A child's curiosity is a terrible thing to waste

Frugotron co-founder Magda Dybal discusses how apps and games help children learn – and have fun
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All children are inherently curious. Perhaps at no other point in our lives do we soak up so much information so quickly as when we are so young. As kids begin their lives, they’re eager to learn about the world around them. The use of proper educational technology, coupled with parent involvement, can help them do just that.

“Just that” is precisely what our educational system struggles to accomplish. Sadly, it tends to over-emphasize the importance of standardised testing, it makes sweeping generalisations about the unique ways in which children learn, it often impedes opportunities for productive learning, it lacks the flexibility to adapt to kids’ natural talents, it…well, you get the point. Essentially, it dilutes children’s curiosity and crushes their desire to learn.

While our educational system is ripe for reform — because it is ripe for reform — it is evermore the responsibility of parents to indulge their children’s inquisitiveness. New educational technologies, along with increasing access to tablets and smartphones, now empower parents to take more active roles in their children’s early education.

What’s more, such technology can make learning fun for a child and a parent. By incorporating interactivity and joy, new technology enables children to learn more effortlessly. Just as importantly, it helps ready them for school and an increasingly competitive future.

Unfortunately, many parents underestimate the value of educational apps and games, wrongly assuming that such tools distract from the real-life skills a child needs to succeed. However, educational experts suggest the opposite. According to Greg Toppo, USA Today education reporter and author of The Game Believes in You: How Digital Play Can Make Our Kids Smarter, games offer opportunities for deep concentration and learning. “What makes a game fun,” he says, “is not that it’s easy, but that it’s hard. Gamers love a challenge.”

Many parents underestimate the value of educational apps and games, wrongly assuming that such tools distract from the real-life skills a child needs to succeed

According to Toppo, a game can present children with materials in novel ways, enabling them to engage with information in a more personalized fashion — that is, as long as they are quality games. Games based upon the scientific curriculum work best to tap into children’s natural drive to learn, explore, and tackle challenges.

At Frugoton, we developed games that are fun, and that also revolve around a unique curriculum that develops the most important skills early on: language, math, knowledge, memory, focus, and general abilities. In other words, our games are practical and impactful. They create a solid basis for kids to acquire and build critical life skills. 

We also recognize that engaging parents in the early education of their kids helps improve not only basic skills acquisition among children but family bonding, as well. And so, a few weeks ago, we released our Preschool Parent Guide, an app that helps parents prepare their kids for school and choose right toys for them. It is our first app aimed at parents, complete with suggestions on how to engage their kids with their surroundings on a daily basis in fun and educational ways.

Since kids learn best through play, the Preschool Parent Guide features more than 700 fun and educational activities as well as toy recommendations to help children focus on developing language, knowledge, and math skills. Parents also have access to resources and toy recommendations within the app. At the same time, the Preschool Parent Guide allows parents to track and support their children’s intellectual development and take on an active, hands-on role in the learning experience.

Ultimately, we aren’t merely balancing the roles of children and parents in the learning process—we are using technology to fuse the two in integrative ways to optimize results. Indeed, it is only by aligning technology with the needs of parents and their children that we can help prepare today’s youth for tomorrow.

You can read more of Gregg Toppo's report at www.gamebelieves.com and find out more about Frugotron at www.frugotron.com

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