Many conservative parents nowadays reject completely the possibility of allowing their dear children to spend too much time in the front of various electronic tools. Smart phones, tablets or computers are considered dangerous not only for the eyes of the little ones, but also a potential deterrent to a normal intellectual development. Spending too much time in the front of a screen will eventually estrange them from the real world, such as nature, and will also diminish their social skills.
However - as usual - I am always counter-current. Personally, I am very happy to live in a time and place where I can have access instantly to so much knowledge. Learning foreign languages - when there is a will - was never easier and acquiring new skills from the comfort of your home at relatively affordable prices is so easy nowadays. For little children, early reading skills and interaction through apps and various games can help brain development at a faster pace and some interesting web-tailored book versions can infuse the love for reading and knowledge from a very early stage.
I love my son to be connected to the nature and to other children, to play with blocks and Lego, but also to improve his language skills - he is 3 years old and already tri-lingual - and learn faster through songs and e-books. He can spend one or two hours the week, at specific time schedule, browsing apps designed for his age, while the rest of the week he is running wild in the park or practising sport with his friends.
For those parents looking for a balance between real and virtual life, I made a short selection of apps that might fit the development needs of children until maximum 5 years of age. I covered in this post both English and German apps.
- Baby's Musical Hands - Recommended for children until 4, this iOS app helps to learn both colours and music. When the baby touches one of the 15 colourful squares, each colour utters a different sound, while colourful stars will burst from their fingers. Available in English.
- Emma by Jutta Bauer - Emma is a bear and she needs your help. Feed her, help her chose the right food and help her many other daily chores that all of us should do. This bilingual - English and German - app helps children to learn the daily routines while having fun spending time with a cute little bear.
- Ham Ham! Tiere füttern - Animal feeding is the first step towards learning how to feed yourself, while acquiring basic life skills. This app available only in German which has an interesting graphic content will guide the little children to find out what is the proper type of food a specific animal is enjoying.
- Janosch: Oh, wie schön ist Panama (Oh, wie beautiful is Panama)- Based on the book with the same name by the famous German children author Janosch, this app is the 3D version of the adventures of Tiger and Bear in the search of happiness. The original drawings were integrated into a visually appealing app that was awarded with the Deutscher eBook price. Available only in Germany.
- Miximal - The little children can create their unique combinations of shapes and figures, building up new animals and fantastic names. I haven't been so impressed by all the graphic choices, but overall it is a very creative and challenging apps that will keep the little ones immersed for a quite long time. A time well spent! Besides English and German, the app is available also in French, Italian and Spanish.
- Petting Zoo - Available in a good bunch of languages - English, German, Dutch, Russian and Portuguese among others - this app includes 21 animated animals offered in animated snaps with special effects. Perfect for very active and curious children.
- PumiLumi Touch Zoo - Animals, again...This time, 15 funny characters - among which a silly monkey, an owl with electric ears, a many-armed octopus - that can be done and are doing a lot of funny things. You can feed and touch them, they will jump and utter funny sounds. Available for children aged 2 and plus.
- KlangDings - Let's end up the list in a high chaotic musical note. This app - in German language - has beautiful visuals introducing to funny friendly characters together with whom can have a lot of noisy fun.
Hope you will find at least one interesting app for your child and discover fantastic worlds together!