Sharing Apps With Your Preschooler

We hear from lots of parents, caregivers and educators who would like to share digital content with young children and want to know the best way to do it. While there is still lots of research that has to be done in this area, we recommend the following.

Tips for Sharing an app with your preschooler

Co-reading/co-playing

Research shows that parent-child interaction plays a huge role in a child’s experience with an app. Make sure you take the time to experience an app with your child, just as you would sit down with a picture book.

Try together for the first time

Unlike a traditional picture book, apps all work differently. For example, some require a tap to turn a page while others use a finger swipe. Some apps restart when you exit them while others save or bookmark what you were doing before exiting. Work with your child (or do a test run yourself) to figure these things out together to reduce your child’s confusion and frustration. 

Balanced media diet

It is important to incorporate a variety of media in your child’s experiences, just as you do in your child’s diet. Picture books, oral stories, rhymes, songs and play are all an important part of your child’s healthy development.

What makes a good app for Preschoolers?

Developmentally appropriate

Most apps come with rough age guidelines (ex: ages 3+) but you know your child best. Young children can become frustrated with apps that are too complex, while older children can bore easily with something that does not have enough interactivity. Look for apps with:

  • Levels of difficulty (this is often highlighted in the app’s description)
  • Free preview or “lite” versions available to download before you commit to a purchase

Controls and Settings

Customization lets you tailor an app to your  family's needs. Look for options like:

  • Ability to turn sound on or off (can the app still be enjoyed and understood if muted?)
  • Different language settings
  • Ability to save progress in a game-based app or photo/drawings in an art-based app

The Youth Department's Favourite Apps

Searching in app stores can be overwhelming. That is why we created the WVML Recommended Apps tumblr to help you find the best of the best.

We carefully selected the best-reviewed and most celebrated apps for all ages, which you can try at the Youth Department Technology Petting Zoo. We update our tumblr whenever we purchase a new app for our petting zoo devices and you can narrow your search by age and price.