Best iPad Apps for Kids

Even though the iPad was introduced relatively recently, the market is already glutted with apps for you to download to your new device. And many of these new products vist are aimed directly at a somewhat surprising demographic: children. How do you choose the best iPad apps for your kids? How do you decide what’s appropriate?

The first factor to consider is your child’s age. Toddlers gravitate to the iPad because of its cinematic colors, realistic sounds, and ready responsiveness. And you’ll be amazed at how quickly even the youngest tots learn to swipe and scroll – its functionality seems intuitive to them. But you’ll want to closely supervise toddlers’ use of the iPad because young children aren’t known for treating their toys gently – and the iPad to them is just a toy. Because you’ll be supervising, you may want to choose apps that enable parent and child to work together. “Look, Emma, it’s a bumblebee. Can you put your finger on the bumblebee? Can you make the bumblebee move up?” Remember, even though toddlers pick up digital maneuvers very quickly, they’re still working on a number of other skills such as color and shape matching, memory, and language. Look for apps that reinforce these.

The second factor to consider in selecting the best iPad apps for kids is your child’s activity level and individual interests. Children who love vehicles will enjoy apps that feature planes, trucks, trains, and cars. Children who love animals will like apps with zoo and pet themes. But also take into consideration whether your child is a quiet, thoughtful, strategic person or one who likes things that zoom and crash. These differences in temperament will affect the types of apps your child will enjoy.

A third factor in choosing the best iPad apps for kids is an educational one. Even the brightest, most precocious child has some area in which he or she is a little weak. You will almost certainly be able to find an app that will answer that need. Don’t be afraid that your child will perceive these as dull and boring. Today’s “educational games” really should come under the category of “edu-tainment,” since they educate and entertain in equal measure. Parents often underestimate the real fun value of children’s games and activities, and they also underestimate the level of skill their child actually has. Many apps are very inexpensive or completely free, so feel free to download a few to gauge the skills your child may need to work on.

In the end, however, the best way to choose an app your child will really enjoy is to see if it intrigues YOU. If it does, it’s a sure winner. You were a child once too. True, they didn’t have iPads back then, but you knew what you liked to play and what you didn’t. Trust that same judgment when choosing the best iPad apps for kids and you won’t go wrong.

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