Pre-K HD review: 3 apps for your preschooler


Over the last few weeks, my Pre-K reviewer and I have been playing around with three apps by Holt Smith: Pre-K 123 HDPre-K Paper HD and Pre-K Rhyme HD.  Pre-K 123 and Pre-K Rhyme reinforce letter and number recognition for pre-schoolers, while Pre-K Paper allows for free form creations.

The Pre-K apps from Holt Smith are simple apps that will help reinforce number and letter recognition with young children, ages 3-6.  Using vibrant colors and engaging voices, children will have fun learning to trace words and numbers.  Younger children will gain familiarity with numbers and letters while older children will learn to recognize words and simple math equations.  With a few updates in a future release, these apps can become great tools for preschoolers. For a full description of all three apps, see below.

Pre-K 123 consists of 3 activities:

In ‘write’, kids are taught to write numbers 1 through 20 with numbered arrows guiding the way.  Each new number has a different colored background and there are many colors to choose from to use as “ink”.  Every time a color is tapped, a child’s voice announces the color’s name (“lime green”, “tangerine” etc.). Though try as I might, I could not find a way to make the app announce the name of the number we were tracing.  Once the child is finished, you can save his or her work in your device’s photo album.

In ‘add’, children are presented with an addition equation consisting of three flash cards each with a number and corresponding picture (i.e., 2 eggs +3 eggs =5 eggs). There are no directions here so it took a few minutes to get the hang of this.  With an upward or downward swiping motion, you can change each card individually.  Young kids can count the images on each card to add up to the number 10.  Here is the tricky part – in some cases 1+1 does not equal 2, such as if the first 1 has a pig, the other 1 has an owl, and the 2 has an egg.  Not only do the numbers have to be right, but each picture has to match too.  I think this is a little too hard for young children as it requires a lot of “flipping” to match all three numbers.  A great addition would be locking two matches in place so that once 2 numbers and pictures are correct, the child does not accidently change one while looking for the third.

Finally, ‘flash’ lets children swipe left to right to hear and see numbers 0 – 20 in numerical and picture form.    As I sit her writing this review, my little tester is playing and shouting out when she has all the matches and letting us know what they equal.  She loves finding her favorite pictures and lets us know when it’s going to be tricky.  In fact she just said “I love this. This is a fun game.”

Price: $1.99                      Requirements: Compatible with iPad. Requires iOS 5.1 or later.

See the app in iTunes


Pre-K Rhyme has a very similar format:

The first activity lets children trace letters similar in style to the numbers from Pre-K 123.  In this app, rather than 1 number per page, each page has 3 words that rhyme.  The first letter of each word has directions for tracing which once again can be done in a variety of identified colors.  I would love for each word to be spoken as well, since these words show up in the next activity. Tracing each letter’s upper and lower case is a great activity for young children learning the shapes of each letter.

In match, 3 flash cards are presented top to bottom. Each card has a picture and a word.  The words are not spoken; in a future release it would be a great addition to include the spoken word when you tap on a picture.  The trick for kids who cannot identify the word properly by the picture (a person looking into a cat’s eyes is a “vet” which may be hard for some kids) would then be to match each card by color.  When all three cards rhyme (all rhyming words are matched by color) a child’s voice reads the three words together (the three light blue cards are jet, vet and pet).  Here again, I would like to see the ability to lock two cards in place while searching for the third.

The flash cards in Pre-K Rhyme correlate to the matching activity.  Grouped in rhymes of three, each flash card is read out loud.  The “jet, vet, pet” card in this section is also in light blue.  For children having trouble with matching, the flash cards are a useful stop.

Price: $1.99        Requirements: Compatible with iPad. Requires iOS 5.1 or later.

See the app in iTunes


Pre-K Paper has a different format than the other two apps:

There are six activities to choose from including a number trace activity very similar to Pre-K 123 and an alphabet activity.  The alphabet trace lets children trace each letter of the alphabet, capital and lower case, using the same mix of colors.  This will be a useful tool for children beginning to learn letter shapes and may even help with handwriting!  There is no verbal identification of the letter for preschoolers playing alone.

There are four free-form activities included on Pre-K Paper: Unlined paper of different colors, lined paper of different colors, blank faces with different colors and 4 scenes (ocean, solar system, clouds and treasure map). The format of each of these is identical: choose from the variety of colors on the toolbar (the same colors we have seen in each app) and create a free form picture.  There are three different size pencils to choose from.

The lined paper in Pre-K paper is a nice addition for school work.  Teachers or home-schoolers using this app for their children can add words or equations that children can then copy on the next line.

Price: $1.99        Requirements: Compatible with iPad. Requires iOS 5.1 or later.

See the app in iTunes (full version) See the app in iTunes (lite version)


Disclosure: I received a free copy of these apps for review purposes.