Hi folks! It’s our midsummer break for App Friday and our newsletter editor will be back next week (July 21st) with more family-friendly apps. Meanwhile, we thought we’d use the time to share tips about using apps for summer learning to help kids get ready for back to school. If you have more tips, feel free to share them in comments. Happy summer!
1. Organize apps on your device by educational category
Whether you subcategorize apps into folders, or dedicate screens for certain types of apps (i.e., math, science, language arts and creative expression), getting organized is a great way to take inventory of your educational content. How many apps do you have for math versus puzzles? Do you have old apps that kids have outgrown that can be deleted to make space for new apps? Take a few minutes to press, hold and shuffle those app icons into clear educational resources at your fingertips.
2. Set a consistent learning time routine
Set up a regular time for summer learning. Consistency and predictability helps ensure a smooth implementation for screen time because kids know what to expect and when to put down the device. What amount of app learning time sounds right for your family? Refer to the American Academy of Pediatrics guidelines or Common Sense Media for recommendations on screen time limits according to age.
3. Have kids show and tell what they’ve learned
Interaction and coplay are helpful to keep kids talking, expressive and engaged. Let kids demo the apps they are about to play. How does it work? Can I try it too? Have them show you how they solve the problems, or what they create. Or, hold a family contest for completing the “apptivity” – whatever it may be. Learning can be fun when families take an active role to be involved.
4. Use App Friday to find new apps
There are plenty of creatively themed educational apps to boost summer learning. Low on ideas for what to download? Browse the App Friday archives (our past blog posts and newsletters) for a variety of suggestions. Prefer email? Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to view a new list of apps each week.
5. Request a promo code (to try an app for free) from the developers
Want to try an app and test it out before you purchase it? Approach the developer for a promo code. Let them know you’ll tell your friends or leave an iTunes review if you like the app. If they are a small company, they may really appreciate your word of mouth marketing. Most app makers have a contact email on their website, in their app store description, or can be reached through social media accounts. Get in touch – it never hurts to ask!