Have you ever worried your kids spend more time glued to a screen than with their noses in a book?
As a parent, you want to see your children learn and reach their full potential. Yet often, they seem to prefer playing games or watching videos on tablets or smartphones.
Fortunately, those games and videos can be educational – if you download the right apps to your gadget.
Read on for our guide to the most educational apps out there for both Android and Apple products, plus how to protect your Samsung, iPhone, Moto G4, Sony or other model through mobile phone insurance.
How can mobile phones have a positive impact on children?
If your child spends a lot of time in front of a screen, they’re by no means alone.
Research from the Literacy Trust shows that while printed matter remains the dominant medium, screens are on the rise for children reading fiction, non-fiction and comics.
But while parents anguish over everything from online safety to health issues associated with screen use, there’s good news, too.
In fact, the Literacy Trust’s research reveals that children who read both on screen and printed materials have a higher educational attainment than those who use only print or only screen.
And eBooks are particularly useful for encouraging reluctant readers to get engaged with reading.
Of course, to download many eBooks you’re going to need a gadget with some hefty storage. Make sure you get your smartphone covered with mobile phone insurance.
What is the best app to teach a child to read?
Every young child needs a friendly monster by their side as they embark on life’s adventures. And what bigger adventure is there than learning to read?
Teach your Monster to read is a brilliantly inventive app that gets your child creating their own monster and taking it through a magical world. Your child and their monster pal will meet fun characters, play games and win prizes as they progress with their reading.
It covers everything from letters to sounds to full sentences, with special games for tricky words.
The app can be downloaded onto iPhones, iPads, Android and Kindle for £4.99, or is free for computers.
Once your child has mastered the basics, you can try out Endless Wordplay for iPhones only.
Again, monsters guide your child through word puzzles designed to help your child learn spelling and word building.
With apps like these, the only problem will be wrestling your phone back off your child. Fortunately, Gadget Cover’s mobile phone insurance includes family cover as standard, extending protection to members of your immediate family.
What is the best educational game?
While eBooks are wonderful, it’s in the field of learning through play that mobile phone apps really excel.
Younger children in particular don’t make a distinction between playing and education – and neither should you.
CBeebies Get Creative is ideal for early years kids, and as it’s from the BBC it’s that rarity: an app that’s both cost-free and ad-free.
It gets kids painting, inventing toys, and making up stories – all in the company of their favourite CBeebies characters.
Hopster TV is another highly recommended site offering shows, songs, books and games to delight your kids.
It’s been developed by specialists in childhood development and is linked to the UK national curriculum – but manages to stay fun, bright and user-friendly.
It’s available for Android and iOS, and can be downloaded to phones, computers and tablets for a subscription.
Finally, Swedish firm Toca Boca offers a range of delightful games including the fabulous Toca Life: World, which enables your child to build their very own world and play out any story they like.
If you’re averse to the whole pink-and-blue aspect to childhood, rest assured: Toca Boca promises a world of gender-neutral games, all with an educational purpose.
Best of all, they’re totally free and available for Android, iOS and Kindle devices.
Educational games are particularly useful as a way to keep your child happy while travelling. Make sure you’ve got worldwide cover through your mobile phone insurance.
What are some educational apps?
While games are great for kids, you might want to introduce your child to some more specifically educational apps.
Many of these are linked to the UK National Curriculum, enabling your child to get ahead at school or catch up in areas where they’re experiencing difficulties.
There are so many to choose from that we’ve picked a range from different subjects and for different age groups.
Some are available for a small fee or monthly subscription, while others are free – but beware of ads or in-app purchases and check your child cannot ‘accidentally’ buy something with your phone!
Plus, make sure your Samsung, iPhone or other model is protected through great mobile phone insurance to cover the cost of replacement or repairs if it is accidentally damaged or stolen.
Literacy and Numeracy
Whatever your child’s age, abilities, interests or needs, there is an app to suit!
If you’re looking to improve their literacy and numeracy, try the Squeebles range from KeyStageFun.
Available across all platforms, they’re aimed at aged 5-11, and include features for children with special needs. Download a bundle for around £22.99 or target particular areas with specific apps for £1.99-£3.99.
There are further excellent maths options from DragonBox, which offers a range of apps for kids aged 4-8 and those aged nine and up.
Try DragonBox Numbers for the basics, and Algebra 12+ for a deeper dive into more advanced concepts.
They’re available for a small price across all smartphone platforms.
There is an excellent selection of apps dedicated to learning science.
TinyBop’s The Human Body app allows older children to explore an interactive model of the skeletal, muscular, nervous and other systems that keep us all alive.
It’s available for iPhones only for a small fee.
Meanwhile, you can zone in on the human brain for free with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s 3D Brain app, available for iOS, Android and Windows devices.
If your child is keen on building, they can learn about physics in a constructive way through Monster Physics.
It features colourful graphics and fun missions and is available for a small fee for iOS gadgets.
Apps for kids to learn coding is another area where developers have, unsurprisingly, excelled.
One superb option is Scratch Jnr, which will have your 5 to 7-year-old child designing their own simple interactive characters, stories and games in no time.
It’s the younger version of the well-established Scratch programme for older children and young people.
Coding is regarded as the new literacy: an essential skill for kids today. That means Scratch is funded by several key science and educational organisations, making it free for you to download.
For a different kind of creativity, there are some excellent arts apps out there.
Bandimal features fun animals who bop around as your child composes and plays music. It is available for a small price for apple products.
Artie’s Magic Pencil is another app featuring a monster, and this time it’s on the loose! Fortunately, your child can save the day and learn the fundamentals of drawing at the same time. It’s fun, creative and educational all at once – a winner!
It’s available to download for a small price across all platforms.
If you have a budding linguist on your hands, there’s no better app than the mighty DuoLingo.
Totally free, this offers more than 30 languages from French to Klingon, and is being used by more than 300 million learners worldwide.
It’s great for adults and kids alike – so why not learn a language together, perhaps for your next foreign holiday?
Gadget Cover’s mobile phone insurance includes worldwide cover for 180 days per year as standard, covering your smartphone wherever you are.
Finally, there’s one app that’s almost certainly already on your phone that is an incredible and free resource for children.
Nowadays, your child can know where they are at all times, map read, and zoom in on places all over the globe with just one app. And they probably don’t even realise they’re learning while they’re doing so!
Wherever you are in the world, Google Maps will help you find your way. Just make sure you’ve got mobile phone insurance to keep your Samsung, iPhone or other model covered while you’re out exploring.
And don’t forget – Google Maps will only work when your phone is charged. Keep your children safe when their phone batteries run down by making sure they can read paper maps, too.
What are good 8-year-old apps?
Eight is a fantastic age. Young enough to be still full of wonder at the world, old enough to be taking steps towards independence.
It’s a great age for exploring the online world – within strict safety parameters!
Epic is a huge digital library for the under-12s, allowing your eight-year-old to explore the world of fiction, non-fiction, graphic novels and more.
A monthly subscription fee covers up to four profiles, enabling siblings to choose their own reading matter.
It’s available for Android, Apple and Windows devices.
Busy Things is a collection of educational games and activities for children aged three to 11.
They’re all linked to the UK school curriculum, helping your kid to get to the top of the class in subjects including maths, English, science, geography and music.
It costs £4.49 per month for computers, laptops or tablets, but you can download a seven-day trial before you commit.
However, the game your 8-year-old will really love is free – though beware of in-app purchases and associated merchandise.
Pokemon Go took the world by storm a few years ago and is still a great way to get the whole family outdoors, seeking and catching the brightly coloured Pokemon in your own neighbourhood.
While not as obviously education-focused as many other apps, it will fire your kids’ imaginations, get them exploring their environments, and even introduce them to map reading.
Just remember to get mobile phone insurance in case your smartphone gets stolen or damaged while you’re searching for Pikachu. You can buy cover for lost phones as an optional extra.
What restrictions should I put on phone use?
No matter how educational their usage, you don’t want your child spending all their time staring at a screen.
Although the health risks are disputed, you certainly want your child to enjoy fresh air, chatting with friends in real life, and family time as well as educational apps and games.
So set limits – and stick to them. Make sure you don’t set a bad example yourself; adults can be just as guilty as kids of over-reliance on screens.
Fortunately, there are apps to limit screen time, too! So you’ll be able to prompt your child outside to play – and steal your phone back to peruse some monster-free apps yourself over a nice cup of tea.
Just remember to make sure you have mobile phone insurance which covers liquid damage as standard!
Get a quote for mobile phone insurance
Whether you own an iPhone, an Android or a Windows gadget, you need to make sure your device is covered with excellent mobile phone insurance.
Gadget Cover’s policies include cover for theft, breakdown and damage as standard, as well as unauthorised usage. Cover for lost smartphones is also available as an optional extra.
You and your family are covered anywhere in the world, allowing you all to use your phone on your travels with confidence.
With unlimited replacements and repairs, plus low excess fees, you can be sure any costs incurred through damage or theft will be covered under Gadget Cover’s policies.
Any claims you make will be deal with swiftly and efficiently by our customer support team based in the UK.
Get a quote today to keep your smartphone covered and your kids learning.