By Jeremy Cleland
I’ll admit it: My 5-year-old son probably gets more screen time than is recommended. He’s what the experts call a digital native—he’s growing up with smartphones and tablets as ubiquitous devices.
In my quest to turn his tech time into education time, here are three iOS/Android apps I found that ensure kids can learn while playing, too:
The animated characters in this app can compete with any on TV, and they engage kids through games and activities in counting, adding, subtracting, and even geometry. There are fun settings, too, like the Moose Juice Store—where kids learn math by following recipes—or Puck’s Pet Shop, where kids can earn rewards to build their own city or decorate buildings.
These award-winning apps teach kids everything about electricity, light and sound while transcending the boredom from the textbooks of yesteryears. Through animation, quizzes and experiments, kids can dig in to understand how the world around them works. There is also a glossary that helps them learn science terms, and each lesson is fully narrated so they can follow along.
My Incredible Body
It’s as if kids get to travel inside the human body via this app, which features medically accurate 3D anatomy models while de-mystifying how our bodies work. Kids can find out why their hearts beat, how their brain is connected to their body and, perhaps most fun, they discover what happens to food when they eat it.
With these high-quality learning apps, screen time definitely becomes an asset for kids versus something for busy parents to feel guilty about.
Jeremy Cleland has been a spokesperson for several Silicon Valley startups, like Tesla Motors, and spearheaded global stories about technology featured in media like Vice, Time magazine, Forbes and Wired.com. He’s also the dad to a 5-year-old who is already more tech-savvy than him.