Choosing the Right Educational Apps for Children

on Thursday, 14 May 2015. Posted in TLC Blog

Kids apps

Thousands upon thousands of apps exist for developing and progressing childhood education. In January 2015, over 80,000 educational apps existed in the Apple App Store. Over 300,000 are child-related in the Google Play store. Sifting through apps for the right choices could be daunting, but knowing what to look for will make the job easier. Here are a few pointers:

1. Eliminate Distraction

Never purchase an app with distracting features. Bells, buzzers, timers, and blinkers distract from the task at hand. This takes the child away from the learning and redirects their attention elsewhere. It may become difficult to regain focus on the app’s task.

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Take this for example. You are sitting at your desk focusing on work, when an air horn sounds through the office. You might jump or jerk your head up. You will certainly be wondering why there’s an air horn in your workplace, but the noise has distracted you. Now, it is difficult to regain your focus on your work, much like the bells, buzzers, timers, and blinkers on children’s apps.

2. Engage the Mind

Apps should engage a child’s mind. Games involving swiping, tapping, and other repetitive activities are unchallenging. Watching a video or a demonstration requires little involvement. The right educational apps allow a child to process information, absorb the activity, and learn new skills. It is easiest to learn when solving a problem on your own rather than having the information provided to you.

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3. Meaning Is Important

Learning 123 and the ABCs are necessary for the foundation of every child’s education. Plenty of apps harp on this necessity, but this information is pointless if not backed up with meaning. Too many apps teach through a repetitive method, which makes counting and the ABCs less likely to be retained in a child’s mind.

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Children must understand why this knowledge is important, such as for communication and mathematics. Letters have sounds, thus allowing for communication. Numbers are used for math. Shapes are found throughout our world. Applying knowledge to everyday situations provides a better retention of information. For example, seeing a circle is shaped like a cookie is more meaningful than a drawing of a circle. If an app makes the connection between the information and its everyday use, it is an exceptional learning tool.

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Using these pointers, discovering the right educational apps for your child will be a little simpler. Choose apps with less distraction, the ability to engage your child’s mind, and show why the information is meaningful. Avoid repetition and mindless activities. Now, are you ready to search through those 80,000 apps in the Apple App Store or the 300, 000 child-related apps in the Google Play Store?

Good luck!

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