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4 fun, educational apps for young learners

Can't get your kids away from screens? Download these fun apps that encourage learning. Source: Shutterstock

Parents are being urged to limit their kids’ screen time, with multiple reports advising them that it’s bad for their developmental health and could lead to obesity and sleeping problems.

However, while planting your child in front of a screen for several hours probably isn’t the best idea, there are ways children can actually benefit from using electronic screens, when used the right way.

The digital world is growing bigger by the day and it’s becoming increasingly difficult for parents to keep their kids away from smartphones, iPads and computers.

It’s important to make sure these devices are being used for the right reasons at a suitable age, and for a reasonable amount of time per day.

Limiting screen time to less than two hours a day for kids aged 5-17 is generally recommended, according to the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth.

When allowing your child to use a smartphone or iPad, why not introduce them to fun, educational apps instead of videos?

These apps and games enhance your child’s learning and spark creativity, yet they’re still fun and safe, so your child enjoys using them without thinking it’s ‘study time’.

Here are a few fun apps for kids that will keep them occupied and stimulate their brains at the same time:

Comic Life

An example of creating a comic with Comic Life. Source: Digital Graphic Tools

While creating comics may seem like a frivolous waste of time to some parents, they are actually very beneficial.

Comics are a great visual representation of knowledge, encouraging reading and writing, developing creative thought processes, helping organisation through storytelling and storyboarding, and many more things.

With this app, kids can turn images into comics using fun and quirky templates, image filters, and a large selection of fonts, colours, gradients, graphics, captions, images, and so on.

With an easy-to-use drag and drop interface, kids can use their imagination and creativity to tell compelling stories to their friends, families or teachers with a fun comic.

According to the website, “Comic Life is also great for doing school projects, how to guides, flyers for your business or group, storyboarding, lesson plans, book reports, internet memes; and that’s just to name a few!”

Many schools have also started using Comic Life in the classroom for group assignments and creative projects. Educators in over 80 countries have found it a great tool to complement their lesson plans.

News-O-Matic

This app releases appropriate daily news stories for kids. Source: News-O-Matic

Best described as an interactive daily newspaper for kids, this app is a fun way children can read age-appropriate news. A child psychologist reviews every article, ensuring the right words are used so kids will understand without being afraid of sensitive issues.

Each daily edition has five new articles which cover a wide range of topics – from space science to endangered species, football and fashion, to appeal to readers of all ages.

They can also engage with the stories through interactive writing and drawing features. It’s a great way to encourage your kids to read more!

There’s also a version of the app targeted to teachers for classroom use, called News-O-Matic Edu.

Note: For now, the news articles in this app only cover North America and France.

Habitat the Game

Kids learn how to be eco-warriors with this fun and cute app. Source: Habitat the Game

For ages 4 and up, this fun free game is designed to educate players on the effects on climate change on various species, teaching them how their own carbon footprint can impact the planet at the same time.

The game involves adopting a polar bear, keeping it alive and healthy by doing virtual tasks such as feeding and grooming, as well as real-world missions such as turning off the lights, recycling and other eco-friendly activities.

The game rewards players with points and bonuses to encourage them to continue on these ecological ‘missions’.

What a creative way to teach kids about the importance of conservation!

Nancy Drew: Codes and Clues

Kids have to find mystery objects and apply basic coding concepts. Source: YouTube

Preparing kids for a future filled with new technology is important, as well as sparking interest in STEM fields for girls.

This app is a great way for kids to learn the basics of coding in an uncomplicated interface and fun mystery-solving features.

According to the website, “players find clues in hidden object games and apply basic coding concepts to code their puppy and help Nancy out of tight spots at the end of every chapter.”

The interactive game builds several skills as kids have to find the clues to ‘move the code’ and solve the mystery, such as reading comprehension, critical thinking and pattern recognition.

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