2. Before you start...
• This best practices guide will help you to create
an app according how children use mobile
devices and to optimize their learning through
the user experience.
• Check the Common Core Standards webpage to
know which are the competencies that children
can learn with your app and ask an educator the
best way to teach it, his/her feedback it’s really
important to improve your app.
3. Creating UI
• An app for children is not like an app for adults, just
keep it as simple as possible, without elements that
can disturb their learning. On the other hand, children
normally use the device in landscape view, try to
design your app according to it.
• The main menu should be visual, easy to use and
categorized. If the app has more than one game, they
should be together. Buttons should be visual distinct,
so children have to know they are interactive.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Before you begin to code or to design
your app, create the mockups of the interfaces.
4. • Explicit gameplay goal is
necessary for children
so they can understand
at the beginning what
they should do in an
• Normally children hold
the device with both
hands, so be careful with
the corners because
children can press
5. Colors & Animations
Vividly colors and
animated elements will
help to attract children
attention, but also can
distract them if they
need to focus on an
• Touch: The most simple gesture for children.
• Drag: Drag an object to another position.
• Slide: Similar to the last one but used to scroll or
turn a page.
There are a lot of gestures to interact with an app but here
you will find the most simple and intuitive for children:
To show that an element is interactive it can be highlighted or it
can shake, so children know there is something to do with that.
• On the other hand,
highlighting word by
word meanwhile the
voice is reading the
story will help
children to identify
• Be careful with the typo you choose for your app, normally I
suggest Sassoon Primary but other good options are Gill
Sans Infant or Plantin Infant.
• Before starting to
play, a tutorial will
be a good way to
show children how
the game works.
• This tutorial can be
a video, an
animation or an easy
• When children begin to
play, they need visual and
audio instructions to
understand what they
have to do.
• It’s important to keep it
simple and clear and
repeat the instructions if
they make a mistake or
don’t answer in 5-7
• Background music: It can create engagement
and encourage children to play but you should
choose the music carefully so it should not
• Sound effects: It will help to give feedback or a
way to interact with objects.
• Voices: Voices can be used to guide children
through the game, tell a story or give them
• Positive Feedback: Congratulate the child, this will keep
him motivated, also you can use it to reinforce learning
like: “Well played! This is the blue color!”
• Negative Feedback: If the child makes a mistake, give
him a feedback to encourage him to keep trying without
saying that his answer was wrong or he doesn’t know
the answer: “You were close! Try again!”. Also you can
give him a clue to help him.
It’s important for learning that children have a feedback when
they make a mistake or pass the game.
• First of all, you have to keep in mind that not all children
learn at the same speed, so it’s important to have
different levels on each game.
• The best way to manage this is adapting the level to the
skills of each child so they can learn at their own pace.
13. Parent Dashboard
• Keep parents informed
about why your app is
good for their children.
• You can show them
their children progress
or what values have your
app for them.
• Be sure to include a
parental gate to access.
• Use analytical tools to know
the behavior of children and
how to optimize your app
like Google Analytics,
Mixpanel, Game Analytics
Measure, modify and optimize!
• A Learning Analytics
platform like EnderMetrics
will help you also to
improve the learning.