I am looking for an app to make my 4-year-old son learn, for example to count and the alphabet, before he can watch videos or play games. Is there such an app? Ideally 1 minute of learning would unlock 1 minute of play time.

I found apps that limits the time spent on an iPad, but I was not able to find anything that would require some learning before unlocking the device.

  • I have a feeling that such an App would be very hard to produce due to it having to override a lot of the basic functionalities like the "home" button, so there probably isn't one. But I could be wrong. – Erik Oct 10 '16 at 19:24
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    I haven't found such a thing, but I have to say is be very against it anyway. Your child will benefit much more from you working with them to decide when they get to play, and how they can earn it; and then learning with you... Computers can be useful, but they are no substitute for a caring parent spending quality time with them. – Rory Alsop Oct 10 '16 at 19:41
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    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's a specific product recommendation request and will quickly be obsolete. – William Grobman Oct 12 '16 at 21:59
  • @gtwk check out smartmadre.com – user584583 Mar 26 '17 at 1:47

I don't know of an app that will do exactly what you want, but you could take a standard learning app, set a timer when he starts, and not tell him how to exit the app. Once he has played with the app for a while and gets bored, you can exit it for him, set a timer for the appropriate amount of time, and let him watch netflix or play games. You could do that with pretty much any iPad app, but here is one example: http://www.148apps.com/app/384334005/

That said, I'm not sure that's the best approach, as it may teach your son that learning is a chore, and can't be fun. If you want to use an iPad app, I'd encourage you to find one that your son actually enjoys using, so he can learn letters or numbers and be playing games at the same time!

Better still would be for you to sit down with him while he does the work, if you have time for it. That way he can learn to enjoy learning, reading, and math because it's associated with having time with his dad. Granted you will have to relax and enjoy it yourself, so that it's an all around positive experience for him.

For letters and reading, I have had good luck with the Kumon workbook series. In particular, I've used their uppercase letters, lowercase letters, rhyming words, and rhyming words and phrases workbooks successfully, by the end of which the child is ready to sound out words and start simple reading and writing.

https://www.amazon.com/First-Uppercase-Letters-Kumon-Workbooks/dp/477430705X https://www.amazon.com/My-First-Book-Lowercase-Letters/dp/4774307068/ref=cm_rdp_product https://www.amazon.com/Book-Rhyming-Words-Kumon-Workbooks/dp/4774307610/ref=cm_rdp_product https://www.amazon.com/Rhyming-Words-Phrases-Kumon-Workbooks/dp/4774307629/ref=cm_rdp_product

If you use these, be careful not to overload the child or to get frustrated because you think the child can do better. A page or two a day may seem slow, but it will have him ready to start reading in less than a year. Also, do read the instructions, especially the parts about what sounds the child should make while tracing the letters.

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    I wouldn't rely on "don't tell them how to exit", it takes kids about 10 seconds to work out which button returns them to the app screen. (Especially since the device probably only has 3, and the right one is the most prominent one) – Erik Oct 11 '16 at 11:42

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