Combine educational value with screen time, thanks to these clever, instructive apps for kids.

If you are a parent, the likelihood is that it has been drilled into you from day one that screen time is something to be limited at all costs if you want to produce well-rounded, clever offspring. Yet what if you could combine the worlds of ‘digital’ and ‘education’, so that screen time becomes less about mindless video games and zombie-scrolling and more about learning new skills, such as coding, or finding fun ways to improve their maths, phonics or languages, on a platform that feels intuitive to the next generation. Let’s face it, the days of the chalkboard and abacus are long gone, so let’s embrace the latest technology with a range of apps to expand their brains, digitally, and future-proof their education.

Kodable


A great one to do together, Kodable is a computer-programming app designed for ages four to eleven, which teaches them all they need to know about coding in a ‘gameified’ environment. It will trick them into learning Javascript without blinking an eye, plus there are rewards to collect, levels to unlock and new worlds to discover. All the while they will be learning to code from scratch and develop their skills of logic and information processing.


The Human Body


Eight million downloads later, it’s safe to say The Human Body by Tiny Bop is a big hit with the under elevens. Aimed at primary schoolers, the beautifully illustrated, interactive app teaches anatomy and biology in a refreshingly straight-forward way: why the heart beats, how the eyes see and why the gut gurgles are just some of the big questions it answers. There’s plenty of gross stuff to keep them hooked as they shine a light on a character’s eye to watch their pupil’s dilate, throw food into another’s mouth to see its journey through the digestive system and even record their own sound to see how the ear canal reverberates. A great introduction for curious minds into how the body works.


Duolingo


If your teens are learning languages and getting swamped by future perfect and past imperfect grammar rules, try Duolingo. With a choice of 30 languages, your child will do ‘bite-size’ lessons that feel fun and intuitive. They will be tested on a mix of speaking, listening and translating skills, and all the while the clever app is learning where their strengths and weaknesses lie, thus tweaking their next session accordingly. A great way to lift a language off the page and help them build a daily practice, painlessly.


Reading Eggs


Multi award-winning Reading Eggs is an interactive reading programme with games, guided reading lessons and over 2000 digital story books included. Designed to take them all the way from three to thirteen, the scientifically researched content covers the five essential pillars of reading: phonics, phonemic awareness, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension. If that all sounds a bit dry, trust us, it’s not. Children will love the pets to collect and golden egg reward charts to keep them motivated. There are even maths modules too. Parents can track progress on their own dashboard and see detailed progress reports to help them guide their little one’s development.


Sky Guide


If you’ve got a budding astronaut on your hands, the Sky Guide makes stargazing simple. Just hold it overhead to automatically find stars, constellations, planets, satellites and even spot the International Space Station when it passes overhead. AR (augmented reality) technology allows the app to transport you back in time to see what the sky above you looked like the moment you were born, or to be an eyewitness to history's greatest comets. A great way to bring space that little bit closer and inspire small minds with big ideas.


Pigment


If your offspring are more creative than techy, why not let them loose on the digital equivalent of ‘pen and paper’. The pigment app uses an iPad and Apple pencil (or third-party stylus) to convert them into a sketch pad and range of eleven colouring tools; from oils to watercolours and pastels, it’s a mess-free option and great when travelling. There are 1,400 demonstrations and ‘how-to’ tutorials to help them improve their drawing skills. Great for budding illustrators or animators.


Piano Maestro by Joy Tunes


Whether you’re little one is a complete beginner, or you’re looking for a music app to keep up their practice on holidays, the Piano Maestro app is a great learning tool for the musically minded. Simply load up the app and sit it on your piano’s music stand and the app will listen while you play to check you’re note-perfect. From playing your first note, all the way up to concert pieces, the app builds in difficulty as your skills progress, until you are ready to take on some of its 2,800 song library all by yourself. If you don’t have a piano there is a ‘touch mode’ option too, which is great for testing out whether they’re interested before investing in equipment and lessons.

By Lydia Mansi
February 2020

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Lydia Mansi

Lydia is our resident expert on beauty.

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