I was going to be one of those parents that didn’t let her kids watch TV. I wasn’t raised with very much of it, but I definitely enjoy it as a guilty pleasure from time to time and I imagine those two things are going to be related. My daughter still doesn’t get very much of it, though movies like Finding Nemo and shows like Dora seem to be finding their way in. And since we often watch together, I don’t even mind that much.
I was pretty much of the same mind about phones and all that -screens are screens right? But those iphone screens are a funny thing. They really aren’t kidding when they call these kids digital natives. And part of me thinks that if there is something to interact with at some level, does that mean that it’s bad? I don’t know yet, but I do know that my daughter – who is three – is faster on my phone than I will ever be and she doesn’t even get all that much screen time.
Recently a few companies reached out to see if we’d give their apps a whirl so I’ve compiled a few ideas here based off of that, along with a few other favorites:
1. Endless Reader: This is pretty much a dream app…spelling, reading, trouble making monsters? It’s all here. Also lots of variety to boot. Endless alphabet and endless reader are pretty much the best combination of engaging and educational out there.
2. Pandora/Adventures of Pan/Hullabalu: Personally, I’m a bit on the fence about this one, but my daughter adores it. Visually, the animations are pretty cool. It’s a story that you follow along with but has interactive features that extend the story and make it more entertaining. I’m not crazy about the voices and diction (which you will hear repeatedly if your toddler likes an app) and wish they had an option to change the language of the story. But diplo-tot is a fan of all things panda and all things app, so a panda in an app is a guaranteed winner in her eyes.
3. Moose Math: This is also a golden standard. We started out with the free version and are just about to upgrade as she’s catching on more. Basically, the app uses counting and very basic math to add up to various smoothie recipes. Diplo-tot was a huge fan of some of the Duck Duck Moose music apps earlier on, and we’ve loved nearly anything we tried from them. This was a natural next step and just as popular with her, though it took her awhile to get the whole blender concept.
4. Caribu: Candidly, I’m still figuring this one out, since it also requires the coordination of someone else on the other end, but I’m loving the idea so far and it’s just a question of getting the grandparents to really get through the installation phase (other parents, you likely know what I mean). But the app combines storybooks – it comes with one but you can purchase others – and video calls to allow you to “read” books together when someone else is far away – a parent, a grand parent or anyone else. Basically it’s a dream for military, Foreign Service or otherwise separated parents to still get that evening storytime in (and here too, other parents, if you’ve ever had to miss that for whatever reason, you also know what I mean). For us especially, with living far from family, and two parents who travel I think this one will be start to come into rotation more.
While I do try to keep a lid on “screen time”, I also try to be realistic about it. So what else is out there in terms of good apps to try?