It has been more than 2 months since the monkies first came into contact with Samsung KidsTime. And if they were not already in love with it then, they sure are now! I have noticed all three of them have - whether consciously or sub-consciously - shunned the regular game apps that they have been playing prior to Samsung KidsTime and spent more time on the educational apps designed for kids in mind.
Samsung KidsTime is a child-friendly learning platform developed by Samsung with games and e-books and it uniquely teaches and motivates children aged between 3 and 7 years old to learn and be more proactive with kids-safe curated content. So what this means for parents is they can be sure that the games and ebooks present in Samsung KidsTime have been carefully handpicked to reflect the various educational aspects crucial in a child's development.
And after spending much time on Samsung KidsTime (as well as having the opportunity to sneak in a few plays myself), I have come to the conclusion that it is the best child-centric and child-friendly app that any parent can find in the app market today. And here's why:
1. Effective Time Management
For starters, parents will be able to set the amount of play time a child can play, up to a maximum of 60 minutes. Beyond this, the entire tablet is locked and will require parents to use a passcode to unlock it. Definitely great for teaching kids the importance of using technology responsibly through effective time management!
2. Individual Profile
3. Wide Array of Educational Content
With over 80 edu-tainment apps and eBooks available for download, this has got to be one of the strongest points in the monkies' eyes. In fact, as you would have probably read in my previous post, the boys were initially at a loss at which game app to begin playing when they launched Samsung KidsTime for the first time!
4. Monthly refresh of New Games and Books
See the apps in the above screen grab that are not accompanied by a 'green tick'? Those are the new games that were just released into the Samsung KidsTime database. So yes, expect to have monthly updates from curated publishers... and incessant clamouring from your kids to download the new games and eBooks.
6. Safe Environment
Besides fearing that kids go on an app-downloading spree, the other culprit for a huge bill shock is usually one that has to do with in-app purchases. With Samsung KidsTime, parents need worry as the kids-safe curated content contains absolutely zero in-app purchases or advertisements. So parents can be at ease as their kids will not spend ridiculous amounts of cash while they use the app.
7. App Lock Feature
As an extension to the passcode feature, the 'App Lock' feature prevents children from leaving Samsung KidsTime without the passcode. This helps to avoid binge play and more importantly, access to other unauthorised apps, like YouTube.
8. Parent Tools Feedback
Depending on the child's interest, the app also recommends apps that would supplement holistic learning. So for Ayd who has been playing games that are geared towards Math for the past week, it will recommend apps that dabble more in Science and Linguistic learning.
Over time, I believe the feedback gained from the Parent Tools function will help parents to better understand their kids' interests better and in turn, help monitor their growth in a more holistic manner.
9. Spend Quality Time Together
I have to admit - some of the games in Samsung KidsTime can be hugely addictive... and educational without the monkies actually realising it. In fact, the boys have learnt basic polar coordinate geometry, percentages and fractions through some of the games! Although I had to sit and guide them through the first time they played those games, it gave me the perfect excuse to get closer to them while learning together AND getting to know their interests too. So full of win, if you ask me!
Another thing that I noticed for Ayd from his Progress Path pie chart was he had been heavily focused on educational games that were related to Math. And the thing about kids is that they tend to play the games they are genuinely interested in or feel that they are good at. So Samsung KidsTime gave me the opportunity to pinpoint certain areas like Science and Language where he had not shown a keen interest in and in the process, played through some of the games together and increasing his confidence in these subjects!
10. FREE to Download and Try
But perhaps, the most compelling reason for parents to try out Samsung KidsTime immediately is for the simple reason that it is FREE to download on your Samsung devices! And what is even better, you ask? The FIRST month is free to use so what this means is your child will have access to ALL of the Games and eBooks for free in the first month!
Even if you do not want to continue with the S$6.50 per month subscription after the first month, you will still have access to 5 free eBooks and 5 free Apps, as well as the parent reports and safety controls.
By the way, see the educational game that Ayd is playing in the photo above? Of all the games in the Samsung KidsTime inventory, this turned out to be the boy's current fave. The game app in question? Montessori 1st Operations.
Simply put, this is one awesome math app that focuses on the key concepts of basic math operations: addition and subtraction. The app also lays the foundation for multiplication and division by introducing key concepts such as how to differentiate between odd and even numbers, and how to determine the halves and doubles of a number. The games include recognizable Montessori characteristics - kid-friendly explanations of math definitions and concepts - and Montessori materials, such as red and blue number rods and counters.
But perhaps the most compelling part of the game is the inclusion of the funny and cute Montessori-monsters, who make their biggest appearance at the monster lab - a bonus game where kids can exchange their collected points with monster parts, which can then be assembled like a puzzle. Trust Ash and Ayd to keep solving arithmetic problems just so that they can finish assembling their monsters!
Even Ale wanted to piece together her own monster, with her practising addition and subtraction subconsciously by thinking aloud, “How many points do I need to buy this arm?” or “How many points will I have left if I buy this eye?”. A definite sure-winner game, in my eyes!
Ultimately with the sheer number of kids’ apps available in the market these days, it can get a tad overwhelming and challenging for parents like me to filter and identify safe and age-appropriate educational apps for the kids. And even then, we parents will want to ensure that time spent in swiping or tapping screens is truly beneficial for our kids, mentally stimulating them while keeping them occupied at the same time.
I have always believed that a child learns most effectively through play and while I remain a strong advocate for outdoor play, I also recognise that kids of today cannot afford to shun technology. Like it or not, smartphones and tablets are here to stay but as parents, we can show our kids the right way to embrace technology in an effective and responsible manner.
Obviously, Samsung KidsTime gives me 10 good reasons to enjoy a peace of mind while knowing that my monkies' sessions on an electronic device are safe. But most importantly, it has proven to be more than just a normal gaming app because the time spent on it is only only meaningful but well-spent.
But don't just take my word for it. Check out what other Parent Bloggers, Klessis and Edmund, have to say about KidsTime too!