I do know a few families who are absolutely set against their children playing on tablets but for me, I’m afraid, I can’t be one of them. It’s all terribly worthy and just as lovely as the families who don’t have televisions because they don’t believe in spending time watching the box when they could be outside and I get it, I do, but… Just like I’m never going to knit my own yogurt pot, I’m also never going to be that Mama!
It’s not that we don’t do things outside, blimey! I think we do too many things sometimes. I like to be busy and have activities planned.for all the time so we rarely spend a day where we don’t actually go out and DO something but… When we ARE having down time then I think why not? And I have found the children having their own iPads has been an absolute saviour at times. I do think they’re little to have such an expensive item of their own but after months of sticky fingers on my own iPad and never being able to use it myself I decided it would be money well spent. And it has been!
If we go on a long car journey the iPads come into their own. If we want to stay in bed past 5am the iPads come into their own. If we want to watch two different things on Netflix and can’t agree (them not me, I never get to watch what I want) then the iPads (AND their headphones – look how stereotypical we are with our colours, their choice not mine) come into their own!
And then of course it all comes down to the apps when they’re on them. Both of mine are very easy with their iPads, they knew how to use them almost instinctively (it’s their generation) and they are SO aware of apps, getting new ones, in app purchase… (We have a password for purchases of course). Florence is a bit older now and has slightly more sophisitcated tastes compared to Jimmy but they both do like lots of the same things too. She’s moved on from the likes of Minion Rush (which seemed pretty sophisticated to me anyway) and now informs me that it’s ALL about Crossy Road these days… Who knows?!?! She also lkes to watch a LOT of Netflix on her iPad and has raced ahead on the series we were watching together, Full House, =now happily giving me spoilers! Huh! But as well as having fun and enjoying her iPad she does use it for educational purposes too and regularly looks up the answer to questions she has about dinosaurs, butterflies, our country… Whatever topic she needs to find out about for her homework essentially. And I LOVE that! She has this news at her finger tips and for all the bashing the internet gets, for all its downfalls and worries, it’s flipping brilliant!
And Jimmy is super tuned in too. He knows that he can find whatever he wants by typing and although he is only just 4 he can spell lots of little words with the help of using his iPad. We have used learning to read apps and also when he wants to find something we do it together. He knows how to command his Netflix icon and barely needs any help at all but I am very careful to check that what he is looking at and using is the right thing for him. I don’t think he would stray into something unsuitable but I like to know the things he plays on are right for him. He would get terribly frustrated playing one of Florence’s games because he’s just not at that level yet however he doesn’t want to be babied either. One app he really likes is the Kidloland which is a yearly subscription giving access to nursery rhymes, songs, activities and games aimed at the under 5’s.
Jimmy’s not really a massive fan of nursery rhymes (he would never sit in a circle in play groups to sing) yet he does seem to like this app rather a lot and plays on it often. It’s an educational app which is also lots of fun and for his age this is just about right. The app looks at phonics and simple mathematical problems such as shape sorting and counting while the songs are lovely. I think this makes Jimmy feel quite sophisticated and as if he is playing with something for the big kids when it really is aimed at him. I would say however that I can’t imagine many children under 3 could cope with lots of the games and puzzles. This wuldn’t put me off purchasing it for them as the songs are really good but different activities do have different levels I would say.
They call it the perfect Pre-School companion and yes, I think I agree. It has vibrancy in both its colours and the play and there’s enough on it (which is added to periodically) to not ever really have a chance of getting bored. It costs £27.99 for a yearly subscription which is good value especially when you consider the in app purchases you might make with other apps. I appreciate that with other apps once you have made the purchase that’s it and this only lasts for one year but really, as I have seen with both of my children, they move on from some apps whcih you may have made massive purchases in (goodness knows how many Minions we bought for Minion Rush) so it probably all works out similarly anyway.