Many of us are allowing screentime more than ever before – if you are a parent who is working from home, or supervising school-aged children who are learning at home, chances are, you may have a little one under 5 who is demanding your attention more than ever before. While a common mantra amongst parents, educators and speech pathologist is “There is no app to replace your lap.”, the reality of the current situation during COVID-19 has seen some of you ask us for apps we would recommend as speech pathologists that are not ‘just games’ and may benefit your child’s learning. So here is our wrap-up of 5 apps and websites suitable for kids under 5.
This post is not sponsored – just us sharing our experiences with these apps.
1. Toca Boca Apps
What I like about these apps is that many of them simulate pretend play. There are no rules, no boundaries and no “right” or “wrong” way to do anything. This works for kids under 5. They may not yet understand ‘rules’ in games so can be frustrated by other traditional game apps that have aims, points, rules etc. A few of my favourites in particular are: Toca Tea Party (the very first app), Toca Kitchen Monsters (my boys’ favourite) and Toca Store.
2. Tiggly Apps
These apps are more suitable for your 4-5 year olds. My favourites from this company are the Tiggly Chef Addition, Tiggly Submarine, Tiggly Story Maker and Tiggly Doctor. The apps are designed so they provide scaffold for your children to get the answer ‘correct’ e.g. highlighting the correct letter to choose and it introduces simple maths and literacy concepts to children. What I like about the literacy apps is that they focus more on the sounds of the letters, rather than just letter names themselves. The Tiggly Doctor app also introduces children to a variety of doctor-related verbs e.g. twist, pump and then your child gets to see the doctor ‘perform’ the operations.
3. Create a scene apps
This last recommendation refers to the type of apps where your child can create a ‘scene’ using various items and the language benefit arises when you can have a conversation with them about the scene they have created. Making comments (e.g. “Oh, you’ve added a red sweater to the zebra, he must be feeling cold.”) and asking questions (e.g. “What did you add to the tree?”) will give opportunities for your child to comprehend and answer questions, follow instructions and use descriptive language. A few of the apps we recommend here include: Feltboard, My Scene, and Make a Scene.
On to a TV show you can find on ABC iView – Wallykazam! If you aren’t familiar already, he is a troll who has the magical power of making words come to life. Some of the tier 2 words (the vocabulary that is MOST useful for successful reading comprehension) that have been featured include ridiculous, adorable and imitate. Would love to know if you have already seen this on ABC?
Vooks offers read-aloud animated books and parents currently receive one month free. There is a huge selection of titles and you don’t have to worry about ads popping up or your child accidentally clicking on other videos. The animations are great and kids will love their favourite books being brought to life.
We hope this will help you in managing your busy days more easily. We would love to know if these suggestions have been helpful to you.
If you are looking for high quality books and hands-on activites to fill your days – you can’t go past our Little Language Lunchbox or our 6 month membership – available on your SHOP page.