kids have mastered the basics, it’s really fun to jump right in and create!

Continue reading “STEAM iPad Apps: Learn and Play at Home!”

Not-So-Spooky Songs and Stories

Posted on Monday, October 26, 2020 by Kristy

Mother and child in witch costumeWhile we are doing lots of virtual story times, which are pretty awesome, I do miss in person story times! One of my favorite things to do during story time is to sing “Zoom Zoom Zoom” with our babies and toddlers. They absolutely love it! Usually we blast off to the moon in our rocket ships after this rhyme, but my awesome coworker has created new lyrics for our patrons who celebrate spooky season.

Zoom, Zoom, Zoom—Boo!

Zoom, zoom, zoom,
Climb onto my broom.
Zoom, zoom, zoom,
Climb onto my broom.
If you want to ride around,
to spook the people in the town.
Zoom, zoom, zoom,
Climb onto my broom.
In 5, 4, 3, 2, 1,

~By Erin (and inspired by Jbrary!)

Want to read some not-so-spooky books with your kids? Try out these eBooks on Hoopla! Continue reading “Not-So-Spooky Songs and Stories”

Beep Beep! Transportation iPad Apps

Posted on Monday, August 31, 2020 by Jessica S

Trucks! Cars! Cranes! Ambulances! Cement mixers! Monster trucks! Bulldozers! Firetrucks!

I feel like every child goes through a “vehicle” phase, in one way or another. Mine consisted of building pillow mountains that “avalanched” onto my toy train set. Kids love emergency vehicles, construction site vehicles, school buses and more!

Why not do some vehicle-watching with these fun library-approved iPad apps?

Vroom Vroom!

Trucks HD - by Duck Duck Moose on the App Store”Trucks HD” by Duck Duck Moose
Intended Age Range: 4+

Click here to find it in the App Store: Free!

“Trucks HD” includes 5 mini games that the user is in control of. There are traffic lights where the user can choose for the cars to go, slow down or stop. There is another where a sharp object puts a hole in a tire and the user must help replace it. Definitely a life simulation game with some small quirks to keep children entertained. Users can play and explore with all kinds of trucks and other vehicles in the town! Continue reading “Beep Beep! Transportation iPad Apps”

Virtual Activity Bundle: Star Wars

Posted on Monday, August 17, 2020 by Megan

Star Wars Virtual Activity BundleFrom a library not so far, far, away, I bring you the Star Wars Virtual Activity Bundle! Star Wars is a fandom that is as vast as the galaxy itself. I love just about everything Star Wars has to offer—from amazingly independent Princess Leia, fierce but cuddly Chewbacca, to the adorable Porgs. But don’t get me started on my obsession with “The Child” (aka Baby Yoda)! Below you will find Star Wars books, songs and crafts for kids 6-10, but really anyone can have fun with this list! Continue reading “Virtual Activity Bundle: Star Wars”

Virtual Activity Bundle: Germ Busters!

Posted on Tuesday, July 21, 2020 by Jerilyn

Virtual Activity Bundle: Germ Busters“Why do I have to wash my hands again?”

“Why do I need to wear a mask?”

“What is a germ?”

Have you heard these questions recently? Washing your hands and wearing a mask are great ways to stop the spread of germs and prevent sickness. However, both of those things can sometimes be not-so-fun for kids.

This Virtual Activity Bundle offers engaging ways for kids to wash their hands and interesting facts about germs. There are also resources that discuss how masks can protect them and aren’t so scary after all.

Continue reading “Virtual Activity Bundle: Germ Busters!”

Virtual Activity Bundle: Counting

Posted on Wednesday, July 8, 2020 by Jerilyn

Virtual Activity Bundle Counting

“5…4…3…2…1…blast off!” That’s the start of the song “Rocketship Run” by Laurie Berkner, a hit with kids and parents. Kids love to count! Backwards, forwards; it’s all fun. Numbers are everywhere in our daily lives.

I frequently hear questions like these from my grandkids:

  • “How many cookies may I have?”
  • “How many toy cars do you think I can I line up across the table?”
  • “How many cups can I stack before it all falls down?

I love getting these kinds of questions, because they are a great learning opportunity and can make math fun. If you and your child want to play with numbers, check out the resources and activities below. Continue reading “Virtual Activity Bundle: Counting”

Learn and Play at Home: Animal iPad Apps

Posted on Thursday, June 25, 2020 by Jessica S

Here at the library, we’ve tried out many apps on our iPads for kids. We strive to find apps that are both educational and fun! Animal apps are always a favorite with our young patrons. Whether they include numbers, patterns, fun noises or stories, animal apps are a great way to involve children with digital content.

Here are my favorite animal iPad apps:

Barnyard Dance is like a hoedown for your iPad. In a good way.

“Barnyard Dance” by Sandra Boynton

Click Here to Find it in the App Store: $2.99

Intended age range: 4+

This fun app comes with a lovely fiddle accompaniment as John Stey reads Sandra Boynton’s “Barnyard Dance.” The app opens on a table with a board book that the user can open and flip the pages. The pictures are interactive, so young hands can “slide” with the sheep or cluck with the chickens. Definitely fun for engaging children with the material they’re reading.

Continue reading “Learn and Play at Home: Animal iPad Apps”

The Case for Video Games

Posted on Thursday, May 28, 2020 by Tess

Tess playing ZeldaGrowing up, my family didn’t own gaming consoles. They were expensive, and, according to my parents, a waste of time. Thus, going into my teen years, I had a rather disdainful outlook toward the “gamers” of the world. I couldn’t understand the obsession with sitting in front of a TV for hours on end, mashing buttons. 

But then I met my (now) husband. He was funny, an accomplished musician, an A student, active in his scout troop and yet he still played video games. After a few years of dating, he finally convinced me to play The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. To say I was skeptical was an understatement; really I was just doing this for him as a birthday gift. I figured, elementary school kids can do it, how hard can it be? Oh boy, was my snooty little patootie about to learn just how much I’d been misjudging gamers.  Continue reading “The Case for Video Games”

Virtual Activity Bundle: Food

Posted on Wednesday, May 20, 2020 by Megan

Virtual Activity Bundle: FoodFood can be an extremely fun topic for preschoolers. Food can be delicious (chicky nuggies), divisive (peas: a food…or a projectile?) or it can be the perfect accessory to any outfit (why yes, this is a new ketchup stain, thanks for noticing).

Use the resources below to explore everything from how we grow food to making your own dinner. You and your kiddo may want to grab a snack before chowing down on these activities!  Continue reading “Virtual Activity Bundle: Food”