Developing Educational Apps for Preschool Children

December 11th, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Educational Apps for Kids
Educational apps for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices have gained widespread popularity. And for good reasons: these apps provide an interactive learning environment for children and, if designed with the requisite planning and thought, could be a lot of fun for the kids.

Are you planning to develop an educational app for preschool kids? Would you like it to stand out from the rest? How do you ensure that the app has a good pedagogical value and, at the same time, is fun for the kids? How do you find the developers with the requisite prior experience of developing educational app for kids? If this topic is of interest to you, read on.

Developing a high quality educational app for kids require planning, creativity, and an interest in early childhood education.  Some of the important steps involved in developing such an app are listed below.

Storyboard

Coming up with an interesting storyboard is the essential first step in the whole process. You need to have a good idea of the learning requirements of preschool kids. If you have been trained as an early childhood educator or if you have watched the learning habits of preschool kids closely and have a genuine desire to make the learning process more fun for them, you are well placed to come up with a relevant and interesting storyboard. Although variations exist, curriculum for preschool kids has been well-established and there are numerous online resources available.

The learning activities of preschoolers can be divided into categories like the following:

  • Learning and identifying shapes
  • Naming and identifying Colors
  • Learning numbers
  • Manners (Thank you, please)
  • Identifying body parts
  • Learning and identifying animals
  • Naming things in a house
  • Naming fruits and vegetables
  • Simple puzzles and games

Traditionally, these skills are taught with the help of physical objects, flash cards, and books. While there is nothing wrong with the traditional methods, the advent of touch screen tablets and smart phones have opened a world of possibilities for much more interactive, and consequently more fun, ways of learning.  Educational apps for iPad, iPhone, Android smart phones and tablets have gained wide acceptance and popularity for this reason – it’s just much more fun for the kids compared to the traditional ways of learning!

Artwork and graphics

Quality artwork and visuals are of central importance in an educational app for young kids. Characters and objects form the virtual world that the kids interact with and  it has to be designed carefully with the audience in mind. Normally, you would want to go with simple straight lines for drawing, solid vivid colors, and cute-looking characters where possible (exception may be cases where you are trying to display something devilish – that’s where you can probably stray from this rule!). To state the obvious, big bold characters should be used wherever text is displayed and textual information should be kept to a minimum.

Voice-overs

Most of educational apps for kids require some voice-overs done. The voice-overs are typically required for pronouncing object names, asking questions, and possibly responding to various touch actions by the kid.

Selecting the right voice over is important for the success of the app. You would typically want to look for voices which are friendly and soothing, although there may be exceptions to this. Again, to state the obvious, the speaking style would typically need to be very slow and crisp.

Sound effects

Adding the right sound effects to the app help create the “fun” aspect to it. In general, you would want to stay away from loud, shrill sounds and stick with crisp and fun sounds. Using cartoon-style sounds is typically a good idea – it’s a fact that children like it!

Target platform

Should your educational app be available for iOS or Android? Or both? Should it be available on tablets or smart phones? Or both?

In general, tablets (specially iPad) is suitable for preschool kids due to their larger screen size. When young kids interface with touch devices, their touch actions are usually not very precisely positioned. Tablets, due to their larger screen sizes, are much more forgiving to this inaccuracy of touches so it’s generally a good idea to target your app to tablets compared to smart phones.

In addition to tablets, you may also want to include smart phones. If your app does not rely on accurately positioned touches too much, then it’s likely to be equally fun on the smaller screens of smart phones. The upside of including smart phones, obviously, is that it means you will be able to reach to a much greater number of users! When parents return home from work these days, it’s not uncommon for young children to ask for the iPhone or Galaxy nexus so that they could play their favorite game!

iOS or the Android platform? If you have the development budget, you should go for both. But if you were to choose between the two, beginning with iOS may be a better choice simply because the most popular tablet in the world (iPad) runs iOS! If you were to develop it for just one platform and just one device for your educational app for kids, it has to be iPad.

Programming

Programming is the step where all your creative work is converted into a working app that  runs on devices of your choice. You should do the due diligence to select a mobile app development company which has the expertise to successfully bring your idea to life.

Depending on the types of target platforms (iOS, Android), you should ideally look for programmers with prior experience of developing educational app for kids. If the developers have worked on similar apps, they are likely to be aware of the nuances which make for a great user experience and that awareness will come in handy to ensure a high quality result.

A good mobile app development firm will facilitate the launch of your app on Apple’s appstore and Android market and should provide for post development support services to fix any issues which are spotted after the development is complete. You should have solid support available so that if your app starts getting popular, you can count on your programmers to upgrade the app in timely fashion and also work with you to possibly design sequels to your first app.

Conclusion

Developing an educational app for preschool children is rewarding in many ways. It is a creative process and, if your app addresses the learning requirements of preschoolers in a fun way, it may very well be a source of on-going revenue­ for you.

So if you have an idea for an interesting app, take some time to do the planning and then go ahead with your idea!

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