Children’s access to mobile media has skyrocketed in recent years, with 38% of children under the age of 2, 80% of children ages 2-4, and 83% of children ages 5-8 using mobile devices for an array of entertainment and educational purposes (Common Sense Media, 2013). Common Sense Media (2013) published a report indicating that roughly half of all children have used mobile apps by the age of eight. Interestingly, the most frequently used apps are comprised of educational gaming (Common Sense Media, 2013). Thus, the opportunity to use an iPad or smart phone as an educational academy device appears to be a unique frontier for today’s busy parents.
BCOTB has compiled a list of resources to help make your search for relevant and appropriate apps easier for you and your child.
Top Educational Apps:
- Common Sense Media has a great list of preschool apps as well as a wonderful page on apps for all age levels (preschool-teen).
- The Early Childhood Education Zone has developed a list of 15 must-have apps for preschoolers.
- The American Association of School Librarians has compiled a wonderful list of recommendations for educational apps, which should not be missed.
- Teach Thought has compiled a list of free educational apps for Apple that are more geared towards older learners.
Try Paid Apps for Free!
- Smart apps for kids offers free trials of apps for children each Friday. This app is only for Apple products.
- AppGratis is an app discovery platform offering free app trials for 24 hour time periods and up to 90% off other apps.
When delivering an iPad, —or any other item your child prefers—remember that how, when, and why you give the iPad to your child matters! In addition to using your child’s motivation for the iPad as a unique opportunity to explore educational apps, you can also capitalize on an opportunity to have him or her practice requesting things appropriately. See our past blog on teaching requests (mands) for more information. You can also use access to the iPad as a reward for good behavior. Keep the following in mind when rewarding your child:
- Make reasonable goals for your child.
- It may not be appropriate to have them work all day for a reward. Instead, have him or her work for several short periods with reward breaks in between.
- State expectations clearly and positively.
- Focus on what you want your child to do, not on what you don’t want him or her to do.
- Don’t use the promise of a reward as a threat for not behaving.
- Only give the reward if it was earned.
BCOTB hopes you and your child enjoy these apps and wishes you happy gaming!