It's often a struggle for kids and parents to strike a nice balance between screen time and learning time. Okay, a struggle is putting it lightly. It's more like a battle, war, or holy crusade even! Regardless of personality, disposition, or intelligence level, kids want their screen time. Conversely, parents want their kids to be active, independent, and spend time reading or learning.
Our advice: Stop the insanity, declare peace, and integrate screen time with learning instead. Laptops, tablets, and smartphones can actually be used for far more than just Angry Birds, YouTube, and Facebook. In fact, you can make excellent use of any of these devices to help your child cultivate a potentially lifelong love of reading.
These devices are actually great tools in this learning endeavor. Apple's App Store and the Google Marketplace are loaded with opportunities to encourage this task. Here are three of the best reading apps available for kids:
Learn with Homer: Reading and Educational Games - D'oh! No, not that Homer. It's actually an app from a company called HomerLearning, Inc., and it's drawn rave reviews from such noteworthy critics as the New York Times as well as many parents. The website boasts that just ten minutes a day can result in increased confidence and academic success. It's designed for kids from pre-k to first grade, and contains literally (pardon the pun) hundreds of hours of lessons designed specifically by literacy experts.
Noodle Words HD - Equally lauded in the New York Times as a "Best App for Children," this app uses the animated antics of cartoon characters to bring words to life. It encourages kids to learn word meanings, and best of all one download will cover you for iPhone, iPad, and iPhone Touch devices as well.
Wallykazam! Letter and Word Magic - Available on Android and Apple devices alike, this app allows kids to join some of their favorite television characters from Nick Jr. to do some not-so-serious learning. Actually, it's learning disguised as fun screen time. Your kids will never know the difference. What could be better?
The preceding is just a small smattering of what's available out there for parents to make the best use possible of their kids screen time. There is a whole virtual world of learning opportunities out there for iPad, Android, even Windows Phones. As parents, we just have to go find it for our kids. Otherwise, say hello to more Angry Birds!
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