Curriculum-Based Playtime Essentials In An Educational App

Have you ever asked yourself what makes kids’ apps tick?  What do app-makers think about?

An extraordinary thing about curriculum-based apps for preschoolers, is that progression-based courses of study are built into the apps.  Curriculum-based apps differ from “just-for-fun” apps, because a study program is at their core, so games adapt to your child’s learning needs.  The app’s ‘smart’ technology measures your child’s activity, and is designed to teach your child to learn by trying and repeating.

This may not appear on the surface, as many apps challenge kids, but a learning app is very different from an app where little else of value is instilled in a child, or retained. An educational app is not designed to distract your child, but rather to hold your child’s interest and build learning comprehension.  This is a classic definition of curriculum!

Ordinary app games have parameters that lead to an outcome, earning points in a game, you can choose a game level, winning or losing.  The repertoire for what you might expect to happen is limited and in no way responsive to a child’s learning curiosity.  In contrast, curriculum and ‘smart’ technology map your child’s progress, reliably supporting a learning path based on your child’s needs, and leading to gradual mastery of a small, comprehensive unit.  For example, in an Agnitus game, it is noted when your child systematically identifies blue and/or green correctly.

Teachers, as students, study to learn how to create dynamic content study plans for their students.  A strategy that engages each learner, helps them anticipate and persevere, and rewards successful engagement, is a winning approach to education.

For the purposes of learning with apps, blended learning is recommended.  Blended learning is based on the principle that a natural learning environment – such as your home or nature – is enhanced with smart technology.  The technology and real experiences are coupled to form blended interchanging sets of ideas and experiences, that go from real world to app and back again.  Developing learning apps that complement real life is the basis for not just ‘smart’ technology, but also intelligent planning.  By developing learning apps, we are trying to complement real life, generating the best of all possible outcomes.

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Learning fun in the kitchen: “morphing” healthy foods into shapes

If your home is like mine, looking around for shapes can easily become an unwieldy project that morphs into spring cleaning!  On the other hand, morphing is fun, and setting aside a little time, you can enjoy productive shape play with your child.

The basic idea of complementing digital learning by using real life shapes is simple and surprisingly fun.  Though there are lots of ways to get busy with shapes, one of the sure-fire winning ways to accentuate educational app learning, is with food made into shapes.   For young children, here are shapes activities that use foods.

Some foods naturally lend themselves to shape recognition, especially spherically shaped foods such as oranges, grapes, or sliced cucumbers and carrots.  For special occasions, cookies can be nicely cut into various shapes either by hand or with a cookie cutter.  This is a delightful complement to learning shapes on an app, because now shapes take on a savory dimension!

For snacks, bread can be cut into triangles, many crackers have simple round, square or rectangular shapes.  And cheeses, meats, and even tofu can be cut creatively to complement the shapes of breads and crackers.  Don’t forget octagons and hexagons, easy to cut with thin-sliced cheese!  With a small compostable knife, your child can safely have fun creating squarish and odd shapes!   Remember, your child, in real world play with shape design, is reasoning, problem-solving, and practicing fine motor skills.  Be sure to go with the flow if that triangle is a tad off!  Cooking and shapes projects in the kitchen accomplish other interesting things: they teach our children about how things change when we prepare them to eat, and kids learn about gender roles in the kitchen.  You can have “shape fun” putting kabobs together too.

For a child-centered kitchen project, fruit leather, also called fruit rolls or fruit roll ups, can be wonderously cut into many shapes, and they come in colors, an added bonus!

Remember that while your child is learning to identify basic shapes, some have straight lines, and some have curves.  Keep it simple, and let your educational app inform you about how consistently your child is mastering each shape independent of your loving attention!

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