Hey there guys, I am Ali from the Little Miss Poof blog. I am so excited to be here on Life is Poppin’ today. Missi was kind enough to let me drop by for a day and guest blog for her. Now to be honest, I am a brand spankin’ new blogger – I have about a month under my belt here. I am working so hard to get Little Miss Poof a great start. A very very quick snippet about me – I am a wife, mommy of two (Jackson 2 & Lydia 9 months), a former third grade teacher turned stay at home mom and a new mommy blogger. I am loving the blogging journey so far and I can not wait to see where it takes me.
Now for our topic… I don’t know what your take is on toddlers using an iPad or a tablet, but I have met some people that are very against it and some people that are all for it. I feel like I stand smack dab in the middle. I do not shelter him from technology because I think that it will ruin his brain and imagination, but I also do not let him carry an iPad around the house so I can have peace and quiet.
As a former third grade teacher in the public school system, I welcomed and even begged for technology in our classroom. I worked in a school district that offered many resources to their teachers – I had computers in my classroom for the students to use, as well as, iPads in my room everyday for the students to use. We also had access to Smart Boards and laptop carts. Education is fueled by technology these days, and it would do our children such harm to shelter them from it. They would enter in to school with no knowledge base of how to use it, and it would cause them to be somewhat behind.
However, on the flip side, I feel like technology could do so much harm if used incorrectly. Children need to be able to explore, imagine, create and discover. While technology does allow those to occur, it does so in a very limited way. All of those things need to also take place outside of technology as well. As a former teacher of about 27 students (on average) per year, it is scary to see how little children actually play outside. Many of them go home to their rooms where they have a TV and a gaming system, or their own tablet or phone. They are there until bedtime. It is just not something my generation grew up with. I know we have to adapt, but I feel like it needs to be done in moderation. Children are loosing the art of communication and social skills because of the amount of screen time they have.
So really I am torn. I do let Jackson use the iPad and he absolutely loves it. He is a whiz at getting around the thing at two years old. It is quite impressive. His time is limited on it, but he does use it a few times a day. What I have found is that he is learning so much from some of the apps we have. A little before he turned two years old he knew the name of and could point out a triangle, rectangle, square, circle, diamond, hexagon, oval and star. All from an app. We are in grocery stores or driving in the car and he would point out a shape. It is incredible.
If you choose good apps, set ground rules and use the technology wisely I really feel like our children could benefit. I haven’t done research on the topic, and I am no expert. So if you don’t agree that is quite all right. I may not have the best approach according to research, but my take is that, in moderation, technology can be a really great learning tool for young children.
Now for the exciting stuff… I want to share our 5 favorite apps with you!
This is a free app and it has absolutely NO ads on it. I love that. There are three bible stories already downloaded for you, and all the other stories in the app are free for download. It reads a kid friendly version of the bible story and has interactive pictures for the kids. Jackson loves to play on the pictures, and as he is doing so, a bible story is being read to him. Perfect!
This app is free as well and has NO ads. It has flashcards, fun quizzes, little games and sticker awards. The Shapes App is where Jackson learned all of his shapes just by playing around on the app. The company offers more learning apps, but we haven’t checked them all out yet.
This is a free app! Now that Jackson is getting a bit older, we have started working on writing/tracing our letters and numbers. Also, letter recognition. This is my favorite letter-tracing app, and I have tried a few. This app is great because your child can trace the letter or number with their finger and it gives them little shapes/pictures to follow. When their finger goes the right way the shapes/picture is eaten… kind of like in Pac-Man. Give it a try!
4. Funbrain Jr.
Now this app is still a little above Jackson’s head. It is free and has no ads, which is the best. It has fun learning games, like finishing patterns, number and letter mazes, and recognizing larger and smaller numbers. At one point I thought the shape game was too hard for him, but he caught on. These concepts are difficult for his age, but we won’t turn down a challenge. I sit with him and work with him on this one. I love doing something he loves with him.
This app is really simple. There isn’t much learning to it. It’s a good way for your child to gain familiarity with an iPhone or iPad. But Jackson still loves it and his favorite is to record his own giggle or voice to the little fuzzy monsters on the app. There is a musical piano on one section and he really likes that.
There is a way for you to set guided access on your iPad or iPhone so that your toddler can only stay on the app you select. I found the best explanation for how to do it HERE. Jackson is old enough now to navigate on his own, but before he begins I set the timer on the clock app for 10 minutes. Then he can get playing. Once the timer goes off he is done for a while.
Thanks for letting me share with you!