Apps and online games create immersive learning experiences for children when they are designed to facilitate educational progress. Parents can find apps that focus on science, history, math, and reading. However, finding the best app requires parents to do their research. Not all learning apps help children learn.
When searching available apps via the App Store or Google Play, parents will be thrilled to discover that many apps are free. Look closer, though. These apps could have hidden charges! How can parents discover the best free kids learning apps? Here are a few tips!
Free Learning Apps for Kids: Are The Apps Really Free?
If price is an issue, a free app might be the best learning app. Be careful, though. Apps might be free to download, but parents must investigate if the app hides any hidden charges.
Some apps download without accruing a charge. Once the child (or parent) opens the app, the game or learning program could require a subscription. Typically, information about subscription charges should be noted in the app’s description.
Free apps could be free to use. This is a win/win for parents looking for an educational tool without racking up a bill. However, many free apps allow for in-app purchases.’ This means that children can buy items like extra lives (for games) or additional features within the game. These charges might accrue without a parent knowing; the reason is that their phone might have the in-app purchase option in their account activated.
Both Android and Apple devices let users disable in-app charges. This is a fairly simple process and just requires a few steps. Apple’s support page offers a tutorial for disabling in-app purchases from iPhones and iPads. The Tech Advocate provides an explanation for disabling this option on both Android and Apple devices.
App developers do not bury in-app purchase information; in fact, every app includes a note underneath the title about in-app purchase options. If parents download a free app that allows children to make purchases within the app, they need to be proactive in taking control of their account access to prevent any unwanted charges.
One child accrued $16K worth of charges in a game; these stories are well-reported in the media. Children might have no idea that they are charging their parents’ account, and many parents don’t discover the issue until the damage is done. While charges can be reversed, the process also could be a battle.
Best Free Learning Apps for Kids: What Does the App Teach?
Some children might learn from playing a match game, but others might find this boring. A free app could be entertaining, but it also might lack depth and educational benefit. Parents shouldn’t assume that all educational apps will boost their child’s proficiency or knowledge base.
If the app is free to download, then download it. Use the free download to explore the app’s design and core functionalities. If it’s a reading app, does it help children with comprehension, phonics, or fluency? What capabilities and features guide lessons or games?
Parents also need to have a good understanding of any possible learning struggles experienced by their child. The best apps ease these struggles. Children should feel confident and comfortable using the app, but it also needs to address their needs.
Keep these struggles in mind when using the app. In addition, sit with the child and watch them use it. Ask them about the design. Does the app interest the child? Assess the app together.
Some free apps can be a dud. Others, though, can be hidden gems that kids and parents love. Take those free apps for a test drive!
Learning Apps for Kids Free: How Does the App Measure Success
Free apps run the gamut between incredibly useful and engaging and those that are glitchy and seemingly ineffective. Remember that the App Store and Google Play include possibly thousands of free learning apps designed for a variety of different ages. Searching for learning apps will generate results from core subjects, including math, science, history, and reading.
For children who use an app to help their reading proficiency, choose an app that offers tools for measuring success and reading growth. Measurement tools are an important feature because parents need to know if the app does what it claims.
Apps can measure reading growth in a few different ways. Some will show a child’s reading level this will be donated as a simple grade level figure, or it might show a decimal (like 2.3). Decimals should be read as the first number denoting grade level and the second number denoting the month of the school year. The level 2.3 means the child reads at a level correlating to the third month of second grade.
Reading fluency is another form of measurement. Reading fluency is measured in words read per minute minus any mistakes. Apps focused on helping children with decoding might measure reading fluency.
Apps that focus on comprehension might show parents the child’s comprehension proficiency. Each lesson could include a scored quiz that measures understanding.
Unfortunately, not all apps include a formal measurement tool. Children might play educational games with no real learning goals attached.
If parents preview an app and discover that the app does not offer a means to gauge the child’s progress, they might focus on other app options. Some parents, though, might download apps to help children practice letters or sounds; they might only need the app to encourage skill mastery and to encourage regular phonics review and practice.
Free Apps for Kids Learning: Look for a Reward System
Not all children need a reward system for motivation. For children who struggle with reading or another core subject, an app with a built-in rewards system provides motivation and encouragement while boosting confidence.
Research how the app rewards children for their progress. Assess the app and all its functionalities with children to discover if the rewards enhance motivation and excitement. Some rewards systems don’t entice children to engage with lessons. Dive into this feature.
Kids Free Learning Apps: Read the Reviews!
Sometimes the best way to determine if an app is useful is to read the reviews. If thousands of people left five-star reviews, it might be a great option. Don’t simply look at the ratings; read the posts. Be sure to read the negative reviews, too.
If an app doesn’t have many reviews, is it a dud? Not necessarily. The app might be new or unexplored. If it’s free to download, consider giving it a preview.
Free Kid Learning Apps: Check the Age Recommendation
Not all apps are suitable for all ages. Some apps are noted as 4+; this means they are suitable for children four and older. However, parents should look at the app to understand if it’s aimed for their child’s age, interest, and maturity.
If the app specifies an older age range, follow the recommendation. An app might be too complicated for a younger child or it could include ideas or content that is unsuitable for their age. Abide by the age recommendations!
This is the Best Free Learning App for Kids!
There is one learning app that checks all the boxes for children who struggle to read or who want to increase their reading proficiency. Readability is designed for children in kindergarten through sixth grade. This lesson-based reading app includes a built-in tutor that helps children as they gain reading fluency and confidence; the tutor is AI and learns each child’s voice.
Readability offers a new Stars and Badges rewards system. As children complete reading tasks in the program, they earn stars. These stars unlock badges, and children can set reading goals based on which badges they wish to earn.
Explore how Readability can increase reading comprehension, amp up fluency, and help children hit grade-level benchmarks. Sign up for a free trial today!