Friday, October 9, 2020

Canticos Bilingual Preschool App

The following is a sponsored post with Canticos. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

One of the main requests I see in our Hispanic and Bilingual Homeschoolers group is for a bilingual curriculum or materials for preschool. Raising bilingual children certainly isn't anything new. But now that so many parents find themselves actively teaching their preschoolers at home, there is a huge demand for bilingual resources. 

So when Canticos reached out and asked me if I'd be interested in reviewing their bilingual preschool app, I said, "¡Sí!" (I have a 3-year-old myself, so I am happy to look for products I can use teach him Spanish.) And I'm delighted that I did.

I should strongly state here, that I don't believe in giving young children access to tablets or online games for long periods of time. In fact, this is the first app my youngest has ever played with. And I only allowed him access after I looked through the entire app myself to make sure it was a) age appropriate, b) divided up into short segments, and c) didn't contain advertising of any sort.

Canticos' Bilingual Preschool App met all of these and more. 

NameCanticos' Bilingual Preschool App
Subject(s): Preschool concepts
Brief Description: An comprehensive app for preschoolers that teaches children many of the basic skills needed for kindergarten prep.
Price: FREE 7-day trial, then $6.99/month or $57.99/year
Language: English or Spanish
Ages: 3 - 5 years
DeviceiOS, Android

Preschool Concepts

The app is a clever compilation of a lot of the videos Canticos has created over the years, plus additional activities to nurture learning and reinforce preschool concepts. It is 100% ad free (yay!). 

When you first set up the app, you are able to choose which language the app will present to your child. However, it's easy to change the language by simply clicking on the speech bubble in the upper right-hand corner.


As you can see in the picture above, there are seven different categories for your child to select:

  1. ¡A jugar!
  2. Aprende
  3. Videos
  4. Música
  5. Stickers
  6. Libros
  7. Arte

¡A jugar! has a simple counting game and an animated video with an English version of the Pollitos song. There appears to be many other games that are locked, but I'm not sure how to access them (they may be for children in the Early Reader/Reader levels). It's possible that they are forthcoming as the app continues to be developed.

Aprende has six activities that focus on teaching las vocales/the vowels, beginning sounds, emotions, simple counting, and rhythm. Burbujas is my favorite because it teaches children to associate letter sounds with specific letters and touch them as they float by. My son love Fiesta de piñata because he has to tap the piñata a certain number of times to break it open and get the candy.

The Videos section is a collection of all the Canticos videos, including Sol solecito, Sana sana, Las mañanitas, and many others.

The Música section is just a fun set of all the traditional songs with no animation, just the audio. This is an awesome part for doing sing-alongs and TPR activities with your student or child, such as dancing, fingerplays, and more.

The Stickers area has a set of four different backgrounds to which your child can drag stickers of the various Canticos characters.

Libros has 18 different stories that your child can either read on her own, or be read to using the Léeme function one of which your child chooses at the beginning of the story. If you choose the latter, then the words light up in a different color as the story is read. I love this function which is so important for children learning to read. The books aren't actually animated like a video, but in some, there is movement of characters on screen. And once the sentence or words on each page is read, your child must tap on the arrow in the bottom of the screen to go forward or backward. Some of the stories offer your child the chance to be sung to, as well.

Finally, there is the Arte section. This one is my son's favorite. It is basically a coloring activity with eight different images. You child chooses one, then selects their tool of choice: a colored pencil (they choose the color) for scribbling, a rainbow pencil which draws lines of rainbow color, a paint brush for broad strokes, and a paint can to simply tap on sections to be filled with color. 

If they make a mistake, they can either select the eraser tool to delete the part that they designate, OR they can click on the trash can in the bottom corner of the page which cleans away all color from the screen leaving behind the original image. Or, they can select the undo arrow to remove their last action, or the redo arrow to bring it back.

The final tool available is the sticker function which provides a series of stickers that your child can select to embellish their coloring page. 



Bonus Materials for Parents

Parent can certainly just hand their children the device with the app and let their kids learn organically and safely. But if you want to maximize the learning potential of this app, then subscribers may want to use the online App Parent Guide. This is a collection of printable activities to offer your child to extend the learning in conjunction with the app. I'm hopeful that as this company grows, they'll include lesson plans in this section to guide parents who may be homeschooling their preschooler.

While I don't recommend using this app as a curriculum replacement (nor do I think that's what the creators intended), I do think it is an incredibly wonderful tool for parents to use as a supplement to their preschool lessons. I can see us using it two or three times a week for 15 - 20 minutes as a reward and a learning tool to reinforce the concepts he's learning. 

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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written in conjunction with Canticos. They provided me access and materials to their app. All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

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