Do you feel guilty when you let your preschooler play with your phone? Today’s tots are growing up in a high-tech society, and smartphones are a very important part of their world. Some parents even dedicate their old phone to playtime when they upgrade to a new one. There’s no need to feel guilty about offering a little screen time to young ones when you’ve loaded your phone with high-quality educational apps like these.
Difficulty modes for ages 3–5 or 5–8 allow Thinkrolls to grow with your kids, but grownups will find it addictive, too. The interface will give parents who grew up on Mario and Sonic the Hedgehog a bit of deja vu, but the adorable characters are completely fresh. Kids practice observation, reasoning, problem solving, spatial cognition and memory skills to solve the puzzles. More than 200 levels of heart-melting cuteness let you — I mean, your kids — experiment with gravity, heat, buoyancy, speed, friction, elasticity and more. This game is worth every penny of its $2.99 price tag.
Lego Duplo Trains
Lego Duplo Trains lets you carry all the educational fun of block play in your pocket, and there’s no cleanup afterward. Kids love the bright colors, cute sounds, and lively animations. The play environment targets ages 18 months to 5 years. Your child will enjoy solving simple problems like building bridges or laying track to go around a rock. The app is toddler-safe, with no links, third-party advertising, or in-app purchases.
Kids Piano Lite
Kids Piano Lite is a very simple music-making game that will delight toddlers and preschoolers. Kids will learn matching skills that are the basic building block of pre-reading skills, using colors, letters, and tones. They’ll also be learning about music and cause and effect. Turning on “baby mode” stops ads from appearing on the app. A variety of activities let kids play simple songs, whack a cute mouse, or play a matching game. The app is free.
Kids Match ‘Em
Kids love matching games, and while they play they’re practicing symbol recognition skills, cause and effect, coordination, and memory retention. Kids Match ‘Em has won awards for its smooth operation, engaging interface, and ability to work well on a variety of screens. Choose from six different card sets (animals, hats, vehicles, food, and more) and two levels of difficulty. You’ll be surprised how long this simple game will hold children’s attention. This app is free.
PBS Parents Play and Learn
PBS is an undisputed leader in the field of “edutainment” for young children, and their apps are excellent. PBS Parents Play and Learn is designed for parents to play along with children. It includes “teachable moments” tips for the parents alongside games for the kids. The bilingual (English/Spanish) app is built around familiar places and teaches literacy and math. Also check out malmath app – Math problem solver. Weekly updates keep the games fresh and engaging, and carriers such as T-Mobile offers affordable data that will keep you connected and up-to-date. A Parent’s Choice Silver Award winner.
Rosetta Stone® Kids Words
The venerable Rosetta Stone name is synonymous with serious language study, but the company has a playful side, too. This set of engaging games teaches early reading and letter recognition skills that are compatible with Common Core kindergarten curriculum guidelines, while simultaneously teaching Spanish. The app is free to try, and you can turn off in-app purchases while the kids are playing.
Do your kids love Caillou and his zen-like approach to life? They’ll love helping him brush his teeth, put on his pajamas, and get ready for bed. Even better, Caillou loves his bedtime ritual, and he may be able to persuade your children to look forward to snuggling under their covers, too. The app aims for ages 2–5, and lets your preschooler play the parenting role. There are also mini-games in the app to keep kids engaged. The app is free, but includes advertising and offers in-app purchases.
Sometimes, you just need a distraction. Prepare for those moments by downloading a few quality educational apps and you can feel good about allowing a little screen time now and then.
Do you let your toddler or preschooler play with your phone? Most parents do, even if they encourage more active play most of the time. Today’s tots are growing up in a high-tech world, and smartphones are a very important part of their world.