It’s not that I have anything against screen time. Far from it! It’s just that when you’ve seen a band of superheroes save a city for the 47th time or you end up watching the same characters, in their same house, doing more or less the same activities, you tend to wish there was more of a there there. If we, as parents, have access to compelling and diverse TV series and podcasts, why can’t our kids have the same?
Well, maybe they can.
For the third day in a row now, my 4-year-old has come home from school, burst through the front door and announced, “Can we watch Pirates today?” But instead of a mindless show about stealing treasure, he gets to follow a crew of art lovers in search of colorful works around the world that have been banned by Queen Conformia. The unexpected result? My child is suddenly familiar with—and excited about—trompe l’oeil and Cubism. (I know, right?)
Pirates: Adventures in Art is just one of the offerings on the Encantos app, a kids’ educational app that uses entertaining stories to teach. It side-steps the same old formulas in favor of stories from creators of all different backgrounds. Presented as videos, e-books, songs, games and audio experiences, the content topics span from more basic learning (math, shapes, language) to life lessons (self-esteem, communication) for kids under eight.
My kid was more drawn to the longer 12- and 22-minute video series (shout-out, Monster Math Squad), but shorter options and games are available for littler ones or those with less patience. Parents looking to introduce their kids to new cultures are able to do via craft videos from around the world—Guatemalan worry dolls? so cool—and a Tiny Traveler book series that encourages globe trotting and fact finding. There are also mindfulness-focused storycasts for kids who love to listen and would benefit from learning a few fun chill-out techniques, including breathwork.
Overall, the app offers an array of thoughtful programs featuring characters and perspectives that rarely get much play. Odds are, one or two of the Storyworlds will captivate your little ones (especially those in their preschool or pre-K years) and add some fun learning opportunities outside the classroom. But there’s really only one way to find out.
Learn more about Encantos here. Tinybeans users can get 3 months of Encantos free with the purchase of an annual subscription with the promo code TINY15 at Encantosworld.com. Offer only available online, not through App Store.