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New app lets parents require educational play before free play

A new app called Play This 2 Play

A new app called Play This 2 Play That lets parents require educational play before granting recreational apps. Credit: Handout

Tired of fighting with your child over how many hours should be devoted to Angry Birds or Candy Crush Saga? Here’s how to take the fight out of the situation, and benefit your child at the same time.

A new app called “Play This 2 Play That” allows parents to divide their smartphone apps into two categories: educational, and not-so-much. Then, parents can set a time ratio of educational-to-non-educational playtime.

For instance, parents can set the app so that the child must play 15 minutes of a math-skills app before being allowed 15 minutes on the app of his or her choice. The Play This app holds the child’s place in each game, so if he’s playing for longer than 30 minutes, Play This will start the cycle over again wherever the child left off.

The app was created by Luke and Sarah Dolce of Westchester, parents who experienced their own frustration with controlling app play of their three children, 11, 7 and 4. “They could play Angry Birds all day if we let them,” Sarah says. Says Luke: “We wanted the children to focus on education first.”

For instance, when daughter, Isabelle, 11, was tasked with memorizing her multiplication tables at school, Luke programmed the app so she had to use a game that drilled her on them before playing something she might have preferred. “It takes the onus off us to police the whole situation,” Sarah says.

Isabelle Dolce has given her parents’ creation the thumbs up. She plays Math Fun! Pro before switching to Jet Pack Joy Ride. “It’s kind of like an achievement,” Isabelle says. “You work so hard to get there, and then you get to do whatever you want for free play.“

The app currently works with Android devices, including Android-based tablets, but the couple is working on having it also complement iPhones. “It’s definitely in our crosshairs,” Sarah says. Cost? $2.99.

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