1. EXPLORE NATURE’S WONDERS
The app: Toca Nature
What it is: This interactive app allows kids to discover and explore the world around without having to step out of the house, ideal for Dubai summers. With a bird’s-eye view of the land, kids can use their imagination to build an entire planet. From digging craters to form lakes, planting trees to make a forest and ‘dragging’ land up to create mountains – build them high enough and they’ll be able to see snow form on them – the options are almost limitless. Children can also collect berries and mushrooms and watch what different species of animals eat. There’s also a day and night change, bringing more variety.
What your child will learn: The importance of conservation and protecting our planet.
Ages: 5 to 12
2. GET EXERCISING
The app: Sworkit kids
What it is: Yes, there are fitness apps for kids, and yes, they work great. Every parent knows that staying active is important to development. Children indoors all summer? Get them moving and engaged with the kiddie version of the adult workout tool. With age-appropriate exercises starting from as little as five minutes, focusing on everything from strength and flexibility to balance, these guided workouts will keep kids active in a fun way. There are timers counting down to video and voice tutorials that are simple and well-designed so your child will have no difficulty switching between different types of exercises. There are breaks and rest periods too. This app will turn fitness into a game, and your child will soon be begging to exercise – win-win all around.
What your child will learn: The importance of keeping fit.
Ages: 7 to 14
3. LEARN A NEW LANGUAGE
The app: Duolingo
What it is: Put a book in front of them, and the average teenager will be averse to learning most things, let alone a language. Which makes Duolingo the perfect app. This makes learning languages a breeze. Ideal for revising what your teen has learnt in class, or adding a new skill in today’s globalised world (it’s sure to look great and give them an edge for a university application). It definitely beats classroom learning, being so much more fun and efficient, with structure and accountability. With goals ranging from Casual (5 minutes a day) to Insane (20 minutes) and trackers of your progress, along with rewards for activities completed, kids are helped to stay motivated.
What your child will learn: Reading, writing, listening and speaking in over 30 languages.
Ages: 13 onwards
4. UNDERSTAND THE HUMAN BODY
The app: The human body by Tinybop
What it is: Breaking down a complex concept for young kids. The human body is a fascinating topic, but keeping a lesson on the subject engaging can be a challenge. This popular app conquers this with an interactive model of the body. Kids get a realistic peek into what we’re made of. Seven layers of the body highlight everything from the bones to the heart and intestines. There are various smart-device features, such as a microphone to demonstrate hearing, and photos to teach brain function (via memory). Every body part is animated: the guts gurgle, the heart beats, the skin feels… this app is sure to inspire curiosity and queries in kids. Importantly, a wide range of skin tones is represented, so your child can choose what looks most like them. Even doctors have been reported to use the app to explain kids’ conditions. The bodily sounds will be a great hit – the developers know that burps and other bodily sounds can keep kids entertained if not engrossed!
What your child will learn: Awareness of their bodies along with a great science lesson.
5. BUILD A READING HABIT
The app: Disney Story Central
What it is: Get your kids’ imaginations soaring with this app full of stories. Through beloved Disney characters, from Mickey Mouse to Moana, princesses to pirates, the app encourages reading. There’s even a reward system complete with a celebration and trophies to keep little ones motivated. The fact that the kids already know and love the characters makes it so much easier to get them hooked on to the stories. Use this as a bonding session, with the entire family cuddled on the couch reading along. Kids can choose to be read to, or read by themselves to encourage independence. Kids need more convincing? Just tell them there are tonnes of Frozen stories.
What your child will learn: That reading can be so much fun.
Ages: 2 to 8
Cost: Free for first 4 stories, in-app purchases after.