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Cool apps for kids

June 06, 2012

“There’s an app for that.” It seems like there is an app for our every need, even the need to keep kids entertained while parents browse the grocery store aisles, families wait to be seated at a restaurant, or driving in the car from point A to B. A recent article asked the question, “Are tablets the new Nanny?”. While this may sound ridiculous, there may be some truth behind this question. Studies show that in 2011, tablet usage among kids under the age of 12 increased by 10% within 6 months. Tablets, such as the iPad and Kindle, are kids’ new accessories, an accessory many parents are thankful for.

Are apps really beneficial for my child?

Great question! We do not know yet if the use of tablets and smartphones encourage healthy development among young kids. There is not enough scientific research to support this claim, as researchers are still studying the benefits of apps for kids. However, the technological trends of the world in which we live in are inevitable and growing at a rapid pace. Today, over 50% of kids now have access to a smartphone or tablet, creating a large market for apps designed specifically for kids.

Some experts say that apps are preferred over TV time, favoring the stimulation provided by the many educational apps available. Others caution against the use of tablets and smartphones, arguing that kids already indulge in too much “screen” time spent in front of the TV or computer.

How do I know if apps are right for my child?

As a parent, introduce the use of tablets and smartphones to your child with caution. The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages screen time for children under the age of 2 and instead, encourages unstructured playtime for healthy growth in developmental skills. Once kids have reached an appropriate age to use these digital devices, balance is key. Even though there are many educational apps offered, it is important to put a limit on screen time to allow for playtime outside and interaction with others.

What are some cool apps for my child?

With hundreds of apps to choose from, it can get overwhelming. Here are some suggestions to get you and your little one started- and they are all free!

Ages 2 – 4

  • Toddler Teasers Shapes- This app includes colorful shapes, sticker rewards and encouraging audio that focuses on positive reinforcement even when the answer is wrong.
  • Happy Flash Cards- Teach your little one new words with categories such as animals, numbers, shapes and food.
  • Feed Me-Pencilbot Preschool – Your child will love “feeding” this adorable pet monster with correct answers to questions about letters, numbers, colors and shapes.
Ages 5 - 8
  • Pop Math Lite- Sharpen up on math addition skills with this fun “bubbly” app. Each level has six pairs of bubbles that float on the screen and your child has to pop the pairs that match. At the end of each level, the time and number of mistakes are displayed, allowing your child to learn from wrong answers.
  • Scribble Press- Allow your kids to create their own books. This cool app allows your kids to write their own book or choose from various story templates and then illustrate their story- all in one place!
  • Stack the States Lite- Give your kids a geography lesson with this interactive app. Kids are asked a series of questions in an attempt to “stack the states”.
Ages 9 – 12
  • P2K Money – Ease your child into the importance of managing money with this money app! This app teaches kids how to keep track of income (from allowance, chores, etc.), budget, and save for “wish list” items.
  • Mad Libs- Kids can test their fill-in-the-blank skills to advance their storytelling skills and improve their knowledge of the different parts of speech.
  • Hangman- Think your child has a good vocabulary? Put them to the test with this old school, but never gets old, hangman game app.
For more educational app ideas, visit this site.

In moderation, educational apps can be a great alternative to help keep kids engaged and entertained. At what age do you think it is appropriate for kids to play with apps? What are some other apps that keep your kids entertained?