We’ve all seen it at the dinner table: the kid who simply does not want to part with the iPad, iPod, iPhone, iTouch, iEtc. As frustrating as it may be, let’s accept the fact that the onslaught of i-Accessories have become part of our family’s everyday. Let’s also devise a plan to take advantage of the many learning opportunities that exist in these dynamic little devices.There are countless applications and programs designed to educate in a more fun, interactive, and unconventional way. Some apps may help you prepare your younger kiddo for school. Some may be the key to helping frustrated young students who have a hard time digesting the material they are taught in the classroom; or they can simply be a new way to practice what they’ve learned at school. Think of it as Homework 2.0—but way more fun!
Most of these games are appropriate for young children, 10 and under:
Miami-based mami Sandra Levy loves First Words: Spanish ($4.99), a best-selling reader game for kids. “It’s amazing because it is one of the few educational apps that provides a Spanish version,” she says. “It’s a great way to make learning Spanish fun.” The game teaches children to recognize letters, words, shapes, animals, and more. Kids touch a letter to hear how it sounds. The object is to place the letters correctly and complete a word. The word is then pronounced aloud and the graphic spins and makes noise, visually rewarding your little Spanish student. Good for toddler age.
Joyce Haddad, a Brooklyn-based mami of three young girls, swears by Math Bingo (.99¢), an engaging math game that was ranked by users as best app on the iTunes store as best educational app for three weeks straight. Haddad raved about a recent, highly reviewed update. She said she loves it so much “because it teaches them basic math skills in a way that just does not happen in a classroom. It gets them excited about math in a way that I could have never imagined possible.” Good for ages 5 and up.
Read Related: 7 Science Apps for Your Kids
Monica Wagenberg, another Miami mami and education expert, loves Bookworm ($4.99) an educational word search game that asks kids to link letters left, right, up, and down on the screen to build words and earn points. “My kids love word games, and this one is so intuitive, they can play for hours.” Good for all ages.
Miami Beach Mami Jessica Kleiman says her boys adore Star Walk ($2.99) on the iPad. “It’s an app that makes you realize how truly amazing and advanced the iPad is as a learning tool.” This award-winning and cutting-edge app gives users a full-screen, augmented reality view of the stars and planets that rotate as her kids move the iPad around—turning it into a super-powered virtual telescope. This app is good for ages 4 and up.
As the mother of a new baby, Hallandale-based mami, Michelle Davidson, can’t resist The Cat in the Hat ($3.99), a timeless classic that comes to life in this dynamic digital context. “I love that the iPad version reads to you, or in my case for me because my hands are usually full tending to the baby,” she said. “So it’s a hands-free story-time experience—with a story that I grew up hearing—and I’m thrilled to share it my child.” The story has always been magnificent, she added, but the interaction with story elements gives this version a whole new spin. This app is good for pre-readers and early readers.