I wanted to compose a list of some Apple apps (iPad/iPod/iPhone) that are based on the Montessori approach. The true Montessorians will argue that technology shouldn’t replace the kids using actual manipulatives… and I have to agree. There is something about holding the shapes in your hands, touching the different sides of a geometric figure, or feeling the scratchy sandpaper when tracing letters. With that said, I am in love with most of these Montessori apps. They make learning mobile and more activities are available for those of us with limited space. My daughter loves most of the apps we have played with and to me that is SO important. I want her to learn, but I don’t want her to hate the learning process!
I divided the apps into Montessori categories. Some of these apps we have, others we have only played with the lite versions. If you have any Montessori apps that you would love to add to this list, please let me know!
Pink towers: This is the one app on the list we don’t have. It seems pretty cute, but at this time it isn’t something I am interested in purchasing.
Pink towers and brown stairs lite: My daughter has enjoyed playing with the lite version of this app. Like with all these apps, there is a hands-on experience that is missing. However, it is a good app for teaching sorting small to large and following pictorial instructions. I am happy with the lite version.
Intro to numbers: This app has gotten great reviews. It also has a wonderful look and feel about it, but it doesn’t provide that all important tactile experience. I am sure that actually handling the Montessori manipulatives would be much more engaging and educational! With that said, it is an app that I would recommend to anyone teaching their child number recognition.
Math cabinet (free with ads): We have played with the lite version. If you can handle the ads, it’s a pretty good app for teaching number recognition. I would definitely check this app out!
Geometry cabinet: This app is great at teaching a variety of shapes with a Montessori-like approach. Not quite Montessori because it is without the tactile experience (which is the case with all these apps).I love that this app doesn’t dummy down the shape names… My biggest complaint is that the puzzle is put together in the same order every time, which means my daughter has the order of shapes memorized instead of the shape names.
100s board lite: This app is a little above my daughter’s head. I like the concept of this app, especially that your little one can see visual patterns in our numbers (such as counting by 10s starting at 1: 1, 11, 21, 31, 41, etc.). We have played with the lite version and will definitely be purchasing this app in the future!
Intro to letters: This app has stellar reviews. It is a good app for teaching letters and sounds. However, I am not 100% impressed. The digital sandpaper letters just don’t give you that hands on experience. I might like it more if my daughter didn’t know her letters and sounds already. However, I do love that it teaches phonograms.
Alphawriter: This is my favorite reading app because the child can explore the sound of letters and some vowel and conosonant digraphs. Not my daughters favorite, but from one educator to another I love it! A great app for making words, sorting words and sounds, and writing sentences.
Montessori Crosswords: This is a strong spelling based app. I love that there are different levels that will provide my daughter with a longer experience spelling and reading words. Although my little one is great at spelling three letter words (and this app provides practice with them) her attention span is a little short for this app. I am sure we will get many hours of spelling practice with this app in the future!
Geography Puzzle: I have to say this is one of my daughter’s favorite apps. She is very curious about states and this is a simple yet educational puzzle. This app doesn’t randomize the order of adding pieces to the puzzle. I also wish you could just explore the puzzle by clicking and removing a few pieces at a time. The eastern states are very hard to see as well. But taking all that into consideration,my daughter has learned from and loves this app!
As I have said many times throughout this post, none of these apps will give you the real hands on Montessori experience. But for those with limited space or like learning on the go- these apps are great!
I didn’t receive any compensation for reviewing these posts other than the happy feeling of seeing my daughter learn and grow!
Starfall has a letter-learning app but I don’t know if it counts as Montessori? (www.starfall.com, the app is advertised at the top of the page) My 2-yr old loves it and is starting to be able to recognise some letters and understand the concept of sorting upper- and lower-case letters. The app is identical to the abc section of their website, except that you pay for it – but then you have it for in the car or wherever.
I love your blog and use your lessons quite frequently.
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I want to mention that while the Intro to Letters app may take the actual tactile part of the sandpaper letters out, it does aid the techno savvy learners. My son was struggling with letter sounds in his Montessori class but when the iPad was brought in with this app, he quickly caught up. Maria Montessori made materials to compliment each style of learning 100 years ago. Due to a shift in society and technology, there is now a new style of learning. I can’t see replacing things such as the pink tower or red rods but for something like letter sounds, I’m sure Maria Montessori would have loved to have an iPad if it were available then. The ABC Magic apps are really good as well and are completely free.