Wednesday, November 21st, 2012
Toddlers are just as drawn to electronics as we are. They want our smartphones and our tablets, but not all electronics and the apps we have on them are created equal. If you’re thinking about taking the leap into the digital world, ensure that what you’re getting is age-appropriate and serves as a way to increase your child’s developing understanding of math and reading through engaging activities. Here are three items that are hot commodities for toddlers this holiday season.
LeapPad2 ($99)— LeapFrog’s LeapPad2 is a sought after item thanks to price, educational content, and durability. Only $99 buys you an easy-to-use tablet that features a wealth of educational content that grows with your child. From eBooks, downloadable apps, and cartridge games for all subjects, kids enjoy learning as they play. LeapPad 2 is a highly durable tablet that fits nicely in little hands. It features a front- and rear-facing camera that is easy to operate, a video camera, and stylus (although tapping works just as well). Parents receive the benefit of being able to track their child’s learning through the LeapFrog Learning Path.
Kinect Sesame Street TV ($29.99)— Xbox with Kinect gets kids up and moving without the burden of having to hold a controller. This hands-free system makes it easy for kids to jump, move, and engage with the game on the screen without having to worry about dropping the controller. New titles for the Xbox are well suited for toddlers, and Microsoft has created partnerships between trusted names in education for immersive content that kids love. Kinect Sesame Street TV allows toddlers to learn alongside Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Grover, and Elmo. Children become immersed in the game thanks to the Kinect’s camera that puts their image on the screen as they learn through play. They can see themselves on the screen as the Count is counting, clap to learn letters with Prarie Dawn, and engage in additional experiences that mirror what they see on Sesame Street.
VINCI Tablet ($169.99-179.99)— Toddlers clamoring for your smartphone and tablet finally have a device of their own featuring educational content that will support their learning as they grow while also serving as a fully functional Android tablet with a camera, built-in WiFi, and a rubberized case designed to protect the screen. A parental screen makes the VINCI function like any other Android tablet. It also ensures that there is a wealth of content available for your growing child even after they grow out of VINCI. VINCI Tablets come in 2 sizes—a 7” size and a smaller 5” size. The 5” size is perfect for little hands due to its portability and the fact that the rubber bumper around it protects the screen more completely than the 7” size.
Little three year old boy playing with his media player via Shutterstock
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Thursday, April 5th, 2012
Toddlers are like little sponges that are constantly absorbing information. Since they’re naturally drawn to technology because they see you using it, why not allow them to play some great interactive games with a learning component to reinforce important math and reading skills along with healthy habits while also nurturing their caring side.
All Aboard the Dinosaur Train! ($1.99, iPad)— Whether playing alone or with a sibling, parent, or friend, All Aboard teaches beginning math concepts such as estimation, capacity, and matching in a game that starts off easy but becomes more challenging as players use critical thinking skills to figure out which dinosaur will properly fit in each car. Young fans of the show will love playing with their favorite dinosaur characters in a game where visuals match up with the show. Parents will appreciate that there’s nothing tricky about navigating this game on the iPad and the fact that additional concepts like cooperation, sharing, and turn taking are also being taught by sharing the iPad in a 2 player game. All Aboard is best for ages 3+.
D.W.’s Unicorn Adventure ($1.99, iPhone/iPod Touch)— Reinforce healthy eating habits with Arthur’s little sister, D.W. through this fun app for iPhone and iPod Touch where players fuel the adventure through the magical Forest, Castle, and Cloud worlds by feeding their unicorn healthy snacks in a rainbow of colors. Children ages 4+ will enjoy searching for healthy fruits and vegetables to energize their unicorn over junky snacks such as sodas, chips, cookies, doughnuts, French fries, and candy. A fun game that starts out easy and works to reinforce healthy habits through interactive play.
Super Why Alpha Boost ($1.99, iPhone/iPod Touch)— Practice letters and other beginning reading skills by being Wonder Red, Alpha Pig, Super Why, or Princess Presto as they search the sky for “super letters” and interact with content that reinforces letter recognition and letter sounds. Kids will love the storybook adventure format that mimics the beloved show.
iMommy ($1.99, iPhone/iPad)— Young children who love to care for their dolls and stuffed animals will enjoy having their own virtual baby to take care of through the iMommy app. Start by customizing a baby by choosing its gender, outfit, hair, eye color, and from a select number of ethnicities before selecting from six different areas where the baby can play, eat, sleep, or even take a bath. Dragging and dropping items is a way to interact with the baby in the various playrooms or bathtub and when the baby is tired, children can take their baby to the bedroom where the crib is located and tap the icon to rock it to sleep. Another nice feature of an automated message that will appear after a certain length of time suggesting a break from game play.
Little girl checking phone via Shutterstock
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