Home > Kids > School Age > Toddler > Top Educational Apps To Take The Guilt Out Of Screen Time

We know. You never thought you’d be ‘that’ parent, but reaching for a screen makes life a easier sometimes and that has to be ok. And if we told you that familiarity with an iPad is part of the official curriculum? Yup, all early years settings use electronic devices, so while we’re not saying let them at it 24/7, a reasonable window of time combined with a supervised edit of apps… well, you get to pee/drink coffee/do the washing in peace, and they’ll be coding by the age of three. Almost.

The following apps are compatible with Apple and Amazon Fire. Now go and out that kettle on, no mum guilt required.

Reading Eggs

Hands down our most used app after Citymapper, this reading program is stuffed with games, songs and other educational activities suitable for kids from two to 13. They start with basic phonics before moving on to stretching their vocab, reading comprehension and fluency in a super-fun and interactive way. It’s about the price of one and a half Starbucks lattes per month, but you can try it for free for 30 days, and then chose from various payments options, including a family subscription or one-off yearly fee.

Play Osmo

This award-winning play system isn’t cheap; you’ll need the Osmo base for your digital device and a reflector to pop over its camera (the system is all about merging the real world with the digital) before you can start buying games bundles, but it’s customisable to your child’s interests (there’s a Disney Princess bundle, for example) and they’ll have hours of fun while also acing maths, spelling, drawing and problem solving of all kinds. Starting at age three and going all the way up to 12, it’s an investment for the whole family.

DoodleMaths, DoodleEnglish and DoodleSpell

Say it louder for the parents at the back; if not free, this collection of maths and English apps for primary school-age children is pretty cheap and has you covered with times tables, spelling, punctuation etc, all targeted to your child’s ability. It sends motivational messages to help keep them driven and eager to learn (we can only hope, right?) and if that’s not enough you can track their progress in the DoodleConnect App. Then they really can’t get away with doing nothing…!

Alpha Blocks

Based on the brilliant CBeebies show, this one is entirely free – though you can inject some pennies into it if you feel like upgrading. It’s great for getting your littles to focus on sounds and blending, and a great opportunity to follow up what they’ve learnt while watching TV.

Number Blocks

Just like Alphablocks but for numbers, again based on the BBC show. This fun app helps your little ones to learn their numbers and figure their way through simple mathematical problems.

Teach Your Monster To Read

These award-winning games have a BAFTA nomination under their belt and are free to use if you log onto the website from your computer (or pay £4.99 to download the app). Kids follow a magical journey, picking up rewards and meeting various characters as they learn everything from blending sounds to reading full sentences, depending on their level. Imaginative, colourful and thoughtfully put together, it will tick all their boxes – and yours too.

Hit The Button

£2.99 and worth every penny, with a huge selection of quick-fire mathematical games and activities that are as addictive for adults as they are for kids. Basic to look at but impossible to walk away from.

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