How can apps benefit my child’s education?
It’s 2017: more than ever our kids are using mobile and tablet technology to its fullest. Whether it’s messaging, taking photos or playing games, there’s an app for everything and they’re more readily accessible than ever. The American Academy of Pediatrics describes today’s child as ‘immersed in digital media’, and updated its guidelines in late 2016 to help parents understand how to allocate screen time. And that begs the question: does all this tech do a child any good? And can games and apps really fit into a child’s education? We’ve made it our mission at Minilab to provide content that answers a resounding ‘YES’ to those questions. Here’s how we think games can fit into your child’s healthy, social and educational development…
Who hasn’t heard the idea that short attention spans are on the increase? We’re forever being told that our children will have memories like goldfish, and won’t be able to focus on work that isn’t highly interactive. While we agree that the increased integration of technology allows kids to get used to more interactive content, we know that a) goldfish actually have pretty good memories, and b) a demand for interactive content is not a bad thing! In fact, the Huffington Post thinks it might even be rewiring their brains in a good way.
Interactive content that adapts or moves and requires focus is ideal for training your child’s memory, spatial awareness, and motor skills. Take Artie’s World and Artie’s Magic Pencil, for example. Our dot-to-dot drawing apps are all about focusing on carefully connecting the dots to create a funny animated object or creature. Learning to draw straight lines and curves will help develop drawing and writing skills, and the addition of fun animations makes the experience come alive. Make sure to practice off-screen too, and you’ll get the best of both worlds!
Reading and Writing
For many children, and especially those with dyslexia or dysgraphia, reading and writing can be an uphill battle. Practice will of course help, but a sheet of paper with tons of confusing strands of letters on it can intimidate those who need more focus. Artie’s World offers helpful voice-over when introducing children to new objects and animals that they have drawn, along with the spelling in a dark, readable font and rounded letters. We keep our word count very limited on each screen, so there isn’t too much to be distracted by. Artie’s adventures can be played entirely at your child’s pace with no time limits, so each drawing can be done in their own time, and each new animal name can be replayed as many times as needed. Perfect for family playing, parents can watch over their child as they come to recognise new words and associate them with amazing animals. Improving motor skills and training finger muscles could also contribute to handwriting practice.
Getting used to school and the playground, surrounded by other children, is always going to be overwhelming. There are so many people to meet, games to play and toys to share – but introducing these ideas early can be a great boost. As well as reading books, play games together that cover topics of meeting new people, sharing, and giving to one another. In Artie’s World and Artie’s Magic Pencil, children can observe our chirpy protagonist helping others, giving gifts, and fixing broken objects, aiming to contribute to your child’s emotional intelligence and understanding.
Maths and Logic
Finally, the subject that certainly made me shrink in fear as a child – maths! For the tiniest of tots, numbers can seem an abstract concept, and connecting numbers to count can seem arbitrary, but by making counting fun, we hope our app TotemUp can help with that. The building game doesn’t force its mathematical basis on little ones, instead requiring them to build a tower of funny, customisable monsters. They can count them up, and create differently sized ones (either 1, 2, or 3 blocks high) to build up to 10, but it isn’t so much a ‘lesson’ as play.
You can learn more about finding the right educational apps for your child here, and if you have any questions about our commitment to making screen time matter, feel free to send them over to us at [email protected] We hope that through our content your child can learn and grow while having fun!