Xander apps encourages learning with local language
These educational apps are cute, will keep your kids entertained and are available in 6 South African languages.
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What a time to be alive! Children have access to so much amazing technology that we didn’t have growing up (I mean Pokémon GO was but a dream to 13-year-old me and now it’s a very real thing).

But, as parents, we need to find a balance between technology and physical play developing their gross and fine motor skills.

My 2-year-old sometimes amazes me. He knows how to unlock my phone by double-tapping my screen and even scarier he knows how to navigate to YouTube and put on his favourite shows.

I’ve gotten a few apps for him on my phone and while they’re mostly entertaining (the DUPLO ones are a hit), or developmental (Breathe, Think, Do with Sesame), I’ve not really been happy with the educational things on offer.

Read more: Top apps for toddlers

While there are good ones around, either they’re not designed very well, an eye-sore or they’re full of awkwardly placed ads that are all too easy for little fingers to tap on.

One of the gems I have found are the Xander range of apps. What I love about these apps are that they come in 6 languages: Afrikaans, English, Xhosa, Zulu, Swahili, Tswana. So they're also proudly South African, which means I'm willing to actually spend money on these apps because I love supporting local companies and businesses. 

What’s great about these games is that there is something for every age group, from toddler to preschool, in each app. Just this evening my 2-year-old surprised me by somewhat following the line in the Write it yourself numbers game.

There are only 3 apps for the English, Xhosa, Zulu and Swahili versions of the apps, while the Tswana version only has the numeracy app:


123

The app teaches numeracy using child-friendly counting beads and characters from the animal kingdom. Kids can learn to count to ten and trace numbers, study numbers in the font used by schools, practice pronunciation, understand quantities through fun exercises and improve fine motor skills.

It has the following games:

  • Let’s count: Learn to recognise and pronounce numbers
  • Abacus: Drag colourful beads to the corresponding number
  • Write it yourself: Trace the number yourself
  • Build it yourself: Drag colourful beads to the matching placeholder

Shapes & Colours

This app teaches six basic shapes and the primary and secondary colours using age appropriate games.


Kids can practice pronunciation of shapes and colours, play games using shape recognition and puzzles, improve concentration with a memory card game, practice to draw shapes with a tracing exercise and improve fine-motor skills using drag & drop exercises.

It has the following games:
  • Hear and see the shape
  • Hear and see the colour
  • Trace the shape
  • Drag and drop to make the shape fit
  • Shape and colour recognition with matching game
  • Identify the shape that fits

Wardrobe

This app teaches kids the names (and pronunciation) for different body parts, clothing and weather. They can learn vocabulary to describe parts of the face, body, clothing and weather, listen and practice pronunciation of the terminology, play dressing game to make terminology relevant, remember vocabulary through repetition and engagement and  improve fine-motor skills through drag & drop exercises.

It has the following games:

  • Body: Learn the names and pronunciation of body parts.
  • Face: Learn the names and pronunciation of facial features.
  • Clothes: Learn the names and pronunciation of various items of clothing.
  • Get dressed: Match appropriate items of clothing to wear with the seasons and weather.

There are a lot more apps for the Afrikaans language. As well as the three above these are also available for Afrikaans speakers:

Spel Gr 1 & 2

Spel vir Beginners is an educational app for young children to practice prescribed spelling lists and sight words for Grade 1 and 2 as used by the annual national spelling competition organized by the University of Stellenbosch.

The competition is based on the format used in America for the Spelling Bee competition. This app uses curriculum based phonetic sounds for spelling and is interactive, fun and user-friendly.

This app has the prescribed grade appropriate spelling lists and sight words and kids can practice spelling through a variety of activities, study sight words in the font used by schools, listen and practice pronunciation, word building games and flashcards, improve fine motor skills and literacy and develop confidence to cope with school assessments and spelling tests.

This app consists of the following games:

  • Bou die woord
  • Woordesoek
  • Leer om te spel
  • Flits kaarte

Spel Gr 3 – 7

The Xander Intermediate Spelling app in Afrikaans is the same as the Spel vir Beginners but for children in Grade 3, 4, 5, 6 & 7.

Spel Gr 8 – 10

Xander Advanced Spelling app in Afrikaans is same as the Beginner and Intermediate apps but for Grade 8, 9 & 10.

Bou & Breek

This app encourages young children to learn about shapes and symmetry. Age appropriate, curriculum based, construction and drawing activities support early learning. This app is interactive, fun and user-friendly, caregivers will intuitively be able to assist curious young children to explore a variety of activities.

The app has prescribed grade appropriate activities and teaches kids about space awareness, orientation, and symmetry skills, shapes and construction, improve fine motor skills and problem solving and develops confidence through acquiring skills for school readiness.

This app consists of the following games:

  • Build the shape
  • Complete the picture
  • Copy the picture with symmetry
  • Draw in symmetry
  • Solve the puzzle match and sort
  • Knock it down

Fruit & Veg

This app teaches children all about fruit and vegetables and includes vital school readiness activities such as sorting, matching and basic sums. Children can learn the names of fruit and vegetables, where they  grow, and the nutritional benefits.

This app consists of the following games:
  • Listen and pronounce the names of fruit and vegetables.
  • Learn about their nutritional benefits and where they grow.
  • Practice what you’ve learnt with interactive matching, sorting and pattern recognition games.
  • Basic sums with fruit and vegetables offer hours of fun for young children.

ABC

This app teaches the alphabet using child-friendly characters from the animal kingdom. Children study letters in the font used by schools, associate letters with appropriate animal, practice pronunciation of Afrikaans words, learn about animals via cute rhymes, improve fine-motor skills and spelling using drag & drop exercises.

This app consists of the following games:
  • Hear and see the word
  • Trace each letter of the alphabet in small letters
  • Trace each letter of the alphabet in caps
  • Spelling with drag and drop
  • Narrated rhymes about each adorable animal

Animals

This app is a sorting and matching educational app for young children. It teaches the names of animals, the sounds that the animals make, and also teaches children the collective nouns for each group of animals.

This app consists of the following games:
  • Collections: Learn collective nouns for a group of animals
  • Sounds: Hear the sounds that animals make
  • Animal families: Learn the words for animal Moms, Dads and Babies
  • Games: See what you’ve learnt with interactive games
  • Daily life: Identify domestic animals and sounds around your own home
  • Video: Watch the entertaining video about Xander’s journey from 123, Shapes and Colours and Wardrobe to learning more about animals.

Xander Apps are available on the Google Play Store for R9.99 and on the Apple App Store and Amazon App Store for Android for $0.99

Have you tried any of the Xander apps. Tell us what you think of them by sending us an email to chatback@parent24.com.

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