By Kim Doleatto
Vroom is a free app designed for children ages 0-5. And although I’m tired of hearing how easy life can be made by this or that latest app, this one has actually found a permanent home on my screen. Trust me. Try it. It’s free.
Beyond kickstarting early learning, using the Vroom app increases parent-child interaction–a crucial factor in a child’s lifelong success. Plus, it reminds me that we’re surrounded by learning moments all the time, and that can be a lot of fun.
How it works: The app has activities organized by age, and tailored to what I’m doing at the time, so I don’t have to fetch glue scissors — or open my wallet. A “Daily Vroom” alert may include anything from tasting a few grains of salt, then a few of sugar and talking about the difference, to going on a scavenger hunt for all things in the room that are blue, for instance.
After naming my jeans as the last blue item in the room, I let my little one touch the “completed” button for a virtual award sticker. Stickers will get you everywhere, and we choose to earn another. Sometimes I hear “That’s boring, Mom.” No biggie, I just choose another “Vroom,” since each is designed with the same goal in mind: early brain development.
Over the past dozen years, scientists have found evidence that proves learning begins at birth and is most crucial in the first five years of life. The connections made in early childhood provide a lifetime baseline for future learning.
These findings are among the main drivers behind a nationwide initiative to get kids reading at grade level by 3rd grade–a milestone that often determines a child’s future outcomes at school and beyond.
The Campaign for Grade-Level Reading cites other important factors that correlate with early reading success, like income level, chronic absence, parent involvement, summer learning loss, access to health care, and more.
The Vroom app is designed to help, and pilot programs involving hundreds of families have yielded positive outcomes, with parents consistently claiming increased engagement with their little ones. It’s free, doesn’t require much space on a smartphone, and fits with busy parenting schedules.
At a glance
What: A free app designed for early stage learning from birth to age 5
How: Search in the app store and download
Space required: 11.7 MB–not much
Designed for: Busy parents and caregivers
Funded by: The Bezos Foundation
More information: joinvroom.org