Lets Make Learning Fun!
Apps and toys that are genuinely fun but also teach children something are a kind of nirvana for parents! Childhood is all about playtime and for school age children we know fun is the focus once they are outside of the classroom, but all too often we see products aimed at the home environment that are too much like homework.
However, we’ve been seriously impressed recently by a number of products, both apps, toys and things in between, that really are incredibly fun and help children learn (without complaining)! All three come out of start-ups and we’re so pleased to see new companies like these helping to lead the way.
We know how popular scooting is for children from about aged 2 onwards and yet this is the first scooting app we’ve ever seen and the only one we’re aware of. We can conclusively say the children absolutely loved it! It’s one they’ve kept playing long after we finished our review process which is clearly a good sign, and it only costs 99p! (available on both Apple & Android devices)
It’s well worth explaining to them that going to the Skoo School section and answering the maths problems will earn them power ups that can help them in the game. In fact without these they may well miss key features of the game – like using the Glow stick to explore the tunnels. Whilst they may focus more on playing the scooting game without a prompt from you, once they realise the value of doing the maths problems this provides a great incentive. The game is so good that doing a bit of maths to enable them to play more was considered well worth the effort!
Programming is all the rage in the UK at the moment, particularly since it was included as part of the National Curriculum from September 2014. Until recently we’d only seen people focusing on this area outside the classroom via apps or online games but Robot Turtles is one that takes users away from the screen entirely.
It’s a fun board game that the children really enjoyed playing and it was clear how well it helped them to understand basic principles of programming, cleverly adding more advanced principles to extend the gameplay. It even helped some of the parents learn these too! For some of us parents the concept of our children learning to program is very daunting, so a family game like this that makes it fun and engaging for everyone is a big hit with us.
The world of app toys is still reasonably new with many companies struggling to really inspire children with their combination of a physical toy and on-screen game. However, Osmo have certainly nailed it. This is the sort of product that has a real wow factor. By placing the iPad in a special holder you can play 3 games – all of which are great to help children develop skills. The Newton game is particularly novel, encouraging children to use the real world space to steer on-screen balls to the right location – they can draw lines or even put physical objects in the way for the balls to bounce off, a pencil, your hand, whatever you can think of.
Honestly, I’m jealous! I would have absolutely loved these kind of games when I was a child and I would have learnt so much. Sometimes I think we focus too often on the dangers of technology and screen time. Whilst I don’t want to downplay these, looking at products like the above reminds me that now might just be the best time to be a child!
Featured Image Credit: By Intel Free Press [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons (Modified with Text & Company Logo, Intel Free Press does NOT endorse us in any way, shape or form)Tags: educational apps, national curriculum, osmo, robot turtles, skoo crew
This post was written by Fundamentally Children