I bow to the parents reading this that have avoided the grand entrance of screens into the lives of their children.

I am not one of them.

As a result, I’ve compiled a short list of screen ideas for your kids that we’ve found serve us instead of strip away from us. (See blog post about screen tips.)

  1. Homer Learn-to-Read App. This program is constantly updating to keep the content fresh. It is intended for children aged 2-8 and I’ve found in our home that is a good gauge. It saves the child’s progress and adapts accordingly to help him on his reading “pathway.” But there is so much more. There is a section on learning about different countries in the world, one about learning about different animals, and one for songs that the kids can watch the words go by. There is a huge section for books that the program will read to your child. It engages my kids and still feels like they are having fun.
  2. Disney Nature documentaries. We love these in our home. Depending on if you hail from Canada (like we do) or live elsewhere, you should be able to find at least a couple of these on Netflix. The documentaries follow specific animals on their journeys, usually (always) involving baby animals. The animals are named, and the narrator talks about them in a way that the kids feel bonded. So educational, and entertaining for the whole gang, we’ve found.
  3. Wild Kratts. Netflix houses 4 seasons of this gem. My youngest informed me the other day that she pretty much never needs to attend any sort of educational system because she learns “SO MUCH” from Wild Kratts. Short of the fact there is a bit more she might learn in life, she’s right that the show teaches a ton of information and cool facts about animals. I think my kids have seen each of the 4 seasons between one and twelve times. Or so.
  4. Odd Squad. My ten year old daughter loves this show. Each episodes consists of preteen kiddos solving real life problems using math. Literally. When my daughter found this show and gave me the report and her case as to why I should let her watch it, I was skeptical that it was as math oriented as she claimed – but she’s right. Math. What I love about this is that it uses what is often viewed as boring and turns it into something fun and applicable to real life. She got a “yes” from me.
  5. Monument Valley App. All my kids enjoy navigating through this game. I’m going to be honest, I don’t have the patience to sit down and figure these games out, but I do know that this one really forces the kids to think beyond what they can see to solve the pathways. I love that my 5 year old can tackle it and that the challenge is still there for my oldest. The bonus is that it is visually beautiful. Gets me every time.

So there we have it. 5 of my suggestions on what to let your kids do when screen time is called for. They are fun, educational, full of cool facts, and force your kids to think beyond pure entertainment.

So go draw the bath and toss them the iPad. Let your kids watch and play these and you’re practically a hero.