The first time I became a parent was 1991 and I gave birth to a beautiful little girl. Technology as part of everyday conversations or need was not something I worried about. It was 1995 when I bought my first cell phone – analog, no less – and the computers I had did basic word processing and accessed the Internet via dialup.
Now, almost 23 years later, I have three young children ages 10, almost 9 and 6 and the amount of technology around this place is enough for me. However, they’re still asking for and wanting more. Being the old-fashioned parent that I am I limit technology to computers, LeapPad, cameras and the phone they recently acquired. One would think they’d be content, right? Well, not exactly. Some evil person introduced them to applications or apps, as they’re so fondly called, and they’ve been itching to add more to their phone. Not to mention swiping my tablet for themselves.
They only have two right now: Word Search and Flow Free. There are quite a few word search options for kids and I find these are really helpful to assist with spelling. Flow Free is a puzzle game where the player has to connect matching colors with pipe to create flow. It requires some problem solving, which is great for young minds. I don’t know about you, but I prefer apps for children to have some educational component.
Since they aren’t too familiar with different apps, I get out of downloading, reviewing, testing and/or buying anything additional. But if I did (huge sigh!) allow them complete app knowledge there are three Android apps I would start with:
1. Animal Games for Kids
It’s slotted for 2- to 6-year-old children so my youngest would love it. She’s an intellectual rock star, but insists on releasing the baby in her. I don’t see anything she would learn from this game because she’s pass this stage, but it will definitely be fun. My granddaughter, who’s only 15 months, would love this one. Not only will it help her in matching, but it can give her an early start on puzzles. She already knows how to use her mom’s phone for her own apps.
2. Kindle from Amazon Mobile
Since I own a Kindle this would be the best e-reader for my children. They can download hundreds of free books as well as find good books that cost very little. If you’re a Nook fan then you probably already know there is an Android app for that as well.
3. Spanish vocabulary 4 children
I’d like my children to learn different languages and we’re working on Spanish now. According to the description, “Spanish for kids is a program for children to learn Spanish language vocabulary so simple and intuitive.” So far I like that it uses pictures plus words to teach the language, and it seems age appropriate for all of my children. If they progress with this one then I’ll choose another that’s a bit more advanced.
As I have yet to learn about individual app developers I have no recommendations on developers to look out for. When I’m looking for an app I generally decide based on ratings and ease of use. Sometimes it takes trying a few before I get one that works for me.
Let’s talk again about apps in the future. There are tons of iPhone and iPad apps that I’ve heard are extremely popular. In the meantime, what apps are your children using?