There’s no denying it’s important to limit how much time a child (or anyone, really) spends staring at a screen. Like sugary food or the Kardashians, some things are just best enjoyed in moderation.
But in today’s increasingly digital world it’s also impossible, and potentially limiting, to eradicate screen use altogether.
One thing is indisputably clear — kids learn from media, and the fact that they now have 24/7 access to screens nearly anywhere and everywhere means they’re learning more than ever. So “what” they’re watching — content — matters.
Admittedly, this kind of learning is passive and often solitary, which isn’t ideal for long stretches of time. But that’s not to say it’s without it’s benefits, either.
“There are definitely benefits to learning by watching,” Dr Fiona Martin, principal psychologist of the Sydney Child Psychology Centre. “We all watched videos at school didn’t we?
“It’s good for children to learn via different means and methods. People learn in different ways — we’re not all wired the same.”
In light of this, Gadtheory has put together a list of different educational apps for children, designed specifically to ensure they get the most out of their screen time (and you can cop a break).
Better yet, use this opportunity to check out the apps together as a family activity.
Ages 5 & Under
Endless Reader – Free with in-app purchases
From the team who came up with Endless Alphabet and Endless Numbers, Endless Reader helps develop literacy by introducing “sight words”, the most commonly used words in children’s books. Available on iPhone and iPad.
Tiny Robot Maker – A$2.99
This app lets kids create colourful robots from funky pieces of scrap metal, cogs and pipes. You can even print your favourite creations out later to turn into birthday cards, party invitations and colouring pages. Not into robots? Tiny Owl Maker and Tiny Fairy Maker options are also available. Available on iPhone and iPad.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar – A$4.49
Inspired by Eric Carle’s beloved artwork and featuring the every-popular Very Hungry Caterpillar, this app encourages budding artists to draw, paint, color, design and create in unique ways. Available on iPhone and iPad.
Little Digits – Finger Counting – A$4.49
Using the iPad multi-touch screen, this app is able to detect how many fingers a child puts down and displays fun number characters accordingly. A useful app for those interested in learning how to count. Available on iPad.
ABC KIDS VIEW – Free
Surely a must-own for any parent, this ad-free, on-demand app features a number of ABC’s trusted and loved programs. Tailored for preschoolers, it is available on iPhone and iPad.
The Human Body – A$4.49
An interactive app which lets kids explore a working model of the body, designed for kids to discover what we’re made of and how we work. Available on iPhone and iPad.
Monster Chords – Free with in-app purchases
Aimed at budding musicians, this app makes learning guitar chords a fun challenge. Note: a guitar or ukulele is necessary. Available on iPhone and iPad.
Wizard School – Free
Wizard School inspires curiosity and creative thinking across a number of subjects such as science, design, languages, geography and sports. Available on iPhone and iPad.
Swift Playgrounds – Free
It’s crazy to think that something as difficult as coding could appeal to 9-11 year olds. However this is what Swift Playgrounds aims to do. No prior coding knowledge is necessary. Available on iPad.
Star Walk 2 – A$4.49
This is an app for would-be star gazers, designed to teach users the exact position of stars, planets, constellations, comets, ISS, satellites, star clusters, nebulae and meteor showers in the night sky. Available on iPhone and iPad.
Quick Maths – Free with in-app purchases
Quick Maths is aimed at developing the general math skills of students in grades 2 to 6. With a focus on self-improvement, Quick Maths increases the difficulty of challenges as your skills develop. Available on iPhone and iPad.
DragonBox Elements – A$7.99
With over 100 puzzles to choose from, DragonBox elements is designed to teach children (and adults) about the logic of geometry, without them even realising they’re learning! This app is designed for both iPhone and iPad.