As parents, grandparents and caregivers we are always looking for ways to occupy the curious minds and the small hands of our little toddlers and preschoolers that surround us. Especially when we have important chores to complete. Prior to modern technological gadgets, and before television was “kid friendly” my mother would allow me to call my grandma on the telephone to keep me in one place for just a few minutes when she needed to get an adult task accomplished. Keep in mind, this was when we had to know phone numbers, not just open a contact list. Although we love spending time with teaching and playing with these children, we cannot feel guilty using the occasional educational television programming. Another popular item for this needed “busy time” is a smart phone or tablet. Not as in a pad of paper, although that works well also, an electronic tablet. For those not familiar, these devices are for downloadable applications, or apps. Apps come in all shapes, sizes, and age appropriations. Most are just fun to play, but many are very educational. If you are a smart phone or tablet owner with a little one in your presence, you may want to check out some of these more popular FREE apps for children:
- Curious George At The Zoo
The man with the yellow hat guides George through games at the zoo with instructions as to what the animals need. Wake up and clean the animals then choose the appropriate foods. Create a sticker book and take screen shots of your work.
- Diner Dash Boom
Determine how many customers there are in a party, find a table with the same number and get them settled in. Take their orders and turn them in to the cooks according to the table number, deliver the food tray that matches that number and follow up with the bill and payment. A fast action game that keeps a timer on how many customers come and go. You have to hurry or your customers get upset!
- Articulation Station
Structure words and sentences using a letter in the alphabet. Record your voice and play it back for loads of fun. Advance through an initial, medial, and final setting completing each level with accuracy.
- Talking Games
These games are a big hit and really a hoot. Choose from Talking Gina the giraffe, Talking Pierre the parrot, Talking Ben the dog and many more. They are talking puppet-like characters that repeat what you or your child tells them simply by talking at the screen.
- Tiny Zoo
Your child can create a zoo by adding animals, paths, popcorn machines, and just about anything else they would like to imagine and build. Earn points to expand your zoo by daily feeding and cleaning.
- TabTale Books
Favorite classics like Princess Frog, Wizard of Oz, Goldilocks and Princess and the Pea are interactive books with read along options. Tapping the screen provides fun, interesting surprises on each page.
- Bluebear Technologies
Your child can create foods like Chocolate Pizza, Corn Dogs, Marshmallows, Donuts, Cotton Candy, Cakes, Ice Pops and many more. Specific instructions in both picture and word form encourages reading, improves fine motor skills and promotes imagination. Choose colors and decorations to unleash your creative side and develop decision-making skills.
Life is busy for all of us. With modern technology such as it is, why not take advantage of a little help now and then? Your child will be quietly entertained and not even know it while having fun learning. It will be our little secret.
Know of any other great apps for kids? Let me know and I will share them.