Educational Apps

Educational App’s for every age and stage

In the age of smart phones and tablets, kids are spending more and more time with technology. According to a study done by Cynthia Chiong and Carly Shuler for The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, “ 8-year-olds spend as many hours engaging with various screens as they do in school, and preschoolers are spending about four hours (or more) per day on media.” As a parent, how do you find the right balance between app’s that are just fun to play and app’s that kids can actually learn from.

Children at different developmental stages need different apps. Making sure that the apps you choose are developmentally appropriate and fun to play are especially important for preschoolers. Preschoolers need the right balance of easy and hard; easy enough to progress through the program, hard enough to keep them learning and engaged. Too easy or too hard and they will turn the turn the app off. Whether free or paid, always check the reviews on an app to see that it is the kind of product that will help your child learn. What should you look for? Apps with no advertisements, these distract from play time, as well as quality graphics and age appropriate content.

Kids at Play Interactive (KAPI) awards up and coming apps yearly based on their design and creativity. For 2015, the awards for top pre-readers apps included Lumi Park, from the makers of Lumosity. Lumi Park was designed by a team of experts after over 200 hours of researching how children play. They developed this to help children translate what they learn on the app into the real world. In addition, this app informs parents what their child is playing, and gives parents suggestions about how to translate what their child is learning into the real world. Lumi Park is currently only available for IPad on ITunes.

But what about older, school aged children? An oldie, but definitely a favorite is Stack the States and its cousin Stack the Countries. While silly, each state has googly eyes and funny expressions, this game teaches school aged children geography by placing the states on top of each other, like Tetris, to meet a goal. Each illustration of the states coordinates with the actual size of the state, in relation to the other states, so kids understand that Rhode Island is very small and Alaska and Texas are both extremely large. Kids must answer a multiple choice question about the state, capital, flag etc.; to be able to stack the state’s to meet their goal. Named one of Time Magazine’s top 25 apps of 2012, this app has three different levels to keep children playing for hours.

High School and College students have different needs than younger elementary aged students. Three basic types of app’s are available, first learning videos and courses like those provided by Khan Academy and Itunes U. The second type helps students be prepared for classes. Need help with Chemistry? Check out The Chemical Touch, it provides a periodic table of elements that is pressure sensitive and will bring up a Wikipedia entry about different elements. Need help with French? Learn languages through Acclea-study, it helps you create word flash cards and provides audio reviews of the words. Need a homework calendar, there are several types. Is your child getting ready for the SAT or ACT? Test prep apps can help your child do their best on the test. Try SAT vocab by Mind snacks or ACT Math Prep Practice Problems and dozens more.

Whether for supplemental learning, or for help taking a test, app’s can really help your child get the education they need.