Shortly after Harry’s first birthday, we started letting him play with Aaron’s iPhone from time to time. We downloaded a few Fisher Price apps, and it was a great distraction in the car or in the morning when we wanted to lounge in bed for a bit. He loved to push the buttons and touch the screen, and we slowly began to add apps to our library.
A few general thoughts on toddlers & iDevices …
• Make SURE that you want to introduce your toddler to a mobile device, because once you do it’s hard to undo it. Harry is a little master at using any of our Apple products and asks for them by the name of his favorite app (Peekaboo Barn, or as he says, “Pee boo bee? PEE BOO BEE?”).
• We bought Harry his own (used) iPod touch, because it wasn’t worth the risk of him breaking one of our phones OR him calling Aaron’s boss OR tweeting from the church’s Twitter account (that I have access to). I found one on Craigslist.
• We definitely treat the iPod and iPad as screen time, and monitor accordingly. The only times he’s had unlimited access is when flying and in airports.
• He only gets the iPod in the car when we want him to stay awake (like when we’re on our way back to our house before naptime), or on a longer drive. (Like when we went up North earlier this month.)
Here are a few of our most loved and used apps …
Peekaboo Barn by Night & Day Studios
We love ALL of the Peekaboo apps from Night & Day Studios, but the original is at the top of the list.
The barn shakes, and the child taps the screen to open the doors. Every time the door opens they see an animal, hear the noise it makes, and then a voice reads the name of the animal as the written word comes up. You can set the voice to be a child or adult in English, or Spanish. You can also record your own voice in any language. We usually have it set to the child’s voice, but I put it on Spanish from time to time.
Peekaboo Fridge by Night & Day Studios
This is one of their newest games. It’s the same concept, but with food. Harry loves the end of the game when the fridge opens and all the food is “sleeping.” “Sssssssh,” he says by touching his nose.
Another reason I love Night & Day is they make it more difficult for little fingers to find their way to the app store. I wish ALL kids’ app makers would add steps like this to their apps.
Bug Games by Busy Bee Preschool
This app has way more too it than we use, like phonics, puzzles, and a counting game with a spider and web. The only feature Harry uses is the music one, which is crickets singing classic nursery rhymes like “London Bridge” and “Old McDonald.”
I am not as big of a fan of this app, because let’s face it, crickets “singing” are not the most pleasing sound. But Harry loves it and loves to bounce among all the songs.
Fish School by Duck Duck Moose
Duck Duck Moose is another great app maker for little ones. We have a few of them, and Harry is just getting into more of what this particular one has to do. Fish school teaches letters, numbers, shapes, and colors using schools of (what else) fish.
Harry loves to swipe the fish away and pop bubbles. There is also a screen that is just for play where kids can just make the fish swim around and go faster and slower.
Trucks by Duck Duck Moose
My trucks-obsessed toddler loves this app! There are five different truck or car scenarios: a car wash, a garbage truck, a tow truck, traffic, and a construction site.
The user touches the different trucks to make them do different things. It’s fun.
Oh, the siren song of Signing Time. We don’t have any of the DVDs, so this app is his only access to the music videos. He loves “Going Outside” and “Leah’s Farm.”
The app also a few dozen signs with coordinating flash cards and videos demonstrating the sign.
(There is also a second app that is more of an adult resource with a very long list of signs. I reference it often.)