We all want to make sure our children don’t get too much screen time on mobile devices, but at the same time, there can be a lot of value to certain education apps and online programs for kids. As a parent, you want to make sure you’re letting your kids use tablets and smartphones in a way that’s going to be beneficial for them, and also educational.
A big part of this is choosing the right mobile apps, but there are so many countless apps geared toward children of varying ages that it’s tough to know how to make the right selections. Developers constantly introduce new apps, and you have to be discerning with the ones that you let your kids have access to.
The following are some general tips to help you choose educational apps that really will bring value to your kids, rather than being mindless ways for them to zone out in front of a screen.
Look for Apps That Integrate Offline Interactivity
When you’re choosing apps to benefit your kids, it can be useful to select options that ask them to perform certain activities outside of the app and offline as well as online.
For example, try to find interactive apps that ask kids to engage with the people or surroundings around them. There are also educational apps that integrate physical activity, so it can be perfect for building a mind and body connection when kids are using them.
One of the best ways to choose useful apps for your children is to read reviews from other parents and users before making a download. You can read the apps that are provided in the app store, or you can search parent forums online. You want to make sure that not only did the app offer educational value, but also that it worked well for other people that downloaded it and it wasn’t filled with a lot of bugs or other issues.
Also, before making any downloads do a demo of the app so you can try it yourself and see what you think.
Choose Open-Ended Games
When you’re selecting apps for kids, look for options that have open-ended elements. You want your kids to learn to think critically and analytically, which is why open-ended apps can be such a good choice.
There are plenty of good online resources to get new ideas for apps that will be beneficial for your kids, but one of the simplest and easiest to navigate is called Teachers With Apps. The site is operated by two educators who started it in 2010 as a way to help teachers, parents, therapists and students sift through the many educational apps and find the very best ones.
TWA field tests all of the apps they review, and they promote the idea that apps can be great as educational tools, when used appropriately.
These are just a few ways you can start sourcing some of the many great educational apps for kids of any age, ensuring they get the most from technology.