The majority of children enjoy spending time on their phones, tablets, and in front of bright screens. Want to ensure your child is benefiting from their screen time?
Smartphones, tablets, and TVs have made kids prefer to stay indoors and sit on their behinds, rather than toss a ball with their friends in the yard, or spend time at the park. Screens have turned our world around, that’s for sure. But they aren’t always a bad thing, and dare we add, can even lead to positive results.
All that’s required to turn your kid’s screen time into something beneficial is a little research and parental monitoring. Read on to learn about the ways screen time can benefit your child.
Get the Brain Going with Puzzle Games
Wooden or paper cut-out puzzles used to be all the rage with kids. They’re fun, challenging, exciting, and when complete, rewarding. Since your kid is probably already obsessed with technology and electronic devices, use it to your advantage. Allow your kid to play puzzles and strategy games that work their brains.
Not sure where to look? Try the award-winning Thinkrolls or Thinkrolls 2 apps. The idea behind Thinkrolls is to navigate your character through a series of obstacles and mazes and reach the end. Once you’ve escaped the maze, another character is there waiting to be led through the next quest. Thinkrolls has won the Parents’ Choice Award, is ranked #2 in Apple App Store’s education category, and was featured as one of Apple’s best new apps. Thinkrolls 2 is also a puzzle and strategy game where the aim is to lead a small ball through various traps.
It comes with 270 challenging levels, 135 simpler puzzles for ages 3-5, and 135 hard puzzles for ages 5-9. The game teaches kids the basics of physics, gravity, electricity, and other concepts. If you think your child would enjoy the Thinkrolls games, you can also suggest an app like Cut the Rope. You’ve likely heard of the game, which has gotten 960 million downloads worldwide. It’s a physics-based game, and the aim is to help the monster character, Om Nom, get the candy by strategically cutting the rope it’s attached to. Your child will enjoy thinking creatively, as well as the app’s design, which it won multiple awards for, including the Apple Design Award, and the BAFTA Award. The game design is colorful, fun, and exciting, and each level builds on the previous one.
These puzzle-style games will have your kid thinking, strategizing, and working on their problem solving skills.
Straight Up Educational
Many kids don’t automatically take to educational games, which is why puzzle and strategy ones are fantastic. But if your kid enjoys learning new things, there are some incredible apps out there that they’ll enjoy. Take Duolingo for example. It’s the well-known language learning app that appeals to people of all ages. It’s extremely popular, as it does a really good job of mixing learning with gameplay. It rewards you with coins for the time you put in, the number of questions you answer correctly, and the amount of levels you get through. Just choose your language – popular ones include French, Spanish, and Mandarin – and you’re set. The app is intuitive, engaging, and beautifully designed.
There are also more specific learning apps like Stack the States, Star Walk and Star Walk 2. Stack the States makes learning about the 50 states fun with its colorful and dynamic gameplay.
It’s like Tetris, where kids learn about the shapes of each state by stacking them. The aim of the game is to collect all 50 states, but in the process you are taught about state capitals, geographic locations, and flags. The game is a must have for kids who are elementary school aged. Do you have a child fascinated by the solar system? You’re in luck. Have them download an app like Star Walk or Star Walk 2. These astronomy apps transform your iPad into an interactive guide to the sky. Just point the device at the sky to explore celestial bodies, and get extensive information about the stars and constellations you find. Star Walk 2 is an advanced version and uses your device’s sensors and GPS to determine the exact position of stars, planets, constellations, and meteor showers. Both of these apps offer excellent design and incredible usability.
There are also educational apps for subjects like math and history. DragonBox Apps, which was developed by former math teacher, Jean-Baptiste Huynh, aims to empower kids by creating game-based learning apps. Its most popular ones are the DragonBox+ Algebra series. It teaches kids how to solve algebraic equations using gamification techniques where they can earn points and badges. For the history-loving kids, there’s the BrainPOP Jr. Movie of the Week app. It offers animated learning on all subjects for kids, and has particularly great material in the history category. It delivers a different animated movie every week, as well as quizzes and other activities. The idea behind the animated movies is to cultivate critical thinking skills and encourage kids to ask questions.
Let the Creative Mind Flow
Aside from the problem-solving puzzle apps and educational apps, there are apps that are incredible for flexing that creative half of your child’s brain. Two of our favorites are Sago Mini Friends and Loopimal. Sago Mini Friends is ranked #19 in Apple App Store’s education category, and is an award-winning preschool app. It has 10 activities that aim to promote empathy, sharing, and creativity through pretend play. The best part about the app though, is that it can be used without WiFi. This means you can take it on a flight or long car rides with poor cell phone signal. Parents also love the app LOOPIMAL, which offers a way for young kids to learn about making music through a colorful sequencer.
Of course, if you’re looking for an app that will get your kid thinking creatively and using their imagination, check out the Toca Boca Apps. It’s an award-winning firm that creates products for kids, and from a kid’s perspective. Some of its most popular apps include Toca Band, Toca Blocks, and Toca Hair Salon.
Fire That iPad Screen Up
Having a child that’s obsessed with their phone, tablet, or other electronic devices is frustrating, and at times upsetting. So harness their screen time and ensure it benefits them by suggesting educational, clever, and fun apps that work the brain.