My first computer was an Apple 2GS. Remember those? After that, I had a string of PCs before my husband (then boyfriend) bought a MacBook six years ago. I drooled as he easily surfed the Internet and created documents all in style. I, on the other hand, have been toting around a beastly PC paperweight for the sole reason that Apple did not support Hierarchical Linear Modeling software on their system. That was then. Nowadays, I drive a shiny, quick, MacBook Pro.
Almost a year and a half ago, the first iPad came into our house…
It was love at first screen swipe.
Although we certainly limit our screen time, we see the iPad as a way for us to engage together as a family. Buddy is an expert already at 2 1/2 and I cringe when I see him unlock the device, click on youTube and scroll to a Thomas video. If he can do this now, what will he be able to do at 5? Even Little Guy gets in on the fun, touching animations and ‘talking’ to the screen. In honor of family-friendly screen time, I’ve highlighted four apps which lend themselves to quality family time with the preschool set:
1. Puppet Pals (iTunes, free)
Energize your family with some hands-on role playing. This app allows you to be a puppet master – you can even insert a puppet of yourself into the action! Retell your favorite bedtime stories, practice your reading fluency, or act out a piece of your own writing. Warning: anticipate lots of giggling.
2. The Wheels on the Bus (iTunes, $1.99)
The hands-down favorite app in this house, at any given time you are likely to hear the hum of Duck Duck Goose‘s Wheels on the Bus app in the background. With interactive animations that support vocabulary growth, more than a dozen language choices for sing-along options, and even a record yourselfoption (if I everneed blackmail, King Phekus’ recorded version is adorable, yet *slightly* humorous.)
3. Build a Train Lite (iTunes, free)
Got a young train lover in your house? Allow him to build trains, manipulate signals and tracks, and determine the speed of the train will travel. Easy to manipulate and a reasonable selection of train cars and layouts which will lead to hours of family conversation about transportation, cause and effect, and physics.
4. uTales (iTunes, free)
uTales houses a variety of animated picture books for you and your family to enjoy. Though this app, users also have the opportunity to write andillustrate their own books, have them peer reviewed, and then publish them (with the opportunity to earn income based on the proceeds). After reading many of the books on this site, I have to say that I am impressed with the variety and quality so far!