Early Literacy iPad Apps

One of our Early Literacy iPad Kits
One of our Early Literacy iPad Kits

Librarian-Selected Apps for the Early Literacy iPad Kits

The Children's Library has six Early Literacy iPads availble for checkout. The kits come pre-loaded with selected apps geared towards children ages 2 to 5.  The apps were specially selected for their early literacy skill-building qualities.  As we discover great new apps, we will update the iPad kits periodically.  In the meantime, here is the current list of apps you will find installed on Darien Library's Early Literacy iPads:

Concepts, Matching & Numbers Apps:

Montessori Counting Board: Learn how to count the Montessori way: by sight, sound, and touch.

Lingo Zoo: Users assemble jigsaw puzzles of animals and learn their names in both English and Spanish. One of the Children's Library's most popular apps!

ABC Pocket Phonics: a simply-designed app that reinforces letter knowledge. Children are encouraged to trace letter shapes and repeat the sounds.

eliasMATCH: A well-designed app that boosts memory and thinking skills, while also developing letter knowledge, number recognition, and vocabulary.

Hickory Dickory Dock: a visually stunning app that helps teach children numbers and how to read a clock face, all while enjoying a unique twist on the clasic nursery rhyme.

Eddy's Number Party!: Students readying for kindergarten will benefit from this educational number identifiation app. The fun matching aspect of the games will keep young users attentive and engaged.

Touch the Thing: Eleven different scenes (jungle, street, fruits/vegetables, etc) allows users to touch objects and hear the name of it in TEN different languages.

Alphabet and Learn-to-Read Apps:

Bob Books #1- Reading Magic: The classic beginning reader books have been digitized and transformed into an interactive learn-to-read app. Very simple, like the books, but with the added bonus of hearing the words pronounced when needed.

ABC Alphabet Phonics: A very simple app for building and promoting letter recongnition.

Intro to Letters Montassorium: A sleekly designed app that helps build letter knowledge by teaching the sounds, shapes, and names of the alphabet.

Little Pim Spanish: Developed for native English speakers wishing to learn basic vocabulary in Spanish. Divided into parts such as Eating and Drinking, PlayTime, and Wake Up Smiling.

Endless Alphabet: An intuitive and easy way to expose pre-readers and new learners to letters, phonetics, and new vocabulary. New words are added each week at no cost - and the app is Free!

LetterSchool: An award winner for 2013 as announced by the Children's Technology Review, this program stands out among letter-recognition apps for its highly usable interface and jazzy imagery.

ABC Food: An app from the award-winning ABC app series by PeaPod Labs, this is a great app for drumming up interest in new and unique foods that some users may not already be familiar with, and also educates children with new vocabulary and spelling.

Interactive eBooks:

PopOut! Peter Rabbit: One of our very favorite book-based apps. Children can listen to the narrator read this classic tale while also engaging with the interactive pop-up style illustrations.

Moo Baa La La La: A hilarious iPad adaptation of the best-selling board book by author/illustrator Sandra Boynton. Children can read or be read to while learning animal sounds, and discovering hidden interactive features in this barnyard romp.

Barynyard Dance: Stomp your feet! Clap your hands! Everybody ready for a barnyard dance! An action-packed, super fun and musical rendition of Sandra Boynton's popular book of the same name.

Blue Hat, Green Hat: Sandra Boynton hits another homerun with this hilarious interactive eBook that adds another fun dimension to her already beloved book.

3 Little Pigs: A highly readable version of the classic tale that is also entertaining and interactive. Blow into the microphone to help the Big Bad Wolf blow down the pigs’ houses. Great fun!

Nursery Rhyme with Storytime: Classic rhymes like Jack and Jill and Three Blind Mice come to life in this highly interactive, music-filled app that supports phonological awareness and helps build hand-eye coordination.

Cat in the Hat: Dr. Seuss’ classic book is brought to life in this interactive app that reinforces print awareness and vocabulary-building.

Olivia Acts Out: The adventures of Olivia (that fabulous pig) are adapted into this narrated storybook app. The style is taken from the Olivia TV series, as opposed to the original books, but it is still an entertaining reading experience for young Olivia fans.

Elmer & Rose: Adapted from the popular book series, Elmer the Elephant and his friend Rose learn the meaning of being different and being loved.

Don't Let the Pigeon Run This App!:  From the genius behind the beloved Pigeon books comes a fantastic app that lets you create your own pigeon stories and draw with Mo Willems himself!

My Little Pony's Twilight Sparkle: Teacher for a Day: The reboot of the classic 80's cartoon now has an app. It's a colorful world filled with ample pink and purple where friendship abounds!

Go Away, Big Green Monster: The innovative die-cut picture book classic comes alives in a fresh new way in this clever app.

The Monster At the End of This Book....starring Grover!: The app version of the Sesame Street classic immerses children in the story. It is a surefire way to launch a giggle fit!

Hugless Douglas: Based on the book of the same name by David Melling, this app includes well-thought functions and discoverable features that will keep readers of all ages engaged and amused.

Grimm's Sleeping Beauty: An eBook app version of the classic fairy tale, this app shows readers a fresh new take on a familiar story. Princess enthusiasts and story-book readers alike will delight in this fun and explorative eBook app.

Sensory Apps:

Build and Play 3D: A great app for learning about sequencing, puzzle completion, and machines. Kids assemble the different parts of machines, and upon complettion the machines come to life. Great for transportation and puzzle lovers.

Peek-A-Zoo: App for learning and recognizing different emotions and animals. Great way for kids to develop knowledge of new concepts and animal names.

Toca Band: Great exploratory app that encourages creative play with the use of sounds, different instruments, characters, and beats.

Spot the Dot: Kids will love the journey of scouring through pictures for a colored dot, all the while learning color names and boosting their concentration and memorability.

Make it Pop!: This app will keep kids intrigued as they pop letters and shapes, while learning about colors, numbers, and more.

Sound Shaker: Tilt, tap, and shake the iPad to move colored circles on the screen to hear new sounds. Pop the circles to reveal a bird and watch him fly away. This app emphasizes awareness of cause and effect.

Goosed-Up Rhymes: Not only will these Mother Goose nursery rhymes help young children develop phonological awareness, a key early literacy skill, but they are hilarious and entertaining for grown-ups, too.

Head2Toes: Rosemary Wells created the featured bunny in this entertaining, multilingual app. Children can sing along to Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes in English, French, Spanish, and Japanese.

eliasPAINTS: A fun coloring app that inspires creativity. Children can choose from animal, alphabet, number, or object coloring pages.

Musical Me: A music education app for young children. They'll learn about different instruments, notes, and rhythm- all while having a rocking good time.

Highlights Hidden Pictures: Kids will love the app version of the classic hidden pictures puzzles from Highlight Magazine. The simple and satisfying gameplay supports critical thinking and analytical skills.

ABA Sight Words: A fantastic app for kindergarteners learning to read and for children on the spectrum that may need extra guidance when it comes to vocabulary building.

Picture Me Calm:  Enables users to upload their own photos and use them to create picture schedule systems for children on the autism spectrum or with special needs. Great for reinforcing morning, bedtime, and meal time rituals.

See. Touch. Learn.: An invaluable app for parents, educators, and therapists to use with children with special needs to work on learning new concepts and improving communication skills. The free app version provides 32 flash cards and 6 lessons, and additional sets and flash cards are available for in-app purchase ranging from $.99-$3.99.

First Words Sampler: An early phonics and letter recognition app for new readers. Clear, bright imagery will help with noun and item recognition.

Touch and Learn: Emotions: This app helps children on the spectrum develop recognition of different emotions and facial expressions through identification practices and positive reinforcement.

Do you have a great app recommendation? Let us know in the comments below or send us an email at childrenslibrary@darienlibrary.org.

Fall TEA Room Programs

The TEA Room in the Children's Library
The TEA Room in the Children's Library

Beginning September 10, weekly TEA Room classes will be held every Tuesday & Wednesday afternoon from 4:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. Registration for TEA Room programs will open September 3.

September and October Classes (please click on the date to register):

     September 10 or 11: Make a Spin Bot! (grades 5 and 6)

     Both Make a Spin Bot classes are now full. Waitlist for September 10; Waitlist for September 11.

     September 17 or 18: Papercraft Toys (grades 3 and 4)

     The Papercraft classes and our waitlists are now full.

September 24 or 25: Banana Tattoos (grades 5 and 6)

     October 1 or 2: Marble Machines (grades 5 and 6)

     The October 1 Marble Machines class and waitlist are now full

October 8 or 9: Wire Jewelry-Making (grades 5 and 6)

     October 15 or 16: Spaghetti Bridges (grades 3 and 4)

     The Spaghetti Bridges classes are now full. Waitlist for October 15; Waitlist for October 16.

October 22 or 23: Podcasting 101 (grades 5 and 6)

     October 29 or 30: Found Object Art (grades 3 and 4)

     The Found Object Art classes are now fullWaitlist for October 30.

TEA Room Badges

By participating in TEA Room programs, children will automatically become members of the TEA Club.

TEA Club members can earn badges in skills like Circuitry, Robotics,  Coding, Graphic Design & more. To earn a badge, a TEA Club member must have 10 points in a particular skill.

Ways to Earn Points:
  • Attend a TEA Club class or workshop at Darien Library.
  • After attending a class, volunteer as a TEA Club Mentor & help other members learn a new skill.
  • Share your projects with the Children’s Library: send a  photo, a video, or a drawing of what you did or learned in a TEA Club program.

TEA Room Details

TEA stands for Technology, Engineering & the Arts!
Attending a Class in the TEA Room:

- Children in grades 3 to 6 can register for TEA Room Classes held each Tuesday and Wednesday at 4:15pm. Registration is on a first-come basis; space is limited. Click here for our current class listings.

Reserving the TEA Room for an Appointment:

- The TEA Room can be reserved by Darien Residents, those who work full-time in town, and friends of the library at the $300 level.

- Use of the TEA Room is available for: 1 supervising adult and up to 4 children in grades 3-6. The supervising adult stays in the TEA Room for the duration of the reservation.

- The TEA Room is available for appointments on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays at 3 p.m.*, 4 p.m.,* 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.

- The TEA Room is available on Saturdays at 1 p.m.* and 3 p.m.*

*The Makerbot can be used during these appointment times

- Appointments are reserved on a first-come, first served basis.

- Individuals may reserve the TEA Room one time per week.

- Individuals may reserve the TEA Room no more than four weeks in advance.

-To find out more about reserving the TEA Room, please stop by the Children's Library or contact a children's librarian at childrenslibrary@darienlibrary.org or (203) 669-5235

The TEA Club:

- Children can earn points and eventually earn badges (like they would in the Boy or Girl Scouts) by participating in the TEA Club.

- The TEA Club is a badge-based program that runs throughout the entire school year and encourages children to learn and strengthen STEAM-based skills (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Math.) 

- TEA Club members can earn badges in skills like Circuitry, Robotics, Coding, Graphic Design & more. To earn a badge, children must have 10 points in a particular skill. 

Way to Earn Points:

- LEARN. Attend a TEA Room class or workshop (most weekly classes are worth 2 points; weekend workshops are worth 4 points.)

- MENTOR. After attending a class, volunteer to serve as a TEA Mentor at an upcoming class & help other children learn a new skill. Volunteering is worth 1 point. To volunteer, talk to a children's librarian. 

- SHARE. Share your projects once per month with the Children's Library: send a photo, a video, or a drawing of what you made or learned in a TEA Room class. Sharing is worth 1 point. 

TEA Room Links

photo courtesy of Flickr user ScratchEdTeam

MAKE: the home of MAKE Magazine. A great place to get inspiration, ideas, and projects. 

MAKE Kids & Families: MAKE stuff- just for kids! 

Scratch: create and share your own games and animations with this free M.I.T. created software. 

Code Academy: Learn to code. 

Thingiverse: Free 3D Printer designs.

TinkerCad: Free 3D Design software.

MakerCamp on Google Hangout: MAKE Magazine and Google's digital summer camp for makers, crafters, and more. 


What cool links are we missing?? Tell us at childrenslibrary@darienlibrary.org! 

TEA Room Classes

Spin Bot in action. (Photo courtesy of Flickr user kjarrett.)
Drop-In T|E|A Programs

Calling all Makers! The T|E|A Room (Technology, Engineering, & the Arts) is open for free play, exploration, creation and discovery. Grades 3-6.

For the month of September, we'll be offering our Open T|E|A Room Program on Tuesdays, September 9, 16, 23, and 30 from 4:30- 5:30pm.

Open T|E|A Room topics are:

September 9th: Banana Tattoos

In ancient times, tattoos were applied using a needle and a tiny hammer! Make your own pin-pricked design on a banana and watch oxidation create a work of art.

September 16th: Make a Zine

Learn how to create, design, and distribute your own zine!  Zines are great tools for telling stories, getting the word out about something you care about, or teaching something to your friends.

September 23rd: Creative Lettering

Calling all doodlers and art lovers: show off your skills in this class where we will draw and decorate zany letters with a variety of art supplies.

September 30th: Little Bits

Explore your inner inventor as we put together these little circuits.


TEA Room

What is the TEA Room?

The TEA in TEA Room stands for Technology, Engineering, & the Arts. It is a mini-makerspace, a learning lab, & an artist studio designed for children in grades 3 to 6.

What is the TEA Club?

The TEA Club is a program that runs throughout the entire school year & encourages children to learn & strengthen STEAM-based skills (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Math).

TEA Club members can earn badges in skills like Circuitry, Robotics, Coding, Graphic Design, & more. To earn a badge, a TEA Club member must have 10 points in a particular skill.

What's in the TEA Room?


Kids Non-Fiction: New Look!

New spine lables make it easier to see where the book came from!
New spine lables make it easier to see where the book came from!

The Kids Non-Fiction collection just got a fresh new look - and an exciting, easy-to-use new layout!

At Darien Library, we know that in the years to come, kids will be asked to read more non-fiction in school than ever before. The newly reorganized Non-Fiction collection will help kids easily find great informational books on a wide of topics- for homework assignments or just for fun!

We've rearranged the books into 9 easy-to-use sections. Each section is clearly marked with a label on the spine and it's own color! And if you're a fan of the Dewey Decimal System, don't worry - Dewey is still there to guide you through each section.

When you come to the Children's Library, you'll find the Non-Fiction collection in the following sections:

Kids Animals - all living things, both prehistoric and currently living

Kids Create - music, arts, gardening, dance, cooking - anything that gets your creative juices flowing!

Kids Facts - encylopedias, dictionaries, world records, and thesauri

Kids Fun - werewolves, ghosts, jokes, riddles, and more!

Kids Self - all about you - your body, your mind, and your spirit

Kids STEM - STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math

Kids Sports - all sports, all the time

Kids Then & Now - geography, history, and current events

Kids Traditions - folktales, religions, and mythology

Stop by for a tour any time, and stay tuned for some exciting programming designed to help you get to know Non-Fiction!

Fall TEA Room Programs

The TEA Room in the Children's Library
The TEA Room in the Children's Library

Introducing the TEA Room (Technology, Engineering & the Arts)! A mini-makerspace, a learning lab, & an artist's studio designed for children in grades 3 to 6.

In the TEA Room you will find:

• Computers for learning code & programming
• Software for video & audio creation & editing
• iPads loaded with creation apps
• A 3D printer
• A lightbox & various art supplies

More Information on the TEA Room.

September & October classes.

Cardboard Challenge!

Image via www.cainesarcade.com
Image via www.cainesarcade.com

All Ages

Use recycled cardboard to make arcade games, robots, or whatever you can imagine. We will screen the 10-minute film that inspired the Cardboard Challenge: "Caine's Arcade," the story of 9-year-old Caine who created his own cardboard arcade.

Saturday, September 21, 12 to 3 p.m.

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