Top iPad Apps To Teach Life Skills to Kids

iPadlifeskillfeatWe’ve all seen the story about using the iPad as a motivator to toilet train a child, which elicits some well-deserved eye rolls from parents, but anyone who is skeptical about the iPad’s ability to help a child learn to manage money and chores, tie his shoes, brush his teeth, or clean his room should think again. Plus, you don’t have to bring a tablet computer worth hundreds of dollars into the bathroom.

What are your favorite life skill apps for kids? Among the many expected suggestions, I’ve got one unorthodox entry — Minecraft Pocket Edition. Read more about it after the break.


lifeskill1Every parent hopes their child will grow to be more responsible, particularly with money and chores, and many of us also welcome any tool that will keep us from having to hound children with repeated requests. To this end, iAllowance offers a comprehensive way to track allowance and chores, encourage saving and charitable giving. Plus, parents can set up rewards tailored to each child. Try the free version of the app, which includes a walkthrough that makes it easy to see what you’re paying for. Just need a chore tracker? Consider Chore Pad HD, which offers parents a thorough way to keep track of whose job it is to do everything around the house.

lifeskill2Parents of younger children know that there’s a range of life skills kids need to learn before they are even old enough to get an allowance. Bed time routines are easier to establish with Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, a game for pre-schoolers that covers using the bathroom and prepping for sleep. Have You Ever Seen A Moose Brushing His Teeth is an amusing storybook app that is sure to engage reluctant teeth brushers. Tizio’s I Have To Go uses a similarly engaging approach to tackle toileting. Azawhistle Kids also follows suit as it encourages a child to clean his room. Finally, while it isn’t intended solely for children, keep Animated Knots by Grog HD in mind for any child who stubbornly refuses to tie his shoes, or who needs to learn to tie a neck tie. Not only is Animated Knots a practical reference, but it includes the most lucid explanation of how to tie a shoe that I’ve seen. (PadGadget = 4.5 stars)

lifeskill3After watching the complexity of my child’s Minecraft world evolve over the past several months, I believe that even though Minecraft Pocket Edition’s has potential to swallow a tween boy’s attention entirely for weeks, the app has merit. It forces kids to use life skills such as keyboarding and addition to fully engage in the game. Not only is the Minecraft complex, but it is also open-ended, which requires the child to plan ahead, manage resources, and play nicely with others. Sure, most kids aren’t going to need to collect mushrooms to create fermented spider eyes in their adult life, but it’s still heartening to see a child willingly commit to a multi-step task with such zeal.

Photo courtesy of Flickr user Brad Flickinger.

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About Emily: Emily is a freelance writer who loves discovering new apps whenever she can pry the iPad away from her children or husband. You can contact her via Twitter: @whatwentwrite

  • lucascott

    There are some interesting apps that can help, perhaps, but ultimately the best app is us. We are the ones that will teach them how to act, particularly with tech. In my house there’s a strict rule of no tech at the table during meals. Well there is one exception but that’s because he’s a paramedic but even then it’s limited to if dispatch calls and they have their own tones to make it obvious.

    no iphone until you are 16 and it’s a hand me down unless you earn the money yourself. no ipads going into bed and so on. Even the kids that have to have one for school are made to give it up after school and go play outside, finish their chores etc. And if Mom and Dad say no games, that’s the end of the discussion.

    • http://www.facebook.com/ekbecker Emily Becker

      It is very true that apps are not a replacement for competent parenting, but I do think they can help parents teach discrete tasks. Thanks for your comment.