Puku: A Fun New Vocabulary Building App for Kids

Now is a great time to give Puku, a fun new award-winning vocabulary-building app for kids, a try! We all want our kids to learn, but it’s even better when they can learn and have fun at the same time. After all, when they’re having fun, they actually look forward to learning! And, to be honest, we retain so much more of what we learn when we interact with that information and enjoy the process.

What exactly is the Puku app?

What is Puku? It’s an app by Merriam-Webster. Yep, the dictionary folks. Merriam-Webster has been America’s leading and most-trusted provider of language information for over 180 years, and now they’ve created an app to help your children expand their vocabularies in a fun way!

If you have an iPhone or iPad, you can take a closer look at the app or get a subscription by clicking this link.

If you have an Android device, click this link to find the app for more information or to get a subscription.

What age/grade levels are best for Puku?

The app features a cute little virtual pet that grows as your child learns new words. It is designed for children from about 3rd grade and up (especially grades 3-6/ages 8-12), but of course you may choose to use it with children who are older or younger than this age range.

screenshot of child's hands playing Puku on cell phone

Here are some of the things that I especially like about the Puku app:

  • It allows parents to feel better about the amount of screen time our children are experiencing! Most parents don’t like for our children to have too much screen time, but (especially right now) many parents are allowing children extra screen time while we’re all stuck at home. When our children are playing educational games, though, the screen time serves a purpose and is actually helping our children learn!
  • Our children can use it to learn words from the ongoing word lists, leveled vocabulary lists, or categories (like sports words, science words, books, animals, and more). Or we can add our own word lists to match what our children are learning/reading.
  • Teaches our children to recognize and spell new words as well as understand and remember the definitions.
  • The app responds to the player’s performance. In other words, the child gets more practice on words he/she isn’t yet proficient with.
  • The child is immediately provided with feedback letting him/her know if the answer is correct. This is important when learning new words.
  • It’s fun and easy to play! And it’s very motivational!
  • The parent doesn’t have to set up lessons or spend time lesson planning. If you choose to add your own word lists, you can do so, but it’s not necessary. Your child can simply start using the app and start learning new words!

screenshot of vocabulary exercise

Why is it important for children to have large vocabularies?

Did you know that children who have large vocabularies are often more successful throughout their lives? This article shares some ways that having a large vocabulary benefits not only young children but also adults. You may want to read the article for yourself, but I’ll summarize some of the findings that I thought were interesting:

  • First, those with larger vocabularies have faster processing speeds. In other words, they are better able to process information quickly because they aren’t having to figure out word meanings as they listen.
  • Great vocabularies allow our children to learn and understand more about new ideas and information.
  • A larger vocabulary has actually been shown to be “the single best predictor for career success” no matter which career a person chooses to pursue. When I finished college and was looking for my first job as a school teacher, I actually got my first job because, of the two people who were being considered for the job, I was more well-spoken than the other applicant. I remember at the time being so thankful that my parents had always encouraged me to develop a great vocabulary!
  • A bigger vocabulary allows for better understanding of news and current events.

Want to try it out for free AND enter for a chance to win a free one-year subscription and some fun prizes?

Right now you can get an extended one-month free trial of the Puku app! And you can enter for a chance to win a one-year subscription to Puku as well as a Merriam-Webster’s Elementary Dictionary (print book) and your choice of a t-shirt from the Merriam-Webster shop! Be sure to click on men’s, women’s, or kids at the top to see more t-shirt selections. I think I’m going to have to get a “word nerd” shirt for myself!

Puku (by Merriam-Webster)

About the author


Wendy is one of the owners of Hip Homeschool Moms, Only Passionate Curiosity, Homeschool Road Trips, Love These Recipes, and Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She married her high school sweetheart, Scott, 29 years ago, and they live in the South with their three children. Hannah, age 25, has autism and was the first homeschool graduate in the family. Noah, age 23, was the second homeschool graduate and the first to leave the nest. Mary Grace, age 17, is the remaining homeschool student. Wendy loves working out and teaching Training for Warriors classes at her local gym. She also enjoys learning along with her family, educational travel, reading, and writing, and she attempts to grow an herb garden every summer with limited success.

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