The language input is incredibly abundant when I play the apps with my kids. Many of the apps are in English, but when we play, I only use Mandarin to communicate with my kids. We play puzzles, read stories, solve math problems, create stories, practice writing messages, learn how to cook and so on. In order to play some specific apps, kids are required to listen to and/or read the instructions. What's more, I've been learning coding skills with my 6-year-old daughter on the iPad recently. There's so much problem-soving, thinking and inquiring arising from this process. I am truly excited to learn coding skills with my child! We have so much fun together! Even when my two kids playing together, they are constantly talking and learning how to take turns playing. Of course, occasionally arguing is inevitable.
Being an expat living in Thailand and trying to develop my children' literacy skills in English and Mandarin is not an easy task. We have to bring back so many books and learning materials with us whenever we visit our families. iPad apps become great resources for me to support my kids in their learning journey.
What apps should parents download? As a parent and an educator, I try to keep the list of educational apps up to date by using Twitter and Scoopit. Follow @AppAdvice to find out when some apps become free of charge. Additionally, parents can also check with school teachers to see what apps kids have been using in their classrooms. This also provides some consistency between home and school.
Last but not least, keeping a balance between using the iPad and doing other activities is essential. Rules should be clearly communicated to the children and keep it interpersonal!
Below are some apps that I have used with my kids.
- Tiggly apps (suitable for pre-schoolers)
- Encourage kids to explore shapes and stimulate imgination
- Support different languages (English, Spanish, Portuguese, Russian, French, German, Italian and Chinese)
- Sour it out 1(sorting and arranging)
- Playroom lesson with Max
- Tiny Tap (making games to learn)
- PBS Parents Play & Learn
- Shutterbugs (Have a filed trip in the zoo and get to know different animals)
- Pango Free (stories)
- Tejas & Lollipop (story)
- Hanna & Henri (story)
- Scribble my story (read and draw to visualize the text)
- Collins Big Cat apps (story-telling and creating)
- Maily (kid's friend e-mail app)
- ABC food
- Raz-Kids (eBooks)
- Tribe Play apps
- Highlights apps for kids
- Crackers & Goo (math skills)
- Charades! Kids!