While the benefits of using educational apps
are emerging (‘app-fluence’ being one of the latest buzzwords to describe the advantages app-savvy children have when starting school), anyone can build an app and label it educational.
“No one is going to check if the people who designed it have educational experience, or just want to make money off a ‘maths’ game that looks just like a poker machine does,” says psychologist Jocelyn Brewer.
With app stores on Android and IOS bursting with great looking choices, Brewer says many parents find it hard to separate the good from the bad. She recommends bookmarking a not-for-profit independent site that reviews apps – for example, Common Sense Media
so you can stay up to date with new apps, and find age appropriate choices as your children progress.
Here are our fave four from Common Sense Media’s extensive list to get you started:
Duckie Deck Collection
Buy it from Amazon, iTunes or Google Play
Capitalising on two things toddlers love most – control over their environment, and being able to flex their ‘helping’ skills, the app walks children through a series of tasks that allow them to care for pets, sweep the floors, and pick out healthy fruit and veggies (excellent for picky eaters!).
The focus is more life skills than educational skills, but it will build hand eye coordination, exercise kids’ imaginations, and practice visual matching skills.
Avokiddo ABC Ride
Buy it from Amazon or iTunes
Encouraging kids to problem solve and learn about letters with a big focus on alliteration, this app has users follow instructions and explore interactive scenes with characters Beck and Bo.
Riding along a path, users travel with the siblings to solve puzzles, revealing new letters and tasks as they go. There are 26 different activities and a variety of activities, and it’s customisable to suit different ages and skill set, and players can choose to work through the letters in alphabetical order, randomly, or by selecting a specific letter.
The Cat in the Hat - Read & Learn - Dr. Seuss
Buy it from Amazon, iTunes, and Google Play
Developed in collaboration with literacy experts focused on the early years, this well-known early reader is bought to life to encourage literacy skills.
Using one-question activities, and several reading options, kids can encounter or revisit the story in a way that encourages reading, and you can track reading stats and adjust settings to customize the reading experience.
Intro to Math, by Montessorium
Buy it on iTunes
Based on the proven methodology of Montessori, this app promotes learning to read, write and understand numbers from zero to nine, through a series of interactive, guided and challenging activities.
It covers the basic foundations of math, number symbols and their units, sequence, order and spatial relationships, an introduction to odds and evens, problem solving skills and fine motor skills.
A narrator and visual clues provides prompts and support as the user drag rods of different lengths, match numerals to quantities, put numbers and quantities in order, and trace number symbols.
Have you found a fab edu-app your kids love to learn with? Share in the comments section below.