Gadgets have drawn the ire of many a bystander when left in the hands of children, but mums and dads know that appropriate usage over a moderate timespan actually brings more boon than bane to their precious tots.
Instead of shoving the screen to a little one’s face and placating their tantrums with endless loops of Baby Shark, here are 8 free educational apps for kids. Available across iOS and Android devices, they’ll impart creativity, literacy, math skills and even music sight-reading upon your child in such fun and engaging ways that it won’t even feel like learning.
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Colouring books have always been a cheap and simple source of joy, but tech advancements have eradicated the need to lug stationery out and about. You can essentially fit endless colouring templates into your pocket, and Colour Quest AR kicks things up a notch by introducing an Augmented Reality (AR) element.
Once your own little Picassos and Da Vincis are done colouring with all shades of the rainbow, they can cast their masterpieces onto real-life living scapes through the AR camera function. Besides a trippy sight to behold as they spin the viewfinder around and watch the cartoons react to the surroundings, the app also provides fun facts on the character they’ve drawn.
Slaying monsters, keeping tabs on your vital stats and advancing to progressively harder levels – these are aspects of quest fighting games which make them wildly popular across genders, ages and generations. In Monster Maths, kids journey through an exhilarating battle world by solving math sums.
It’s customisable according to the child’s skill level, from basic addition all the way to multiplication and division of higher digits. Parents can even toggle the number range on the settings page based on what their kid is more comfortable with, or steer the gameplay towards areas in which they need more practice.
Especially for parents thinking of enrolling their kids into piano, violin or drum lessons in future, or envision their little ones becoming songsters and songstresses in a choir – Mussila Music School is a free and easy way to gain a foundation in music.
The app has a series of mini games – including virtual piano and drum-playing sessions – for kids to be exposed to basic sheet music and an introduction to sight-reading. Taking the intimidation out of music for beginners, visuals are striking cartoons with colourful graphics instead of a super formal and proper interface.
A great app for toddlers, Pinkfong Shapes & Colours will be their introduction to pattern identification and visual-tracking. In simple terms, the game showcases bright and captivating graphics for quick and easy games. The mini sessions can be enjoyed in little doses, or played in succession for a crash course of sorts.
Besides the whimsical cartoons that are a delight even for parents to see, the wide range of activities and manageable difficulty level ensure that kids don’t get stumped on a level for too long and have the fun sucked out of learning.
A lifetime of learning begins with toddlers nailing the ABCs. Rather than serenading your kids with the alphabet song repeatedly, without inculcating a proper understanding of what the letters sound when spoken or what they can spell, download the Starfall ABCs app for them to explore the various flash lessons and mini games.
Depending on the age of the player and how advanced your tiny one is, activities range from visual recognition to simple Spelling Bees. Even though the app is targeted towards very young players, the games are pretty exciting and satisfying to beat, helping even new learners ace these building blocks of the English language.
Educational apps of such nature are a dime a dozen, but what makes Lingokids special is the plethora of specific categories, broken down according to everyday themes and life occurrences. This goes beyond a mish-mash of basic words like “cat” and “dog”, which requires kids to memorise random words without connecting links to aid their overall understanding.
In terms of boosting your child’s vocab level, think of Lingokids as a supplementary tool together with regular practising IRL. For example, a session going through the app’s “Bath Time” category can be reinforced when you’re scrubbing your toddler for real, getting him or her to identify objects and recite key phrases related to the situation.
Great to have on the family device for households where kids are of varying ages, Reading Eggs is a word bank and spelling practice app covering a wide difficulty spectrum. Tiny tots get to pick up basic words by matching them with illustrations. Meanwhile, older kids can strengthen their vocab by smashing out quizzes and solving reading comprehension puzzles.
Coming from a generation where tuition classes as well as rote memorisation of phrase books and essay guides were the norm, games like these which are educational yet light-hearted and fun are a godsend. Teens are able to pick up nifty words for them to elevate their exam scores or impress in everyday usage contexts, all while relaxing and playing with their device.
Talk about a treasure trove of engaging and educational activities at the tap of a button. Puzzingo is a jam-packed mobile collection of over 100 mini games, throwing in elements of literacy and numeracy with eye-catching graphics. Even kids with the shortest attention spans and most finicky of tastes are bound to find a mini game they like.
Note: The free version of the app comes with a basic starter pack, but additional activity top-ups are chargeable.
Parents can set in-app voice instructions to American English, British English, Chinese and even Japanese. Besides word and number puzzle games, the activity packs also involve themes such as food, animals, weather, cars, princesses and many more.
Be it a distraction to stop crying fits or for them to stay occupied while you finally catch a breather, parents are all too familiar with the role of tech gadgets and mobile apps in their kids’ lives. Instead of feeling guilty for allowing them screen time, ditch the mind-numbing videos and pointless games for these educational apps.
They won’t cost you a single cent, and most of them have parental-lock functions as well to ensure your children’s itchy fingers won’t wander around outside of the app you’ve set for them.
Check out more useful apps and browser add-ons to download:
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