While nothing beats the fun – and benefits – of creative, open-ended play for littlies, we’re lucky enough to have technology at our fingertips to enhance educational opportunities too.
Experts tell us that small screens can be the perfect playtime partner for preschool children, if you choose the programming and apps they’re using carefully – and adhere to sensible screen time guidelines.
Ann says the key to positive screen time is selecting great apps and chatting to your child about the games they are playing.
“Good apps or games should facilitate conversation between parents and children during this play. The goal of a child’s interaction with screen-based games should be to help him or her learn a concept, to formulate and organise ideas, to help with communication, or to develop basic preschool skills,” Ann explained.
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With this in mind, we’ve curated some excellent choices for parents who want to get the most out of kids’ screen time, curating apps that focus on education, creativity, cutting-edge design and ease of use – for mums, dads and kids!
Here’s seven great places to get started:
7 fun and educational apps for preschoolers
1. Play-Doh TOUCH
Combine your child’s real life Play-Doh creations with this awesome app, and see them come to life in the virtual world too!
From the trusted brand we all grew up with, Play-Doh TOUCH helps your child shape, scan, adventure and explore via a bunch of innovative and educational games.
2. Daniel Tiger’s Grr-ific Feelings
This helpful and fun game from PBS Kids helps very small children to identify and learn more about feelings through a series of games and songs.
It’s part of the hugely successful Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood suite of games and is jam packed with delightful activities.
3. My Very Hungry Caterpillar
Your child can hatch, play with, feed and care for their very own My Very Hungry Caterpillar!
Inspired by the much-loved book by Eric Carle, your kiddo will love the cute adventures this app has tucked away.
Tuck your caterpillar into bed, push him on a swing, grow flowers and fruit for him … You can even take him sailing, which is a rare joy for caterpillars!
4. Marco Polo Weather
This science-y app explores weather in a super-engaging way – and could help you raise your very own meteorologist!
DIY your own rainbows, create thunderstorms, unleash blizzards – and learn more about the everyday world of weather with some cute characters as co-pilots.
5. Toca Nature
This bewitching app is beautiful to look at, and heaps of fun to play with too. Grow a forest, shape a river, create a mountain, even.
Your child can have fun exploring, collecting berries and nuts, feeding animals and making friends with a fox. It’s all bit magical, we think!
6. Alphatots Alphabet
This great app takes 26 action verbs and illustrates and animates them to help toddlers learn the alphabet.
B is for ‘build’ robots, D helps us “dig” for treasure and z has us”zapping” alien spaceships. You get the picture.
It’s basically heaps of ABC awesome for the kiddo in your life – and builds literacy skills in between all the fun.
7. Beck and Bo: Toddler First Words
Gorgeous characters Beck and Bo use animation to help children become familiar with the everyday world and build vocabulary.
Go on a train trip with their beloved dog, swim in the ocean with a giant whale, visit the jungle and meet amazing animals or visit a theme park, learning and playing all the way!
What are you waiting for?!
Have you and your child played with any of these apps? Or perhaps you have other firm pre-school favourites? We’d love to hear more about them.