10 Must Have Educational Christmas Apps

10 Educational Christmas Apps pic

You better watch out, You better not cry
You better not pout, I’m telling you why..
iTeach: Apps for the Classroom has the best apps for you.
I’ve been making a list, and checking it twice,
To try to find apps that will en-tice!
This page has the best apps for you.

Who said learning and Christmas fun can’t go together? 
The 10 Must Have Educational Christmas Apps can be used at school or at home. 

Ho Ho Ho!

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Kids Christmas Pattern Game logoKids Christmas Pattern Game
by Laura Bangerter facebook logo

(Universal iDevice – Free )
Kids Christmas Pattern Game is a fun educational game for kids from 4 years. The game is played by identifying a picture that is missing from a pattern or sequence. The game gets progressively harder; from simple to complex repeating patterns and sequences.  This a great app for developing mathematical thinking and visual discrimination. Children will love this app. Check it out!

Christmas matching game logoChristmas Matching Game
by Good Neighbor Press facebook logo

(iPad – Currently $0.99)
Christmas Matching Game requires players to identify images that match with target images. They must then drag and drop them alongside the target. It is a short fun festive game, and is ideal for students with short attention spans or that require alternative modes of learning. It is great for developing visual discrimination, memory and fine motor skills in a fun and festive way. Check it out!

Santa's tap and match logoSanta’s Tap & Match
by Cambridge English Online facebook logo
(iPad and iPhone version – Free)
Santa’s Tap & Match is a memory game that involves concentrating on a sequence of events involving 4 Christmas picture tiles, recalling the steps in the sequence and reproducing it. Some tiles also have audio which may support players that are still developing their visual discrimination and memory skills. The sequences get longer and quicker as the game progresses. Santa’s Tap & Match is ideal for young learners and learners with special needs. Check it out!

Snowman Math logoSnowman Math (Santa’s Christmas Village)
by EnsenaSoftfacebook logo

(Universal iDevice – $0.99)
Snowman Math involves your children answering simple addition and subtraction questions. The snowman is made from random parts so it is not always the same snowman each time the game is played. It has great music and festive sound effects. Children can visualise the numbers in the form of candy canes. This helps with early counting and is useful for learners that need visual supports. It includes a point system and rewards. Snowman Math is suitable for ages up to about 8 years. Check it out!

Christmas Jigsaw puzzles 123 logoChristmas Jigsaw Puzzles for Kids 123 – Fun Learning Game for Kids by GiggleUp Kids Apps 
(iPad and iPhone versions – FREE) facebook logo
This fun festive jigsaw puzzle app is suitable for children aged 1-6 years. You can customise the  number of pieces from 2 up to 16, to suit your child’s level of game play. Select a puzzle subject by pressing an object that is missing from the main picture. Cute pictures and playful animations are sure to make this puzzle game a favourite. Christmas Jigsaw Puzzles 123 helps to improve concentration, problem solving, and memory. This app will be a favourite with younger children. Check it out!

First words christmas logoFirstWords Christmas by Learning Touch facebook logo
(Universal iDevice – $1.99)
FirstWords Christmas is a festive spelling app designed for children aged to about 7 years. It has 40 beautifully illustrated Christmas words and matching holiday sounds, including sled, chimney, star and more. You will find all your favourite festive words here. As children tap the letter they can hear the letter name being said and when the word is complete, the word is spelled and the related animation moves. FirstWords Christmas is sure to make your children merry!

Christmas PostPad logoChristmas ~ PostPad by Tapfuze
(iPad – Currently $0.99 from $1.99)
Christmas ~ PostPad is a magical way to build and share beautifully crafted holiday cards with your family and friends. There are over 19 custom designs. This app could be used for home or school. At school, it could be used as part of a literacy activity or for just fun festive creativity. Children can add their own photos and then save the completed cards or email them to family and friends. Christmas ~ PostPad helps to foster creativity in children (and adults) of all ages!

Preschool Christmas Kitty logoPreschool Christmas Kitty by Irina Koenig
(Universal iDevice – $1.99) facebook logo
Preschool Christmas Kitty is a jolly jingle app designed to educate children in a fun and festive way. It features over 230 games including:  matching objects; spot the difference; where is the object?; picture puzzles; patterns; catch the snowflakes; and find the right images. Preschool Christmas Kitty is suitable for children aged up to about 6 years. Children receive rewards and parents/educators can track progress. It is sure to be popular with many children.

TES Christmas HD logoTES Christmas HD by TSL Education Ltd
(iPad and iPhone – FREE) facebook logo
TES Christmas features 3 educational maths games with a Christmas theme. Great for school use, and fun for all of the family. The games are: Elf Flinger – where children fling Santa’s elves into the air to catch the presents; Bell Ringer – where children have to copy a sequence of bells; and Add with Santa – where children win carrots for Rudolph by solving addition questions. TES Christmas helps to build math fluency, memory and motivation, and hand-eye coordination. It is fun and engaging, and children won’t even realise that  they are learning!

Scrap It christmas HD logoScrap It: Christmas HD by Dirk Bost
(iPad – FREE – IAP $0.99)
Scrap It: Christmas HD brings out the inner creativity in you and your children. Designed to be used before and after the holidays, it is just like using regular scrapbooking materials. Scrap It: Christmas can be used for Christmas collages in the classroom, as a gift for parents or relatives, or as a tool for other curriculum subjects. Children (young and old) will love making new festive themed scrap pages!

Please CLICK the images below for
more great Christmas Apps!

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10 Must Have Fun Christmas Apps

top10funxmasapps

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house,
not a creature was stirring … except for Santa Klaus
[work with me and rhyme it with house!].
The stockings were hung by the mantle with care,
in hopes that new iPads would soon be in there!

This list won’t help the children receiving iPads on the BIG day
but if you already have one, check out iTeach: Apps for the Classroom’s fun Christmas array. 

Ho Ho Ho!

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slingin' santa logoSlingin’ Santa By Zivix LLC facebook logo
(Universal iDevice – Free )

Slingin’ Santa is a fun game for kids under 11 years. The player is required to launch presents into the chimneys of passing houses, but only for the good kids, not the naughty ones! The levels increase in difficulty and require children to use a little bit of strategic thinking and hand-eye coordination. This will be a firm favourite with the kids (big and small!).

racing santa logoRacing Santa by Top Free Games facebook logo
(Universal iDevice – Currently Free;  was $0.99)
Racing Santa is great fun for kids that are over 4 years old. It is a physics based slide and jump game where the player is required to control Santa to complete each level by travelling a certain distance. Make sure that Santa completes the level before the grinch-like monster gets him. The game has 5 worlds and 40 levels. Each level gets progressively harder. I love this one.

Cut the rope xmas logoCut The Rope: Holiday Gift by Chillingo facebook logo
(Universal iDevice – Free;  Full version $4.99)
Cut The Rope: Holiday Gift is a great physics based game. Swipe your finger to cut the ropes and feed Om Nom candy. Think before you cut though. There are many obstacles, which include spiders and spikes. In this app you can also make greeting cards and watch animations of Om Nom exploring the real world. Twenty five of 75 levels are available for free. I think it’s a great app and enjoy playing it myself!

santas crazy reindeerSantas Crazy Reindeer by Nice Touch Games facebook logo
(Universal iDevice – Currently Free;  was $0.99)
Santas Crazy Reindeer is an entertaining game where the player must round up Santa’s escaped reindeer by drawing a rope around them, and then guide them to safety by drawing a line to Santa’s stable before they encounter dangers. Hurry to catch them all and keep the Holiday spirit alive! This one is great for hand-eye coordination and visual attention, plus heaps of fun! Santas Crazy Reindeer is suitable for 4+. Check it out!

rudolph's giftRudolph’s Gift by Oceanhouse Media 
(Universal iDevice – Free) facebook logo
Rudolph’s Gift is a great game for children that are over four years old. It requires players to deliver presents to as many homes as possible by shining a light from his nose on them while avoiding obstacles in the sky. Players must use both hands to control play. This is great for hand-eye coordination and visual attention, and is plenty of fun. You can fly as different characters, and customise sleigh colours. It will be a family favourite.

elf on the shelfSlide-n-Glide- Elf on the Shelf – Christmas Game by the Elf on the Shelf CCA & B LLC facebook logo
(iPhone – Free)
Packages arrive at Santa’s Shipping Yard on special slides, and the elves have to use their Christmas magic to stack the gifts on carts and move them to Santa’s sleigh. Play the Slide-n-Glide game to help the elves get the presents from the slide to the cart! Just use your finger to pull the elf forward, then let go and see where the package lands. This is a game of strategy that your children will love. Have fun!

bo's christmas appBo’s Matching Game – Christmas Gift by Heppi
(Universl iDevice – Free) facebook logo
This Christmas game offers toddlers and preschoolers more than just a standard Memory game! It is a fun game that can be customised for different levels (6, 12, or 20 card matching game), and children will love to try the play-off feature. Bo’s Matching Game offers innovative play and educational functionalities with a Christmas vibe! Children use memory and concentration to match these festive cards. This will be a firm favourite for younger children. Check it out!

toca christmas salonToca Hair Salon – Christmas Gift by Toca Boca
(Universal iDevice – FREE) facebook logo
Cut, colour and style Santa Claus’ beard and hair! In this Christmas edition of the Toca Hair Salon, you can choose between styling Santa Claus or a funny Christmas tree! It has bonus accessories – when your children have finished cutting and colouring, they can add accessories to customise the look. This is a great cause and effect app and is a lot of fun for children aged up to about 10 years.

Christmas visualizerChristmas Visualizer by Chris Egerter
(iPad – $0.99) facebook logo
Christmas Visualizer displays a festive scene with dancing reindeer, penguins, a Christmas tree, elves, and of course, SANTA! All of the characters will react and dance to the music played from your media library. Children will be entertained by these cute Christmas characters and their cool jolly jiggling. This is a crowd pleaser for children; the young and young at heart.  Check it out.

12 days of christmas singalong12 Days of Christmas – Polk Street Press Singalong by Polk Street Press
(Universal iDevice – $0.99) facebook logo
This is a nice version of the 12 Days of Christmas song. Your children can create their own videos as they singalong  to this original music. 12 Days of Christmas is unique and beautifully illustrated. Children can play along with the app during each of the verses of the song, and they can practice their counting skills to 12 on this journey of discovery. This app is played a lot in our home and is suitable for children (of all ages!).

dreamworks dash N dropDreamworks Dash n Drop by Pikpok
(Universal iDevice – $1.99) facebook logo
This lucky 11th addition is a must have for your Fun Christmas App Collection. There’s trouble at the North Pole and the presents have been scattered everywhere! Collect and deliver presents to children around the world as you dash through the evening sky in the Guardians’ magical sleigh. Be sure to grab some elves and coins along the way, but watch out for evil Nightmare creatures who will try to stop you! Dreamworks Dash n Drop will help improve visual attention, concentration and motivation. Be sure to check it out!

angry birds seasonsAngry Birds Seasons HD by Rovio
(iPad – $0.99; down from $2.99) facebook logo
Angry Birds Seasons builds on the original Angry Birds game and extends it to a whole new level! It features different festive seasons from around the world which include Halloween and Chinese New Year. It has more than 300 levels to keep you busy. Suitable for players over four years but great for all ages. You will be wanting to play this one before your children!

Please CLICK the images below for
more great Christmas Apps!

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HELP – I Have a Guided Access Problem

In a previous post about Guided Access, which is new in iOS6, I outlined how the feature can keep easily distracted users on task. However, if you are a regular user of Guided Access, you may encounter a situation where you are locked in the feature. I am aware of two types of problems that can lock you in Guided Access.

1 My device has a bug or freezes

You will be locked in Guided Access if it is active when the device freezes. This can also occur when the password pin pad does not pop-up when using triple click home to exit from the app/program.

2 The password to disable Guided Access cannot be entered

The administrator of the iDevice is not available or cannot recall the password to exit Guided Access.

The problems mentioned in the first point are the result of a bug(s) associated with iOS6. I understand that these problems are still occurring very rarely despite a recent iOS update. This only seems to occur with third-party apps.

How do I exit Guided Access when I encounter a problem?

There are two solutions to this problem which will allow you to disable Guided Access:

  1. The first method is to force a reboot of your iDevice, and
  2. The second method is to use the Find My iPhone app or iCloud website.

Both of these processes are outlined below.

How do I perform a forced reboot and exit Guided Access?

To perform a forced reboot and to fix the problem with Guided Access follow the steps below:

reset

  1. Hold both the Home and Power buttons for 10 seconds until the apple logo appears on the screen. The apple logo indicates that a forced reboot has commenced.
  2. Immediately after the device has rebooted, the home screen will briefly display before returning to the application that is in Guided Access. While the Home screen is displayed (or just as the app/program is opening – but before Guided Access has been re-enabled), press the Home Button once. This will  keep the display on the home screen.
  3. Settings icon To disable Guided Access click the Settings icon. From the left-hand sidebar select General. From the right-hand sidebar select Accessibility. The right-hand sidebar will open a range of Accessibility options, select Guided Access. The Guided Access screen will be displayed. Move the Guided Access Slider to the OFF position. The iDevice should now have Guided Access disabled.

Note: Occasionally this process does not disable Guided Access. When this occurs Guided Access must be turned on at the slider and a new password set before repeating the reboot and disable process. The iDevice should now have Guided Access disabled.

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2 How Do I Use Find My iPhone and exit Guided Access?

  1. Start the Find My iPhone app on another iDevice (or if you don’t have one – go to iCloud.com, where you must login with your Apple ID and password, and select the Find My iPhone/iPad tab).
  2. Select the name of the iDevice that is locked or frozen in the Guided Access feature from a list of devices and select the Lost Mode button.
  3. When prompted set up a new password for Lost Mode. Then select the Next and Done buttons on the next 2 pages after that to exit (see images below).
  4. The iDevice that is locked in Guided Access will then lock and enter Lost Mode.
  5. Go back to the original iDevice to continue disabling Guided Access. To unlock the iDevice enter the password that you just set in Find My iPhone. Your device will appear normal and display one of the app icon pages.
  6. Next start the process to disable Guided Access by clicking on the Settings icon. From the left-hand sidebar select General. From the right-hand sidebar select Accessibility. The right-hand sidebar will open a range of Accessibility options, select Guided Access. The Guided Access screen will be displayed. Move the Guided Access Slider to the OFF position. Your iDevice should now have Guided Access disabled.

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Guided Access in the Classroom

Guided Access for iDevices was a topic of great interest for educators at a recent Professional Development that I presented at a local university. It is also the solution to ongoing enquiries from educators and members of the iTeach: Apps for the Classroom community about how to disable certain functions on their devices when they are under the control of their learners. In this post I will briefly explain some of the basic Guided Access features available to iDevices with the latest iOS6 update.  There are two main enquiry types that have been made, so I will outline how Guided Access may be used for each.

 What is Guided Access?

Guided Access keeps the iPad/iPod Touch/iPhone in a single app, and allows you to control which features are available or disabled to prevent students from performing specific actions that are not in alignment with the tasks that are set. Running it disables the home button and, depending on the selected settings, may also be used to disable touch or motion.

Problem 1 – My learner keeps exiting the educational app that I want them to use and then plays a game app!

Solution : This action can be prevented by running Guided Access. The only way to exit the application will involve pressing the home button three times and, when prompted, entering a secret four letter password that you have pre-set. The learner will be unable to enter a correct password and cannot exit the application without it. To find out how to set up Guided Access, see below.

Problem 2 – When using a designated app or video the learner alters settings in a way that is not suitable or appropriate to the educator or parent. This may include situations where the learner accesses in-app settings on an educational app to change or alter content (preventing effective learning). It also includes students continually stopping and starting an application or changing the volume levels up and down excessively.

Solution:  Under the Guided Access feature, these actions can be prevented by disabling a section of the screen that contains the button that controls these functions. To find out how to set your device to include this feature see below. 

How do I set up Guided Access?

Settings icon

To set up Guided Access click the Settings icon from the Home screen.

From the left-hand sidebar select General. From the right-hand sidebar select Accessibility. The right-hand sidebar will open a range of Accessibility options, select Guided Access. The Guided Access screen will be displayed. Move the Guided Access Slider to the ON position and select Set Passcode. Enter a password that you will use to control Guided Access as an administrator, re-enter your password and exit out of settings.

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Enter the app that you want to run Guided Access in. I have used a movie from my videos section for the demonstration. After the program (or app) opens, triple click the home button (if prompted select Guided Access). Select the START button from the top-right corner. You will be notified with a pop-up that Guided Access has started. Your learner may now use the app without being able to exit it and play other applications. To exit guided access just triple click the home button and enter your password.

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How do I disable part of the screen with Guided Access?

Enter the app that you want to run Guided Access in. I have used a movie from my videos section for this demonstration as well. After the program (or app) opens, triple click the home button (if prompted select Guided Access). You can draw with your finger a freehand shape around the area you want to disable. In the images below, I selected the on-screen play and volume slider area. If I wanted the whole of the selected area to be inaccessible, I would not need to do any more and I would just press the START button at the top-right corner.

However, I might want to allow my user to have access to the play/pause button but not the volume button. After I have drawn my shape around the button, I can now drag it to increase or decrease the area I want inaccessible. I decreased the height of mine to disable the volume. I can then press the START button in the top-right corner. The disabled section is shaded when you run the program or app.

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To exit the app or stop using Guided Acces, triple click home and when prompted, enter your password code. You will need to remove the selected areas if you want to remove this feature from the app/program.

A Word of Warning

Guided Access is widely considered to be the solution to access issues on iDevices with students. While it is a great feature, it is important to note that this feature might not be appropriate if you want to use an app with multiple screens and areas. Under Guided Access, that whole section when anywhere in the app or program will be disabled (even if there are no buttons or areas on subsequent levels or pages). While you won’t have to change and alter Guided Access for every movie you watch (because it is the one program), you will need to set it up for each app that you want to use Guided Access with.

Overall, I like the capablilities of the Guided Access feature for classroom use. Many students that have special needs quite often are very savvy with iDevices and it is hard to keep them from touching and changing settings that you would rather them not have access to. This feature solves the problem.

The next post in this series shows you how to overcome issues with Guided Access – HELP – I have a Guided Access Problem

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