Most kids can’t keep their hands off anything with a screen: the prospect of all those buttons to be pressed and swiped is just too tempting! Not to mention, the bright colours and movement are great for keeping them occupied if you need a moment to yourself. When it comes to stimulating their young minds, smartphone apps are a great way to introduce children to technology while keeping their brains ticking over. And it doesn’t have to be Angry Birds or bust – for your digitally-minded youngster, we’ve scoured the app store to find the best educational apps for children.
Parents of keen environmentalists, or children who just can’t resist big, furry animals, will find Habitat a gem of a game. The goal is to keep a polar bear alive for as long as possible. Suitable for ages 6-8, Habitat is a task-based game, and the more tasks completed, the healthier our polar pal becomes. It’s a fun way to get kids out and about and interested about the effect they have on the world: every time they complete a positive environmental action – or visit one of the real-life Habitat locations – they are rewarded with in-game points.
The bright, primary colours of Flow Free will attract your child; the addictive puzzle games will make them stay. A series of different colours need to be joined together with pipes to create increasingly longer stretches, all without overlapping. Be careful out there – if the pipes cross, they break apart and you have to start over. It’s a challenging game that’ll get them thinking ahead, and there are thousands of levels to work through.
Fish School is created by the multi-award winning Duck Duck Moose, so you can be assured the game’s a good one. Aimed at ages 2-5, the quirky characters draw children in and they’ll be learning before they even realise it. There are eight different educational activities: letters, numbers, shapes, colours, differences, matching, play and music, all taught through swiping and tapping the colourful sea creatures as they flit about their underwater world.
After realising his son spent a lot of time on Fruit Ninja having fun, but not necessarily learning, the creator of Phonics Ninja figured he could make education just as exciting. Kids get their ‘ninja’ on by slicing through words, phonic blends, and phonic digraphs, using sight, sound and touch. Teaching alphabet awareness and phonics skills, kids can challenge themselves on three levels of difficulty, while the dynamic game play adjusts according to how well they’re doing – so they’re unlikely to feel under-stimulated or bored.
The way to their hearts is through their stomachs, so bringing pizza into the educational arena is a good call. With their chef friend, kids learn fractions by counting the slices of pizza they see on screen. Suitable for ages 9-11, once they’ve chowed down on Pizza Fractions 1, there’s Pizza Fractions 2 and Pizza Fractions 3 to sink their teeth into as well.
The cute monsters of Endless Reader join kids on their reading journey in this app. Using ‘sight words’, children pair pictures with words in order to memorise them and further their reading comprehension. Throughout the game, letters come alive and words turn into a picture of what they’re depicting, so there’s no chance of boredom as they zip through the different levels at their own pace.