With schools closed down, parents around the country are already wondering how they’re going to keep their children busy during the necessary break. The list below should help to keep them entertained and learning and (hopefully) out from under their parents’ feet.
• Read it to me - Improve their reading skills with Bolo, a free app that works offline (no data or wifi needed once it's downloaded, hurrah). Targeted at primary grade children, Bolo is available in English and uses Google’s speech recognition and text-to-speech technology, to serve as a personalised reading tutor for kids. It encourages them to read out loud and then provides individual, customised feedback to help improve their reading capabilities.
• Ask me anything - The Google Assistant is a very useful tool, and it likes to have fun as much as the next virtual assistant does. Just ask it to tell you a joke (it’s the uncontested champion of bad dad jokes) or play a game - even kids who can’t read can talk, and get hours of fun and giggles. You can see a list of ideas here.
• Explore the world - YouTube Kids was created to help kids safely and simply explore the online video world through YouTube. It includes curated selections of content, parental control features, filtering of videos deemed inappropriate and all of your kids’ favourites.
• Play games - Google Play has a collection of games that are suited to the whole family - from colouring into educational games, there’s something for everyone. It makes recommendations based on your recent activity, so as you use it more often it’ll give you more tailored suggestions for new games you might enjoy.
• Translate me - Google Translate can help your kids learn a new language if they’re so inclined. It can translate from or to Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo, French, German, Spanish, Russian, Arabic and a host of languages from other parts of the world. To get something translated, you can speak, write, type a phrase, or aim your camera at any written text to get an instant translation.
• Show me wonders - Google Arts & Culture (also available as an app) puts the treasures, stories and knowledge of over 2,000 cultural institutions from 80 countries at your fingertips. Immerse yourself into the world of culture through modern technologies such as Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Street View and AI and explore Van Gogh’s bedroom paintings, Sports in Australia, Puerto Rico’s heritage, the women's rights movement, ancient Maya temples, Spanish Food, Indian Railways and much more.