Technology is amazing isn’t it? Without the technology available to us today our travel plans would be very different, as would the girls home education. We use technology daily to enrich the girls education, and plan to continue to do so whilst we are travelling. I thought it might be helpful to share what equipment, apps and programmes we will be using on our travels.
The girls each have a Kindle Fire 7 tablet. I really recommend these as an excellent tablet for kids. They are cheap, durable and child proof (ours have been dropped a few times and the screens still work after being smeared with sticky fingers). My favourite feature is the kids mode. This is a separate login with a child centred interface. You can set the features by typing in your child’s date of birth so everything is age appropriate. They can also only access apps that you’ve enabled and a screen time limit that you can set. On the girls tablets they cannot access the internet or YouTube as, for us, there is just too much opportunity to accidentally click on something dodgy, if they would like to use these features they can ask us and we sit with them to use the internet and YouTube.
We use these genius TabZoo kindle cases. They are super fun and turn into a clever stand, which we hope will be really useful on airline tray tables.
We envisage that the girls will spend time on their kindles during long journeys, times when we’re hanging around in airport lounges, and in our rooms in the evenings. Here’s a list of the apps and programmes that we’ll be using:
1. Amazon Kindle:
In our home we are obsessed with books, we treasure them and spend long hours reading together. Plus we spend way too much money buying books, especially beautifully illustrated children’s’ books. Obviously we can’t fit books in our backpacks and I don’t want to just stop reading and sharing books together so the kindle app is our substitute. Now I’m not a huge fan of digital books because I’m old fashioned and like to feel them in my hands, and I adore the smell of books. But it’ll do just fine for us whilst we travel. I’ve written a separate post listing the books I have uploaded on our kindle ready to go, you can read it here.
Audiobooks are amazing, right? We listen to them regularly. In the car, whilst the girls are in the bath, or we pop them on in the background whilst playing, painting, or drawing. They can work out expensive, so we subscribe to Audible. For £3.99/month we receive 1 credit which you can use to download a book. Even though this means you have to build up your library slowly, it does work out a lot cheaper. I’m going to cancel our subscription before we depart as we’ll have a decent library of audiobooks. Here is a list of the stories we like to listen to on Audible.
Recently Ava has been diagnosed with Dyslexia. We have found the Nessy Reading and Spelling programme to be really beneficial to her. She currently completes a daily target on the programme which takes about 20 minutes a day. Since using the programme she had gained tons of confidence in her abilities and has begun to read and write for pleasure again. A subscription costs £8 per month, but for us this is worth it. It works out about 30p per session which is totally worth it for the benefits to Ava’s education. I really recommend checking out the Nessy website if you have any worries that your child may be dyslexic.
We have used the Mathseeds programme to supplement the girls home education for a couple of years now. Unschooling mean we let the girls choose their education and how they spend their time. I introduced them to Mathseeds in the early days of our home educating and they really enjoyed it; way more then the workbooks I purchased which are sat neglected on a shelf. It is like a game with different levels for the children to complete. Each level focuses on different areas of maths, and each area is covered several times throughout the levels. When the children complete tasks they can unlock seeds that contain animals. At the end of each level they do a “quiz” and if they pass move onto the next level. Because it is laid out like a game the girls almost don’t realise they are doing maths work so still view it as a treat, and I feel safe in the knowledge that they are covering the maths curriculum. A subscription costs £29.95 per child per year. The girls usually use this 3 times a week so this works out about 19p per session, again for us its a small cost for the educational benefits.
6. Gus on the Go:
The girls love playing with the Gus on the Go app, particularly Bonnie. She is currently working through the Spanish language one. It is simple to use, and very easy for children. They basically travel round with Gus the owl and practise basic words in the chosen language. It serves as a great app for introducing languages to younger children.
7. Scratch Junior:
I haven’t the faintest, foggiest idea about coding. So this app is great to help the girls learn the basics. They make some delightful little animations which they’re always really proud to show us.
8. Toca Life:
The girls have the full collection of Toca Life apps and they just adore playing with them. When they’re sat together playing these it reminds me of when they are immersed in small world play together, only in the digital world.
This is a random one, my mum introduced the girls to mahjong on her ipad and now they just love playing it. It seems to really hold their attention for sustained periods, and serves as a great brain trainer.
Tangrams are really great puzzles to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills. So I’ve downloaded this version, which we all enjoy having a go at together.
So there you have it, the apps and programmes that we’ll be using to keep the girls entertained throughout our travels, that have to added benefit of being educational too.
What educational games and apps do you recommend for children? Let us know in the comments.