There is no doubt that today’s children are living ‘digitalised childhoods’. Their daily lives are saturated with digital devices from iPads and iPhones to hand-held gaming devices, laptops and video games.
As parents, we’ve been faced with the enormous task of parenting in the digital age and finding games and apps that are not only age-appropriate and promote learning, but are also fun and interactive for our children.
No small feat when you consider that there are over 800,000 apps in the iTunes App Store alone! So how do you find good, fun, educational apps for your children?
Here are 3 tips about choosing the right apps for your children in order to get the most out of technology and learn a few things along the way…
1. Choose apps that encourage co-viewing
Children need opportunities to use language and collaborate with others so choose apps that encourage co-viewing (playing with a sibling, friend or parent). These types of apps allow them to play, explore and communicate. Many of the apps by the company Toca Boca, encourage collaborative play.
2. Choose apps that don’t have all the ‘bells and whistles’
A lot of apps have unnecessary animations, characters and sound effects. These apps can place extra demands on your child’s attention skills and can detract from learning.
Children often enter a ‘zombie-like’ state when using these apps, as they are transfixed by the on-screen action. Many children’s book apps are guilty of having too many embellishments. To prevent this, look for simple app designs.
3. Choose apps that enable children to create something
Whilst there are hundreds of ‘skill-and-drill’ type apps that teach basic concepts like letter-tracing, number recognition and the names of colours and shapes, they don’t encourage children to develop higher levels of thinking.
Focus more on finding drawing, storytelling, puppet and music-making apps that encourage creative expression and require your child to think much more.
Have you found apps have helped your children learn?