I love kids, but raising children may be sometimes incredibly tough, trust me, I know from experience. Not only do you have to get used to functioning on way less sleep than you normally get, you also have to learn to multitask. A parent for the first few years of their children’s lives, not only has to take on the role of the parent, they also take on the role of teacher. You see, as my kids were growing, once they reached 2, maybe 3 years of age, I had to focus on their development. In the past, I simply focused on keeping them entertained so that we could keep the house in some kind of order, and get some much-needed sleep whenever we got a few spare minutes. As the kids grew and matured, however, I knew I would have to step up my parenting game. Before my kids made their way to pre-school, I wanted them to be ready. That’s why I decided to download numerous free educational apps and install them on my tablet. By the way, if you are a parent and you haven’t yet purchased a tablet, for goodness sake, get out there and get one before it’s too late. A tablet will keep your kids entertained for hours on end, allowing you to do the dishes, get the washing done, or perhaps to simply get a quick power nap. But I digress, I’m here to talk about free educational apps, so that is exactly what I shall be doing. If you’re looking for free apps that will not only entertain your kids but will also educate them in the process, look no further, as I will now be listing 11 apps that got me through parenthood.
A clever play on words here (the collective noun for a group of fish is a school) fish school is great for focusing on basic learning techniques taught in pre-school and such like. This app will teach your kids all about things like colors, numbers, letters, basic spelling, and so on. To enhance the fun, however, kids can use their fingers to make the fish swim on screen, which also helps with basic coordination. This app has actually won awards in the past, and it’s easy to see why. Download and install it today, it got me through many a dark and grey Monday with my terrors, and it will do the same for you.
LumiKids Park is another iOS app which has won multiple awards, and it is again very simple, which is why I thought it rocked! LumiKids Park is an app which teaches kids how to sort colors, shapes, and other objects, based on things like size. It’s awesome because it works on a kid’s hand-eye coordination and basic motor skills. It is so simple to use as there is no text or detailed instructions, so they can start using it right away. Best of all is that it ‘learns’ so it will assess your child’s current abilities and will display puzzles based upon your child’s skills.
Toca Kitchen Monsters
Generally, monsters and kids tend not to mix but how about some monsters of a different kind? Yes, based upon the hugely popular Toca Kitchen App, this version is completely free. The idea is for players to create different meals using different ingredients on screen, being sure not to add too much seasoning, as this will cause the monsters to hilariously spit it back at the screen. This app is wonderful because it works on the creative parts of the brain, focusing on creativity and imagination. Players can play freely and do as they please, giving them a sense of freedom and independence. The app has 2 unique monsters, with each one having their own favorite foods and dishes. Your kids will have access to 8 unique ingredients which can be utilized in different ways in order to make dishes that will appeal to the monsters on-screen. What’s more, they can prepare the ingredients in different ways, as they can fry, grill, microwave, boil, or mix any of the different ingredients. There are no rules or guidelines, your kid can simply do what they like with the ingredients, when they like. There is even a vegetarian mode for those of you who wish to bring up your children vegetarian, or perhaps to teach them about the importance of vegetables.
Laugh and Learn: Shapes and Colours
This app has been a lifesaver for me, on many a Sunday afternoon when all I wanted was a little peace and quiet so as to get some housework done. The Laugh and Learn: Shapes and Colours app is fairly simple at its core, but that doesn’t make it any less entertaining. The app allows your kids to tap on the screen to create a whole variety of different shapes, all in different colours. Granted it’s not the most educational app ever created, but it will keep your little monsters entertained for an hour or so, so you can’t really say fairer than that.
I loved playing with this app, and I’m not ashamed to admit that either. Not only did I love it, but more importantly, my kids loved it too. Alphabet Zoo is a great educational app that is perfect for toddlers. The basic premise of this app is that your child will click on a letter, and from that letter, an animal will be displayed on the screen that begins with that same letter. The app will also tell your child the name of the letter. So, as an example, if you were to click ‘D’ the app would tell your child the name of the letter and would display an animal beginning with ‘D’ like, Dog. If your child isn’t fond of animals, or if, like mine, they managed to list every animal known to man, there is also a vehicle version available.
123 Learning: Games for Jnr Kids
Aimed at children aged 3 and above, 123 Learning: Games for Jnr Kids is an app which is very easy to use, educational, and surprisingly engaging. This is an app with games based primarily around mathematics. The app contains a series of number-based games designed to help your kids improve their basic math skills. It utilizes techniques like: counting objects, identifying numbers, matching quantities, and much more besides. There are, in total, 15 games for your child to play, which also work on motor skills such as hand-eye coordination. Completely free to purchase, if you are looking to help your child improve their basic grasp of numbers, this is the perfect app for you.
Baby games for 2-Year-Olds
As you can probably tell, this app is aimed at young children, and ideally, it is recommended for children aged 2 – 5. I decided to give it a shot with my kids, and I’m so glad that I did. The app helps your children to develop pre-school skills and functions from the comfort of their own home. This app is jam-packed full of fun features and mini-games, with more than 32 simple and educational mini-games to be enjoyed. Just some of the games that can be enjoyed include Animal Sounds, Baby Phone, Fun Shapes, Pop the Bubble, ABC’s, 123,s, and much more besides. This app is completely free, though there is a subscription service option where you can basically remove advertisements, which can get slightly annoying at times. As yet however, I’ve resisted the urge to shell out just under a dollar a month, and have stuck with the free version, which my kids love.
PBS Kids Video
As great as you may feel installing educational apps that help your kids to learn as they have fun, sometimes it’s nice to simply sit them down in front of their favorite cartoons, and have a couple of minutes peace and quiet. This is why I decided to give the PBS Kids app a shot, and I’m so glad that I did. Kids love watching their favorite cartoons, but you can’t set them loose on Netflix, YouTube, or other streaming sites because you’ve no idea what they may come across, or what they may click by accident. With PBS Kids, however, your child can basically choose to watch whatever they like, and you can relax because you know the content is suitable for your child. Suitable for ages 5 and under, this app is ideal for those of you with young toddlers requiring entertainment.
Wheels On The Bus Musical
With an age-rating of PEGI 3, this is another very entertaining app that your kids will not be able to put down. This app is an all-in-one interactive activity centre packed full of entertaining games and features that kids will adore. The games are entertaining and educational, and the sing along songs, including eleven, yes, eleven, versions of the ‘Wheels on the Bus’ song are strangely addictive. There aren’t many FREE apps out there that will provide numerous free games and features, but this app certainly ticks all of the right boxes.
Storybook Rhymes Volume 1
Up next I’ll be talking about the Storybook Rhymes Volume 1 app. Suitable for ages 3+, this is another app that my kids just couldn’t seem to get enough of. This app is great because it is interactive, and entertaining all at the same time. As you have probably guessed, the app is basically an interactive storybook, making it great for times when you’re trying to get your kids to relax and calm down after a busy afternoon of creating mayhem in your living room. Kids can sing along with, or simply read, their favorite nursery rhymes, with classics such as ‘Itsy Bitsy Spider’ and ‘one, two, buckle my shoe’. The app has everything a developing toddler could need, including dynamic and engaging characters, soothing music, songs which are sung back to them, and eye-catching and vibrant animations that bring to stories to life. If you want an app that will help keep your child’s attention and assist with their development in the process, this is the perfect app for you.
Josh and Emma go to the beach
Finally, before I leave you alone, I’d like to take you to the beach next, with Josh and Emma. Yes, the Josh and Emma go the beach app is yet another educational app that does exactly what it says on the tin. The app focuses on math and reading, in the clever guise of a story. Yes, the app revolves around Josh and Emma, who are, shock horror, at the beach. Stories will be read aloud by the app, and the idea is that your child will help Josh and Emma put common beach-themed items into their red bucket, with the app counting each one as they are picked up and added. The great thing about this app however, is that it is also very interactive. By simply tapping on a certain part of the screen, the app will describe what is going on in the image displayed. For example, if they were to touch the sea, the app would describe it, I.E ‘The Sea is wet and blue’. Kids will be taught a series of useful life skills with this app, including problem-solving and counting, and as mentioned, the app encourages them to explore their surroundings and engage with what else happens to be going on on-screen. There are two stories which are completely free, and if your child does happen to enjoy these, additional stories can be purchased for a very small amount as well.
And that is pretty much that. Trust me, I know that bringing up young children is not easy, and I also know that you will want to provide them with as much help as possible before they make their way to pre-school and begin learning and socializing with others. This is why I decided to download as many free educational apps for my kids as possible. Grab yourself a tablet, head over to the app store, and check out the apps listed above. Trust me, you won’t regret it.