Child Psychologist Jean Piaget discovered in the early 1900’s that there are different stages of cognitive development in people that change as we get older. Each stage of development has a different focus. In the Sensori-Motor stage, which takes place between birth and the age of 2, children are just beginning to make sense of the word around them, and to adopt hand eye coordination as well as understand the parameters of Spatial reasoning.
For the Sensory-Motor stage, the educational applications best suited to that age of child which is in the beginning stages of learning to experience the world around them, are applications that include bright colors, shapes of all sizes, and involve moving objects from one point to another.
The Pre-operational stage, from ages 2-7, involves learning through the use of pretend role playing although the grasp of logic at this stage is just beginning to develop as well as a child’s ability to see and to understand the perspectives of others. This is an ego centric stage.
For this stage, educational applications that include characters interacting in different situations, using music, bright colors, and some light moral values lessons are best, as children learn through game playing, even as they think they are only having fun.
The Concrete-Operational Stage is from ages 7-12, in which children are more more self directed and begin to think logically and to use reason to solve conflicts, although they are not yet ready for hypothetical challenges posed to them. This is also the age range where children begin to understand what their aptitudes are ie, writing, dancing, playing sports, running fast, etc…they test themselves in this stage.
The best applications for this stage involve both play acting with characters and puzzles with increasing difficulty at each level passed. This will both engage the child and offer more challenge the further the child gets “in the game” (app).
The Formal Operational Stage is from ages 12 through adulthood. The ability to use deductive and inductive reasoning along with understanding both abstract principles and hypothetical situations develops during the beginning of adolescence and continues to develop during our lifetimes, assuming we continue to use these skills through out our lives.
Children at this stage (Tween up through adolescence) are engaged by a variety of different applications and types of technology. Curious by nature, this group would likely be enthused by applications that appeal to their adventurous side.
“Choose Your Own Adventure” type applications put each child in a situation where he or she has to make decisions along the way over the course of the adventure and the application shows them what the consequences are of each decision, a kind of Cause and Effect game.
The important thing to remember about choosing the right educational applications for your children is that they are meant to be fun and mentally stimulating. The more fun your child is having playing the application, likely, the more they are learning without even realizing it.
For a full list of educational applications, please refer to the applications catalog on the site.