Apps can provide hours (make that well controlled minutes), of entertainment and education. The interactivity seems to appeal greatly to young minds. So, if you're going to let your kids have a turn on your iPad or smartphone, they might as well be learning something in the process, right?
Here are some of our favourites:
Endless ABC, $6.49 from the App Store
Not your usual ABCs - try A for artstic, B for belch, and C for courage. You pick the word, then a collection of little monsters come and mix up all the letters. Your own little monster has to match the letters to spell the word. A voice over explains the meaning of the word, and there's a cute wee video.
It's from the creators of Sesame Street's Monster at the End Of This Book, so you know some pretty creative clods have been working on this one.
Leo's Pad, free from the App Store with appisodes available to purchase from $2.99 each.
The first thing that strikes you about this app is the quality. Beautiful graphics help bring this animated and interactive story to life. And you know your wee one will be learning great things, because it's been designed by educators at Stanford Univesity in collaboration with Emmy-award winning animators. If you sign up to the appisodes you also get a Parent's Pad so you can track your child's learning. Probably best for the new entrant set than real littlies. But nice to have something to aspire to.
We all love Richard Scarry. The detailed drawings, the crazy little worm and pig people. So this is something of a nostalgic entrant, but nice to see something old-school reinventing itself for the modern age. Kids drag letters to the complete the word, giving a nice introduction to early literacy.
Published July 2013.