My Favorite Apps
We limit screen time with our kids, but I definitely let them play with my iPad, especially if we are at a restaurant and are waiting for the check, creating a period of down-time before bed, or used as a special privilege for Parker when Vivian is napping and I need to work (never before bed - gotta limit that blue light that affects their sleep!).
However, I do think the learning has a more powerful effect if I am actively involved with Parker playing the games along the way, and asking him questions and helping him if he needs it. I have a separate folder that Parker can quickly access, and he enjoys bouncing back and forth between different games. There are even a few that Vivian likes, too!
The usage of tablets can be a bit controversial, but I think everyone should do their research and decide what is best for them and their family. Did you know...
"Smartphones and tablets have become so pervasive that, even in lower-income households, 90% of American children have used a touchscreen by the age of 2," (Source).
I also thought this article was a good read Toddlers and Tablets: The effects of touchscreen device usage on cognitive development in children.
"Technology shapes the brain through a phenomenon called neuroplasticity, which is the nervous system’s ability to change in response to experience. Considering that 75 percent of brain development occurs in the first six years of life, questioning the role of tablets in children’s lives is not so bizarre," (Source).
This article continues to discuss the positive and negative effects of tablet usage, and I personally think there is a sweet spot where you can introduce your kids to games on a limited basis. Ours only get the iPad maybe 1-3x a week, and no longer than a half hour or so. Plus, keeping them company during the process I think adds to the engagement.
If you ARE into apps, I wanted to share some of my favorites that I think have some educational value in case anyone is looking for new games to download:
1. Metamorphabet. A coworker of mine recommended this to me, and even though it costs $4.99, it is TOTALLY worth the money! The letters of the alphabet morph into words that the letter starts with. It's super creative, engaging, and I swear it helped Parker learn his alphabet and enforce his letters. If you buy no other apps, this is the one!
2. Smart Baby Shapes. This game has different levels, and you have to match shapes and colors. It is a great way for kids to identify shapes, sizes, and colors. The kids get really excited when awarded to go to another level! The "Lite" version is FREE!
3. Baby Musical. This was recommended to me by my sister who used to work with preschool age children, and its a really cute and fun way to create music in the jungle, the snow, or on a farm. Cost: FREE!
4. Balloon Pop. This is pretty straight-forward - they just have to pop the balloons with their fingers. You can change it to letters and numbers, as well as the size of the balloons. However, this is an easy game that has worked well for us in restaurants. Cost: FREE!
5. Dr. Seuss's ABC - Read & Learn. This app is definitely for older kids learning the difference between Big Letters and Little Letters. It can be a little challenging for Parker, but a little challenge is a good thing, and I don’t mind sitting with him to help!
Those are our favorites, what are some of yours? I love recommendations and discovering new apps, and if they are free, then even better!