When you first get a tablet, you’ll want to load up on apps just for yourself (I know I did!) but after a while, my kids wanted to play on my tablet so I started searching for age-appropriate apps. It wasn’t as easy as I thought.
I wanted to make sure that the apps they were using where actually teaching them a specific skill based on their educational needs but still fun to interact with. Here are the five strategies that I use when evaluating and selecting apps for my kids.
1. Think about your toddler’s needs. They are curious creatures and are interested in numbers, letters, animals etc. Find apps that focus on a variety of learning opportunities and activities.
2. Download the lite version first. I’ve seen numerous educational apps that allow you to download a lite version. Try it out to see if your child likes it and resonates with them before you purchase the full version.
3. Pay attention to the content. Is the music too loud? Can you understand the voices on the app? Preschoolers need what is called “Blank Space,” meaning they need time to comprehend what they just saw. If an app moves too quickly from one action to the next, chances are your toddler won’t understand what they are supposed to be learning.
4. Mix it up. Don’t purchase the same type of app that requires your toddler to always touch/poke the screen. You want them do different actions such as swiping on the screen or moving back and forth to work their fine motor skills.
5. You get what you pay for. The best apps that I’ve seen cost money. To date, I haven’t come across any free apps that are worth my toddler’s time.
If you keep these in mind, you’ll be sure to purchase apps your toddler will enjoy and learn from. Now tell me what you think – what criteria do you look for when searching for apps? Let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Andrea Benton is a passionate techie Mom, who has two young children, both of which love tablet technology. She blogs about tablet technology for parents and childcare providers. Follow Andrea on Twitter @weebootMom or sign up for her eNewsletter called the weeport at www.weeboot.ca.