Modern Mom blogger, Andrea Benton, posted an article titled Why Parents Should Pay More for Educational Apps. While it’s probably not the best lead in title for someone like me (read: frugal), it still piqued my interest so I read on. In her post, Ms. Benton cites three main points:
1) Apps cost money to make.
2) Think of apps as a long-term investment.
3) The “One and done” mentality meaning, once our kids have played them they move onto something else
Here’s what I would add in support of Ms. Benton’s position as you consider how much an iPad app for kids is worth:
4) The old saying, “You get what you pay for”, definitely holds true in the case of apps. The difference between a $1.99 app and a free one is often noticeable. And typically the difference between a $9.99 app and a $1.99 app is even greater.
5) Install the AppShopper for Apple products. It costs $.99, which you will easily earn back with your first discounted app purchase, and sometimes it’s free! You can search for apps that are currently on sale and/or add apps to your wish list and receive notification when they go on sale. You can also view the price history and deduce whether it will go on sale for a lower price. The App Shopper has a 4.5 star rating with 185 reviews.
6) Look for app discounts and freebies at…wait for it…Starbucks. Yep. Starbucks has free iTunes downloads for music and apps, which they change out every few weeks or so. Look for the business card sized handouts on the sugar/milk/straw counter. We check our local Starbucks weekly and fortunately one week the free app was the iPad version of the Monster at the End of This Book, which normally costs $3.99. This is smart marketing for the app developer because if your child likes this app, it is a perfect lead into the next app, Another Monster at the End of This Book, which costs a dollar more at $4.99.
7) Install the lite version of an app first. Many apps (smart marketing) will give you a lite version for free so your kid can try them out, and if they get hooked (and you see value in the app) then you can purchase it. If not, you haven’t spent any money on the test drive. Some apps also allow you to purchase levels, one at a time, which is another great option and you could use that as a carrot for your child or as a reward.
Our son’s favorite iPad app currently is Motion Math: Hungry Fish. It’s free for the first level (Wave Reef Addition). You can set the difficulty level, which is great because as your kid learns and master his/her addition facts, you can up the ante. This app allows you to add the next levels (different math functions such as subtraction) for $.99 at a time or buy the entire package for $6.99.