Educational apps can be great for stimulating your children’s imaginations, and helping them learn through alternative methods. The music, bright colours and animation often piques kids’ interest, helping them absorb information on vocabulary, letters and numbers.
Still, even though your kids are learning through apps, you need to set limits on screen time to protect their eyesight and prevent possible digital device addiction. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than an hour a day of screen time for children aged 2-5, and no screen time at all for infants aged 18 months and younger.
Here are some educational apps that will help the kids learn, while keeping them entertained. You’ll get to kill two birds with one stone!
Text: Young Parents team, Additional Reporting by Lisa Twang
If you want to teach the alphabet, download: Talking ABC
This stop-motion production takes your little one through the 26 letters, each introduced by an adorable animal sculpted from clay. Besides games and puzzles,
The Funny Words section lets you type in any word and see it turn into a claymation character that repeats what you say to it. The app developer recommends this for kids aged two to seven. However, the catchy ABC song and claymation will keep Baby enthralled as well.
What’s great: The app features exotic animals like the newt, vicuna and xiphias, so Junior can learn about wildlife around the world.
Get it: Activities related to letters A to E are free. Download the full version at $3.98, for iOS.
If she loves singing, download: Nursery Rhymes for Kids
Songs are a time-tested way to learn about the world. If you can’t hold a tune, this app will save you the embarrassment. Bond over familiar songs such as Itsy Bitsy Spider, Old MacDonald Had A Farm and Humpty Dumpty. Its large collection saves you the hassle of scouring Youtube for suitable videos when you need to distract a cranky baby.
What’s great: Each track is accompanied by an animated video with lyrics flashed on screen, karaoke-style. Most other apps of its kind tend to have static images – boring!
If you prefer to leave the books at home, download: Kidztory Treasury
From The Emperor’s New Clothes and The Ugly Duckling to Goldilocks and the Three Bears, this is one mobile library you can rely on when you’re on the go. Its 13 stories are beautifully illustrated and come with nine language options, including simplified Chinese. Click the “Read to me” button if you want them narrated, or select “Read by myself” if your older child is using the app.
What’s great: You can record your voice as you read. It personalises story time and your little one can listen to your narration at any time of the day.
Get it: $1.28, for iOS.
If you’re introducing shapes and sizes, download: Fish School…
Schools of colourful fish swim across the screen, forming letters of the alphabet, numbers, colours and shapes. Although preschoolers will benefit most from this award-winning app, the interactive features ensure your little one will not feel left out.
What’s great: The freeplay mode. Your child can control the movements and adjust the size of the fish by tapping on them. Even you’ll get a kick out of it.
Get it: $2.98, for iOS.
If she likes to doodle, download: Ookii Squiggles by Baby First & Lazoo
This app transforms your iPhone or iPad into an animated colouring book. Eye-catching graphics and simple voice instructions prompt your tot to draw a mane for a lion, wings for a butterfly and even rain clouds. Then, with a tap of a button, her drawings come alive, bouncing, flying and spinning across the screen.
What’s great: You can save your little one’s masterpieces in your phone, and share them on social media.
Get it: $2.58, for iOS.
If she’s fascinated by body parts, download: Laugh & Learn Where’s Puppy’s Nose?
One of many free apps designed by the Fisher-Price toy company, this teaches your little one about body parts, body movement and first words using catchy songs and games. The simple interface makes it easy for her to navigate the app on her own. She simply taps and tilts the screen to interact with Puppy and Kitty. There are two levels of play, so she won’t outgrow it too quickly.
What’s great: It allows you to turn on or off the character’s speech and background music so your child won’t irritate others when she’s playing with it in public.
If you want to start music lessons, download: Baby Piano HD
Baby will love tapping on the rainbow-coloured keys. Each musical note is accompanied by a cute animal character. Switch to the animal sound mode to hear a meow, mehhh and more. You’ll also have fun when you use the recording function to save your composition and play it back. It stores up to three songs on your iPad.
What’s great: When she’s older, you can play together by using the two-player mode. The notes you tap on will light up on the opposite side of the screen, so your child can follow along.
Get it: $1.28, only for the iPad. A free Baby Piano Lite version is available for iPhone and Android. It features seven keys instead of 15 and fewer features.