Exposing kids to screens and technology is always a controversial topic. However this is a time when even classroom learning is happening through screens. In my experience, screens have been nothing but beneficial. The key is to choose good content and sensible usage. There are a number of free educational games and learning apps for kids available on various platforms. Read on to find the best nine Learning Apps for Kids Ages 2-7, all of them tried, tested and much enjoyed by my 5 year old 🙂
Update: He is 6 as of today, we have added more to our list although some of these are still on our favorites list. Read On!!
How we started using apps.
My child is autistic and speech delayed. So teaching and learning happens differently. He learned to identify letters, shapes and colors from rhymes that he used to watch. At the age of 3, he hesitated to write/color/draw using a crayon. Whenever he used markers, he would apply too much pressure that the tips would be pushed inside. That is how I started looking for apps that could help him trace. It was all about giving him time and being patient. Now he is 5 and can write, draw and color. From then on, we have used a lot of learning apps because I figured that he learns better that way. Screen time is inevitable in our learning routines, so we always strive to make it efficient.
R V APP STUDIOS
RV App Studio offers a variety of learning apps for kids( toddlers, kindergarteners and first graders.) Right from the baby phone app for the baby’s first words to fun games for practicing multiplication. They also have apps for coloring and simple puzzles for kids.
* Easy to navigate
* 100% free
* Available on android and iPhones
* No ads or in-app purchases
* Kids get to pick their rewards 🙂
- My son used to find it difficult to hold the pincer grasp (the ideal way to hold a writing object) and hence he always hesitated to write on paper. But he used to love tracing the alphabet and numbers. We started with the ABC app for tracing alphabet. This also got him familiar with letter sounds and matching words. He learned his alphabets, phonics and numbers with apps from RV app studios.
- The ABC kids and 123Numbers are apps that help with the following;
Uppercase and lowercase tracing and identification
Matching uppercase and lowercase
Phonic sounds and matching words
Count and match
The Math Kids app introduces addition and subtraction by means of games, quizzes and puzzles. Even if the kid is not ready for mathematical operations, they will have fun counting and doing the puzzles. Now we are currently on their sight words and spelling apps which helps kids learn to read with flashcards, sight word games, and other fun diversions, all using simple Dolch lists!
Click on the below links to download these apps on your device. They are available on various platforms.
Khan Academy Kids
This is one of the best learning apps for kids. It is like an encyclopedia that holds most of the kindergarten curriculum, if not more.
No annoying pauses or instructions.
Good language and lots of fun for the kids.
No ads at all
No hidden charges or purchases
Available on both Android and iPhones
Once you install the app on the mobile or the tab, you can create an avatar for your child and enter his/her name. Age-appropriate activities/games will be prompted thereafter. You can help your child to follow the prompts or choose from the vast resources in the library. It is very easy to navigate through the app and the voice instructions are easy to follow for kids. Activities are followed by cheering and rewards which motivates the kids to do well.
* 100s of books (short reads) on various topics that appeal to kids, which have both Read to Me or Read by Myself options.
* Videos on various subjects are both fun and educational.
* The create section has hundreds of templates for drawing, coloring, tracing letters and spelling etc.
* Lots of fun activities to familiarise the kids with the alphabet and numbers.
* Reading activities that help familiarise and lay the foundation of early reading skills.
* Activities that help to boost flexible thinking, focus, memory, social and emotional development etc.
Khan academy kids need an internet connection, however certain sections like the create-activities can be accessed offline too.
This app is easy for a kid to use independently. It is also a great way to bond with your child if you do the activities together. Especially in the reading activities which would be extra beneficial with all the new vocabulary. Also, that way, you hold the control so that all the activities are covered. You can also keep track of the activities covered as well as your kids progress.
App and Website
Starfall apps as well the website are great resources for Pre-K and Kindergarten curriculum. Great for teaching letter sounds and would help early readers. The math activities are very interesting, like measuring household things which my son loves to do.
- No Ads
- Easy to navigate
- Engaging and interesting activities
- Covers Kindergarten as well as 1-3 grades
Starfall.com includes activities that covers Maths, Language, Arts/Music, Seasonal. Starfall has a whole LOT OF FREE content which is engaging enough but you can avail further resources at 35$/year for home membership.
Coding for kids
If you think the Pre-K apps are too silly for your kid, try the Scratch Jr app. It is a coding app for kids aged 5-7.
- No ADs
- Easy to navigate
ScratchJr is a great tool for kids to create their own stories, solve problems, design projects and express their ideas on a computer. There is a collection of characters, objects, backgrounds etc, which can be used in a variety of scenarios that you might want to create. The kids can select them, drag and drop, add effects and make them go, run, dance, fly etc. It is a basic drag and drop coding tool for kids, very easy to navigate and use with minimal adult intervention. Find out more about the app here
Language learning app
Duolingo is one of the best language learning app with over 100 million downloads. Even if the kids may not be able to use them on their own, it is a great activity to do as a family. Wouldn’t it be fun learning a new language basics along with your kids?
Duolingo also has an iOS app for teaching young kids to read English, the Duolingo ABC.
Supermarket: Shopping Games
An interesting app to teach shopping 😀 This is a fun game to learn while they play. Kids can learn how to shop with a list, how to stick to a list 😉 and also learn about cash denominations and transactions.
The only downside to this app is the ads, however you can buy the full version for the NO-Ads option.
To download this app, click here.
Astronomy for Kids 🚀 Space Game by Star Walk 2
This app makes the lessons about stars and solar system more interesting. The interface is simple and the narration is easy to follow. Each section has facts, animations and movies that makes it more fun. It also has a quiz at the end of each part.
To download this app click here.
While the app version requires a paid membership, the desktop version is absolutely free with tons of content catering to Pre-K through 6th grade. We are currently having fun with all the learning games in the Kindergarten section. Math, Phonics, Holiday games, Logical games etc are really helping us.
Yet another favorite one of ours; again this one is a desktop version too. My little man started enjoying doing his addition-lessons after his teacher introduced this learning website. This one too has a lot of content for Pre-K to Grade 8. An interesting thing about this site is that you can choose games according to the skills that need practice. For eg, comparison, measurement, time, patterns, etc.
How to make screen time more Useful
Choose good content. Lock, block or uninstall content that is not helping your kid. Always monitor the usage.
Always maintain a fixed time for screen activities. Use a timer and follow it religiously, soon the kid will start following it too.
Use screen time as a reward for other chores or exercises done. Convey to the kid that screen time is a privilege and he/she has to work to earn it. For eg: We have a set of tasks like, writing, cleaning up the toys etc to be done before asking for tab. Check out these activities here
Never use screens as a babysitter or as a means to stop a tantrum.
Allow room for boredom so that the kid gets to be creative and find means to entertain him/herself.
Talk to them about the real world links of whatever they are playing or learning from the device.
Please use your own discretion to decide whether your child should learn online or offline. Screen time is a controversial topic in many parenting groups. Let us not judge each other as every child is different, every child learns differently and every parent wants the best for their child.