The science has been in for a while: Playtime is super important to your child’s development. Not only does play develop great parent-child bonds, but it can also boost brainpower and size. But as important as play is, figuring out how to keep it fresh, exciting and new isn’t always easy, especially with babies and toddlers. (You can only jingle your car keys in front of a baby for so long, amirite?)
A new app called Knoala, developed by parents of young children, seeks to keep playtime fresh. Designed for parents of kids aged 0 to 5, the iPhone app is a giant repository of fun, quick activities to boost critical skills in developing minds.
When you first use Knoala, you’ll be asked to enter your kids’ birthdays to help the app choose age-appropriate activities. From there, Knoala can serve playtime ideas up at random, or you can use the included filter to choose something much more specific. When I searched for an artistic, indoor October activity that takes 10 minutes, for example, the app suggested making tissue ghosts and paper plate pumpkins. If spooky specters don’t float your kid’s boat, that’s OK – there are over 2,000 activities currently waiting to be discovered, with more added every day.
And indeed, that’s one of my favorite parts about Knoala – it’s not just an app, it’s a creative social network. Parents are encouraged to submit their own ideas for activities, which the Knoala staff then curates for inclusion in the app. If you want to get even more social, there’s a Twitter-like follow feature that lets you share photos of your kids’ completed activities and post comments about what worked and what didn’t.
Stuck in the grocery store checkout line? Knoala lets you turn that downtime into learning time with its video section. There, you’ll find age-appropriate YouTube clips from Sesame Street, the Muppets and more.
Need a new tall tale for bedtime, instead? Knoala also has a Story Starter section that provides you with an idea for a fun absurd story. Have you heard the one about the tiny prince who liked to take baths? How about the one about the mustachioed apple at a tea party? (I heard he found the affair to be quite a-peel-ing, ho ho ho.)