The focus this month seems to be kids online – no surprise considering February 11th is Safer Internet Day which is organised by the UK Safer Internet Centre in a bid to educate parents and young people on safe and responsible use of the internet. As parents, we may be concerned that our kids are using technology too much – however, this is a digital generation and those who aren’t adept at using the internet and other new technology will be left behind both in school and in later life when they enter the jobs market. The Digital Age is here to stay, so instead of bemoaning the fact that things ain’t what they used to be when we were kids, it makes more sense to grab all the opportunities we can and make technology work for us, rather than us working for technology.
Apps are one of the latest buzzwords and today we’re looking at some of the best apps that we can use to encourage kids to learn (making tech work for us, rather than against us).
1 Endless Alphabet
This app was created by Originator and features a range of monster-based activities that teach children new words and how to spell them. There are no time limits and no scores, so it’s a great way to enjoy learning without being under pressure. Some of the words are too advanced for pre-schoolers which is why it’s recommended for kids age 3 and upwards.
2 Kids ABC Letters
This little app contains a collection of games that are designed to teach preschoolers to recognise the letters of the alphabet in a fun way. The free version features letters A – H, but if your little one likes this app, it’s only $3.99 to buy the complete version.
PLAY123 is a geometry app aimed at preschoolers that won a 2013 Award from Children’s Technology Review. Games about colours, numbers and shapes will have your little one a pre-maths whizz in no time at all.
4 Read Me Stories
This is a new e-book app for kids age 3 and upwards that has a new story added every day. Each word highlights as the voice tells the story making it easy for the kids to read along as they learn to read.
5 Sushi Monster
A great app designed to teach kids to add and multiply. There are points, stars and trophies to be won, encouraging children (age 7 and upwards) to conquer number skills like a boss.
News-O-Matic is a current events app that serves up the day’s news in kid-friendly bites that are age appropriate and designed to encourage in interest in current affairs and promote conversation.
7 NASA App HD
For the budding scientist in your family, this is sure to be a winner. This is an official NASA app that provides a growing collection of images, videos and space mission data. Tweets from astronauts are pulled in on a regular basis as the kids explore the solar system and beyond.
8 WWF Together
This official offering from the World Wildlife Fund will teach kids age 7 and upwards about the animals on our planet. Great in-depth info on so many interesting creatures served up in a fun and interesting format.
9 Kids Piano Lite
This great 8 note piano app is designed for children from the age of 2 upwards – it includes 11 free songs with auto-play or lean mode and features cute little mice that will delight your little one. A really handy feature is the “baby-mode” that doesn’t show ads and doesn’t allow baby to accidentally exit – a real tantrum avoider J .
10 PicsArt for Kids
If you have a budding Picasso on your hands, then this is the app with the most appeal. Drawing and colouring activities will teach little ones age 3 and upwards about shapes, animals and colours and will also extend their vocabulary.