Playing and learning: Sensible apps for kids14. July 2022 Published by Jana Greyling
Part 1: Pre-school age
There has never been a generation like today’s children that has grown up with so many technical and media possibilities open to them. They’re genuine digital natives. Using digital media and smartphones is nothing unusual for them from a very early age. An amusing and striking illustration of that is the Internet videos that show toddlers trying to click on links in or scroll through magazines or books.
That may come across as cute, but it also raises serious questions: What content should the little ones be consuming? And for how long? So here are the best apps for kids of pre-school age to play, listen, watch and learn.
Apps for kids no. 1: KiKANiNCHEN app
The KiKANiNCHEN app is a digital offshoot of KiKA, a public children’s and youth channel in Germany. It’s aimed at kids of pre-school age. And so, too, is what it offers: There are various games and videos. Profiles can also be created for each child. Then the app knows their age and adapts the content accordingly. The app therefore grows with the kids. The various options for operating the app are particularly creative: It can be controlled by touching, blowing, clapping, shaking and singing.
All in all, you can tell that media educators were involved in developing it. That makes KiKANiNCHEN one of the apps that allow children to gain safe initial experience in using digital media.
Apps for kids no. 2: Fiete
A visit to Fiete the sailor is great fun for the little ones. That’s because the app is a hand-painted digital picture book. That means there’s also a lot to discover on Fiete’s island. In addition, the kids can help the sailor with his daily tasks in 19 games. They help kids hone their motor skills, powers of deduction, logical thinking and media competence. Nevertheless, everything is wonderfully relaxed in a typical North German way – without time constraints or pressure to succeed. Just as you would imagine a real sea-dog to be. By the way, Fiete comes with many other apps for kids that are worth looking at.
Apps for kids no. 3: Kids Paint
A painting app for children aged 0 to 99 – that’s how the developers themselves describe Kids Paint. And it’s also so simple: The little artists are provided with a canvas, a rainbow full of colors and various brushes. They can also color pictures and photos. And who has never wanted to see mom with a mustache and glasses? Incidentally, the works of art can also be admired online at Pinterest.
Apps for kids no. 4: Mazaam, the musical genius
Mazaam is suitable for children aged 4 to 6. The young musicians intuitively learn the basics of music: rhythm and melody. And the fun aspect has certainly not been neglected: Music is everywhere in the app – when eagles are fed or in the teeth-brushing ritual of a chameleon. Kids can also get to know masterpieces of classical music along the way.
Like many apps for children, Mazaam uses scientific findings from psychology and neuroscience. But don’t worry, that doesn’t put a damper on the fun!
Apps for kids no. 5: Kinder Tiere – Tiergeräusche
This is one of those apps for kids that divides generations: animal sounds for kids. The little ones think they’re great, and so do the adults – but only to begin with. Then they tend to get on their nerves a bit. But ultimately, this app is for kids and their needs. The idea is therefore also quickly explained: The app offers great animal photos coupled with authentic animal sounds. And all of that wrapped up in an exciting and fun guessing game. As a result, children learn about the beauty and diversity of nature through play!
Media consumption in the family
There are countless apps for kids – some good, some not so good. But one thing should be clear: Parents need to know about and set a limit on what their children do online.
Germany’s Federal Center for Health Education therefore gives clear recommendations for the time children should spend online:
- Children aged 3 or less: no or very little time in front of the monitor
- Children aged 3 to 6: a maximum of 30 minutes a day
- Children aged 6 to 10: a maximum of 45 to 60 minutes a day
Parents should also be good role models. After all, parents who are glued to their smartphones can hardly expect their children to use digital media sparingly. The kids’ introduction to the world of media is therefore also a good opportunity to critically question your own consumption.