The school year started off differently this year. Many districts opted for virtual learning, a drastic change for staff, teachers, parents, and students. Parents are looking for trusted apps and activities to supplement the teacher’s curriculum and keep their kids learning safely online. With so many apps to choose from, it’s difficult to determine what’s rewarding or risky for your child.
The Safest Apps for Virtual Learning
There are a few apps that pose less of a risk for kids starting remote learning this fall. We narrowed down a few of the safest and most popular choices for kids to learn without worry. Keep in mind that each app will depend on your child.
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Pre-K - 2nd grade
ABC Mouse is a popular choice for parents and teachers. The app includes thousands of interactive learning activities with a focus on school subjects including Reading, Math and Science. The app also includes a reward system to give your child encouragement while learning. ABC Mouse is equipped with videos, puzzles, songs, and games to make learning fun.
Pre-K - Kindergarten
Funbrain Jr. is another option that comes highly recommended by teachers. The app focuses on learning and math skills for children ages 2-6. The app includes games to help recognize letters, sounds and begin basic literacy skills. Kids will also learn sequences, patterns and orders through basic math skills. Funbrain Jr. also includes activities to develop fine motor skills.
PBS Kids Games
Pre-K - 3rd grade
PBS Kids Games is a long-time, trustworthy learning tool for kids. The big difference between PBS Kids and other apps is that each game is a separate app, meaning it might not be the best all-in-one tool for your child. However, there are dozens of app games and eBooks to download with popular characters including Dr. Seuss and Daniel Tiger. There are a variety of games focused on Reading, Math, science, and Spanish. There are also games and activities that teach kids about potty training, recycling and more in a new, fun way.
Quick Math Jr.
Pre-K - 2nd grade
Quick Math Jr. focuses on math skills using a mix of interactive learning activities and games. This award-winning app helps kids with a number of mathematical skills including counting up to 100, skip counting, writing numbers and numerals. The app also includes story problems to help your child solve addition and subtraction math problems. Quick Math Jr. also lets parents see their child’s report card to track progress using the app.
BrainPOP Jr. Movie of the Week
Kindergarten - 4th grade
With BrainPOP Jr., each week a new animated movie is released that focuses on one of the key learning categories. This app helps teach kids about Health, Social Studies, Reading, Math, and more. Your child can also watch past movies, and includes quizzes and learning activities to help them recall what they just learned from the short flick. A full in-app subscription gives kids access to all movies and bonus features.
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Other Learning Apps to Download
There are many other kid-friendly apps and websites available based on your child’s learning and development needs. Here are a few other recommendations to look into.
- Phonics Ninja - Focuses on the sound and sight of both upper and lowercase letters.
- Todo Math - Interactive brain development and math activities for kids up to the 2nd-grade level.
- Epic! - A digital library that lets parents track their reading progress, books read and time spent.
- Stack the States - Interactive game that teaches about the 50 states, their capitals and more.
- Sight Word Adventure - Learning activities that help recognize and write up to 320 words.
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Learning App Concerns and Cautions
There are many other apps that parents should still be cautious of when they’re using a smartphone or tablet for learning purposes. Some apps are equipped with learning tools and activities, but that’s not all they’re used for. Keep an eye on your child if they’re going to use one of these apps for learning purposes. The apps include age-restricted content and could open other doors for other concerns including online bullying, spam or hacks. Mental Health America shared a few.
- Amazon Kindle
If you’re unsure of other options or where to start check with your child’s teacher for other recommendations. Here are a few factors to consider when searching for apps on your own.
- Parental Controls - The best apps, whether learning or for leisure, are equipped with parental controls that give the parent access to see what their child is up to while on the app.
- Age Restrictions - Some apps may seem OK for kids, but certain features may make them more suitable for older kids. Check to see if there are any age recommendations and warnings before downloading.
- Shared Content - Some content may be submitted anonymously and could be inappropriate. Check to see if user content can be submitted, whether or not it’s reviewed and how your child will use it.
- Available Features - Make sure you know how the app is used and what all features are included. Some apps may include messaging or user board features for games. Make sure these meet your expectations.
The Bottom Line
As the school year progresses virtual learning is a new journey for both parents and children alike. Parents and teachers are now tasked with teaching new material online and ensuring internet safety. Remember to always choose the learning tools and apps that you feel most comfortable with for your child. Talk to other parents and teachers about their trusted apps and other activities for a successful school year.
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