Not everyone is a fan of screens for children and I totally get that. However I personally think they can be useful, fun and educational for preschoolers if moderated. Michael has a children's tablet Robin from EE and he usually plays with it for half an hour most days. Usually when we want to cook dinner without him disturbing us every two minutes whining for food! These are our favourite free apps:
1. YouTube Kids
Like many other children, Michael loves to watch YouTube videos. However many are not suitable for children which makes YouTube Kids such a great app. The app filters out the unsuitable videos and tries its best to show only appropriate videos for your child's age. You can keep search on or if you really want to limit videos, you can turn the search off. The videos are also categorised (music, learning, explore and music) to make it easier for your child to watch the videos they want. My favourite feature however is the parental timer. I love knowing I can set a timer of how long Michael can explore the app before it turns off. He will hand the tablet over straight away because he thinks the tablet is now turning off.
2. BBC CBeebies Playtime Island
We have a Sky box and the original bundle which means we do not get a lot of children's channels. As a result Michael only really watches the shows on Netflix, Tiny Pop and CBeebies. Naturally he loves this app because it features all of his favourite characters such as Peter Rabbit, Andy and Topsy and Tim. The app has many different games, all of which are fun and educational.
3. Despicable Me: Minion Rush
Michael loves the minions from the Despicable Me films and really enjoys this app. It is a arcade game where your minion collects bananas, dodges obstacles, flies and defeats villains etc. It has different levels including a recent update of a 80s mission. While it is not really educational, it is great fun and one of Michael's favourite apps. The only thing however is there are in-app purchases so be careful your child can not make app via parental controls.
4. Dino Tim: Basic Skills and Addition
This is a great educational free game. In this app children have to solve educational puzzles in order to save Dino Tim's family from the witches which have captured them. It teaches children about colours, words and shapes and can also teach children other languages. The app easily translates into French, Spanish and Italian which is fantastic if you want to develop language skills. Again this app does have in-app purchases.
5. Disney Junior Play
Michael loves anything Disney related and so naturally really enjoys any apps that feature Disney characters. This app features favourites from Disney Junior such as Mickey Mouse, The Lion Guard and Doc McStuffins. It features educational games, puzzles and sticker scenes you collect the stickers for. You can also dress up various characters, watch videos and sing alongs. A great feature is the app being playable offline so you can play anywhere. While it does have in-app purchases they feature only in a pin protected store so only a adult can access them. The in-app purchases expand the app with more of the Disney Junior characters.
Does your child have any favourite apps? How do you feel about screens for preschoolers? Let me know if the comments below.