9 Developer Tips On Creating Educational Apps For Kids

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There was a time when a book and a teacher were the only sources for knowledge and learning. When a child wanted to learn, books were the primary aid in their educational endeavors. Time has introduced new technologies to aid children in learning things faster and easier than ever before, the best of which is the educational mobile app.

There are a wide variety of educational apps available to kids nowadays. Educational mobile games are a great way to teach kids colors, shapes, numbers, and even phonics games that can teach kids to pronounce words correctly. Several educational apps also include puzzles that help to develop a child’s imagination and logical reasoning, and some games have quizzes that assist in boosting general knowledge skills.

Educational apps have a lot to offer kids, and the best part is they are fairly simple to develop. Want to know how? Below are 9 developer tips for creating educational mobile games or apps for children.

1. Create Games Targeted to Specific Age Groups

When developing a mobile game for kids, the first thing to consider is the age group of the children you are targeting. Whether it is a game for teaching the alphabet to kids aged 4 to 5, or a primary math game for ages 7 to 8, you need to build the difficulty level appropriately. Considering the age of the child is important when it comes to inventing games for learning concepts like animals, fruit and vegetables, and colors. The type of game you would create for toddlers in preschool would be very different than the type of game you would create for kids between the ages of 8 to 10. Keep in mind that every child is not born a genius, and you should make the game appropriate for each age group.

2. The Interface Should Be Well-Defined and Large

The icons should be big and easy to decipher, especially for younger age groups. It is best if the icon fits the entire screen or it will not hold a child’s attention for long. Mobile games for children should also be easy to navigate. If a child is not able to advance in the game, they may randomly touch the screen until they see movement, and if they feel the game is not responding to their input, they will give up. This will result in parents dismissing the game, as they feel it is not engaging enough for their child.

Ensure the interface is clean without any social media links or advertisements. Curious kids will tap on the links, and it will take them out of the game and on to a social media site that is not suitable for their age.

3. Easy and Simple Controls

When it comes to educational games for kids, make sure the in-game commands are simple tapping or swiping gestures, instead of complicated multi-touch gestures. Tapping is a gesture that young kids adapt to easily, and for older kids, commands like drag and drop, or pinching are more appropriate. Avoid using overly challenging techniques that require the use of fast reflexes, as these games are not intended to test a child’s speed, but rather to educate. For the games that require hand-eye coordination, make sure that the difficulty level matches with the intended age group.

4. Big and Bold Audio and Visual 

Games with bold audio and visual cues are meant for small children who react to sounds and bright colors on the screen. Younger kids should be able to instantly recognize if their move is correct or incorrect. If special effects such as popping sounds are present when they tap the screen, it will provide them with meaningful feedback and hold their attention for a longer period of time. The game’s special effects should be used in moderation, as they could become a distraction from the educational purpose of the game. Also remember that in games for younger children, you can use audio and visual cues as a reward or incentive to players who have made the correct move in the game. Younger kids will be happy with small rewards like a beep or a smiley, but you may need to be more creative when rewarding older players in your game.

5. The Games Should Educate

Educational games should be developed in a way that allows young players to progress from the first level to the last in a short amount of time, with the child being able to master each concept before progressing to the next stage.  It is also helpful to include a short break between each level or task, and this time can be used to give feedback that explains what the player got correct or incorrect. Providing feedback in this way will serve as an incentive for them to do better and learn more in the next level.

6. Ensure Your Facts Are Correct

Make sure all of the information you include in the game is correct, especially in in the development of quiz games. Double check your answers from reliable sources, such as educational websites or informative books – there should not be even the smallest of mistakes. Whether your game is about numbers, letters or shapes, it is vital to do thorough research. Make sure that everything is 100% correct from the beginning all the way to “Game Over.”

7. Avoid Using Well-Known Cartoon Characters

Developers have to be extremely cautious if they decide to use a popular cartoon character in their educational game. Almost every kid is familiar with popular cartoon characters, and the games that incorporate them will indeed attract players. However, this may become hazardous for the developer if the game becomes a big hit, as these established brands will not like you making money off their property without permission. You could end up being forced to remove your game, and you may even face copyright infringement suits as well. If you want to avoid these troubles, try to create an original set of characters to which you have the exclusive rights to use.

8. Let the Kids Be in Control

Children learn better when they are engaged and feel like they’re in control. Educational games should be created in a way that allows children to have space to explore and create on their own. The kids should be able to learn at their own pace, and should never experience a zombie-like state of mind. These brain food apps will allow the brain to function efficiently.

9. Creativity and Socialization

Entertainment and education should be the key components when it comes to creating games for kindergartners and preschoolers. When developing educational mobile games, go beyond the normal arcade-style games to allow the kids to express themselves and unleash their inner creativity. Activities that teach kids to care for the environment or pets can also teach them about responsibility.

Finally, educational games are usually full of fun, but don’t make them addicting. Create a balance between learning and enjoyment to keep the kids engaged and educated.

Creating educational games for young children is a great way to make use of amazing technology, and if you follow our guide, you’ll create an app that children and parents will love! Want more great tips and tricks? Check out our other helpful articles at Blog.Forest-Interactive.com.

Would you like to share some words of advice with your fellow developers? The comments section is waiting for you!

Posted 4 September, 2017


Software Developer

Lucy is the Development & Programming Correspondent for Freelancer.com. She is currently based in Sydney.

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