When people talk about tablets, they often default to apps that are designed for entertainment. While there’s nothing wrong with using a tablet for that purpose, it’s only scratching the surface in terms of what’s available. There is a vast number of educational apps for learners of all ages. That includes adults who want to do things like learn a new language, as well as young learners.
If you’re wondering exactly how young, there are plenty of apps designed specifically around the learning needs of children under the age of four. When parents think of children this age using a tablet, they often worry about them turning into a YouTube zombie. Although that’s a valid concern, it’s not something that should overshadow all the benefits the right type of tablet usage can offer. So with that in mind, we’re going to cover what to look for in educational apps for 3 and 4 year olds:
The Top 3 Traits of a Great Educational App for Young Children
The first trait of a great educational app for this age group is being easy to use. That includes simple graphics and big buttons to tap. Second, the app should have plenty of visual cues. Those cues should be supported by instructions that are automatically read to the child using it. And third, apps for 3 and 4 year olds should have limited or no in-app purchases. Any app that focuses on trying to get a child to make purchases to keep playing does not have the child’s best interest in mind.
3 More Important Considerations
In addition to the traits we covered above, there are a few more that can help you find the ideal tablet apps to help your child learn. One is focusing on apps that introduce school and soft skills. This can include numbers, letters and patterns, as well as social-emotional skills. Another important trait is to find apps that build on your child’s existing interests. While this can obviously vary from one child to the next, making this a priority is a great way to help your child reap maximum benefits by getting fully immersed in the learning experience.
Privacy and safety are the other element you’ll want to keep in mind. It’s fairly easy to check that an app complies with with the Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA). Other privacy elements that should be present are an easy start that doesn’t require signing up, as well as safety features for any social elements built into the app.
To learn more about education issues related to 3 and 4 year olds, be sure to read our blog post on starting preschool, as well as what we wrote about kindergarten readiness.