If you’ve got some downtime in the dentist’s waiting room or you’re on a long car trip, few things can distract your kids better than mobile TV. Whether they’re on the new iOS 7 or a kid-friendly iPad, mobile TV can be a savior of sanity and refuge from boredom for little ones everywhere.
Besides combating boredom, these iOS channels offer educational value in their own ways. Here are some of the best:
This is perhaps best-known and universally loved examples of mobile entertainment for kids (and adults harking back to the good old days). It is pretty humorous for kids and grown-ups alike, and the interactive website offers hours of diversion and education. Kids can enjoy educational play even if they’re not yet readers, and you can download free videos as well. Our old friends Grover, Elmo and Ernie don’t disappoint.
The preschool set will have fun Nick Jr., although ads are all over the place. But, the quality of the games and other content make it worth spending time on the site. Try “Dora Saves the Crystal Kingdom: Rainbow Ride Lite” (free) for edu-tainment on basics of colors and counting. Burning off energy is a breeze if you call up the interactive “Move to the Music” clips. Counting by fives couldn’t be much more fun. Opt for a memory matching game with Dora or learn some new words with “Word Play” videos. Kids get an avatar and parents can check out progress reports if you go premium.
Venerable Disney pulls out all the activity stops for their channel, which can be too busy for some kids. It may over-stimulate your child, especially if he or she is fidgety or fussy at that moment. Disney runs Club Penguin, where kids can personalize their online space with icons, multimedia and personal info. They can also purchase some penguin bling with points they’ve earned through their time on the site.
The online fare gives little emphasis to classic Disney (no big surprise) in favor of the current offerings they’re pushing. Streaming video is front and center on most pages. The newly added Story app lets you assemble photos and video around a theme, add text and save to iCloud for later editing. Embed the completed scrapbook in your blog if you like. Or share your child’s latest Story with an invited list of viewers on the dedicated website, via Facebook or email.
Preschoolers love “Sprout” on PBS Kids and the online/mobile experience is equally charming. Kids can solve puzzles, learn through self-expression and practice fine motor skills via videos and simple game play. Familiar characters and themes from the TV show are engaging enough to keep kids’ attention as they introduce reasoning skills and counting lessons. In a game tied to “The Chica Show,” Dress Chica, kids drag and drop clothing items and can even make Chica dance by shaking the phone. Want to focus on specific skills? PBS Kids lists games by device, age or other criteria in the parent’s section.
Kids can explore and learn practical problem-solving with Arthur and friends from PBS. Your child can help Buster order from the ice cream store menu and dress Muffy properly for various activities. With Arthur and company, kids learn, reinforce and gain confidence in the basics. Learning is cleverly integrated into rich content, so kids have fun without feeling like they’re learning. In “D.W’s Unicorn Adventure,” kids help Arthur’s little sister save a lost unicorn through good nutrition. We love that.