Software and Sites for Younger Learners

Hey, ya'll. What do you use for the little ones? I'm a big fan of the site (Boowa and Kwala in particular!--their free "200 activities in 50" lessons is free for schools simply upon email request) and as many freeware solutions as I can get my hands on. DrawingForChildren for art, MoSoft's Tangrams (no longer free but acquired free years ago) and StackerBlocks for visual manipulation, and our "webliographer" for an interactive links database that serves as the start page for my kids in the lab and at home.

I'm reeeeeeeeeeeeeeally glad you're here and I hope to take part in an upcoming 'cast. Google those podcasts in my sig if you want to know more about what I'm up to. Cheers!!!

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Hi Scott,

I work with primarily K-2 students,and I'm the parent of preschool-aged twins, so I am always looking for good suggestions. (Boowa & Kwala is one of my favorites!) Thanks for the info about your resources...I'll check them out with my kids. Here are some of the essential tools in my young-learner toolkit:

Kid Pix 3 (the MacKiev version - there are several, so buyer beware)
PowerPoint and/or Keynote
iLife (we've been playing with GarageBand in 1st grade and iPhoto in 2nd)
Web browsers

National Library of Virtual Manipulatives - Fabulous Activities for PreK through 5th! - The Charlotte Public Library's great collection of stories & activities in English and Spanish and - we've been blogging with our 2nd graders and they are SOOOO excited! - Great resource for early literacy in 1st Grade
Enchanted Learning & Little Explorers Dictionary - Great resources for elementary students and teachers on a wide variety of subjects, but the best part is the clickable picture dictionary in 8 languages. This site has helped our Kindergarten teachers who are desperate when the Letter of the Week is Z or Q, and find new word ideas.

I could keep going, but these are my top picks. When I was first doing this, I'd spend thousands of dollars on educational software and subscribing to educational web sites, but most of the resources I use now are free or donation-based.

Hope this is helpful,
Barbara L. Cohen
Educational Technology Coordinator
Marin Country Day School
[email protected]

Hey, Barbara,

Great suggestions, and your inclusion of Starfall to your post just made my day (and my next two weeks in Kindergarten/1st grade computer lab!). I revised my little K-1 start page for the kids to make my "Center Number 4" and we'll have a blast with it at the Interactive Writeboard. I'm thinking I'll put an alphabet on the dry erase board and have the kids one by one choose a letter to demo and erase the letter from the board when it's done. That'll begin to enable the kids to use the site from home with their parents through the Webliographer's "K-1Go Here" link!

Scott Merrick
University School of Nashville and
Vanderbilt Center for Science Outreach
Snacks4theBrain! and TechTipTuesday


Thanks for all the great suggestions. I run a site that lists free educational software - I hope you might find it useful! The address is

I am also, of course, interested in suggestions for more software to add to the list...! :)