Jude turned one last month, and we’re ready to start Take 2! Stella and I spent a few minutes last Saturday introducing Jude to some of her favorite baby apps. We started with Color Dots by Ellie’s Games, which is an easy game to show cause and effect while practicing finger dexterity.
This post is not geared toward an app review; it’s a no-brainer for a baby’s first iPad app. I was more interested in whether or not Jude would approach the iPad differently than Stella did at his age. He didn’t paw as much with his hand, but he did use both hands more frequently. Jude may have taken a little more time to process each time the dots multiplied, but he picked it up pretty quickly. The dots were actually set to a bigger size this time, but ultimately the experiences were similar.
I did, however, notice a difference in their environments. Jude had more distracting elements mixed into his space (including a big sister). When I reviewed apps with Stella, I made a point to clear away toys–and food!–to help her focus on the new task. Our session ended with Jude playing with the case/stand, which he promptly abandoned when he spotted some unattended Cheerios (see video).
It’s been almost 3 years since I first introduced Stella to the iPad. She will be 4 years old this month! We continue to have successes with many other early learning apps since I’ve last posted to this blog. Her current favorites include LetterSchool, and PBS Kids.
Yesterday morning I discovered something that I felt brought closure to this experience and deserved a final post. Ready for this?
Stella knows her ABCs.
No, not just the song. She KNOWS her ABCs. This revelation came as a huge surprise to me. At breakfast she pointed to my Corn POPS cereal box and told me what the letters were without being asked. I was under the impression that this skill emerged much later (not under the age of 2). Here’s an excerpt from Judith Hudson (developmental psychologist):
“Most children begin recognizing some letters between the ages of 2 and 3 and can identify most letters between 4 and 5. This means that you can start teaching your child the alphabet when he’s around 2 — but don’t expect full mastery for some time.”
So I pulled out the iPad and started quizzing her. I went through every letter like this (below)—in order and randomly. The only letters she has missed were “N, V (thinks it’s Y), and Z.” No doubt a lot of this progress is from the Word Wagon app that we started playing a few weeks ago. This is not a “Look how smart my child is!” post, but rather a fitting end to an undeniable truth: The iPad is an effective learning tool for babies and toddlers. Digital pacifier it is not.
The app in the video is Alphabet Zoo (free).
It has been ONE YEAR since I started this blog! I set out to document my daughter’s interactions with the iPad 2 from ages 12-24 months. Along the way, I casually reported on her emerging skills related to memory, problem-solving, fine-motor, and language. I have no scientific conclusion to report; we just had a lot of fun! It melts my heart to see the look of accomplishment on her sweet face when she masters a new task—sometimes it comes after pint-sized fits of frustration, but the hard is what makes it great. Am I right, Jimmy Dugan?
We discovered several well-made iPad apps that aided her skill development, and we also discovered a lot of duds. Aside from about $10 worth of regrettable purchases, I deem this journey a great success! We’ll continue to use the iPad 2 to discover new things beyond infancy and toddlerhood. Goodbye, Digital Baby.
Here’s to a great year with the iPad 2:
Well…sort of. Stella can recite the ABC song (through rote memorization), which just so happens to have the same melody as her beloved Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. This is really fun to wake up to on the baby monitor. :)
Update: She actually *knows* her ABCs. See Epilogue.
For me, this is the most fun song to sign. It took some practice, but I have it down. Stella is able to do the following signs:
- Bed: Hands together under your head like a pillow
- Hurt [head]: Index fingers point at each other next to the forehead; twist slightly
- Monkey: Paw at your shoulders twice
Stella is almost two years old! I’m starting to reflect on the last year and marveling at how much of a little girl she has become since we started “Digital Baby!” Here are a few recent snippets that especially remind me of how simple iPad apps that we started playing months ago still resonate in her daily activities today:
- Counting: Oscar’s 1-10 Balloons
- Singing/Signing: SignShine
- Parts of the Face: PlayBabyFace
- Shapes: My First Words
Duck Duck Moose did it again! Their apps continue to make our list of favorites. Today we played Word Wagon for the first time. This app is going to be so helpful for learning letters and recognizing words. It includes 4 levels to grow with your child: Letters, Phonics, Spelling I, and Spelling II. (In the video we did phonics.) Each word you spell gets added to your wagon and posted on your sticker board. After 3 words matched in a row, you get to play a star matching game to create the outline of a mystery animal. Super fun!
It will be really interesting to see how Word Wagon will help Stella with her ABCs in the next few weeks. Here is where she is currently at with her numbers and letters, as demonstrated with the Oscar’s Balloons apps. She can count to 10, but she almost always skips the number 8. She can recognize about 5-10 letters from the alphabet:
Update: She *knows* her ABCs. See Epilogue.
When Stella gets TV time, she likes there to be few interruptions. So when she saw Jesse peek around the corner at her from the kitchen, she demanded that he go away and “play” without her so that she could veg out in peace with her favorite 2-D characters: Muno, Foofa, Brobee, Toodee, and Plex. When did she become the boss?
This post has nothing to do with an iPad app. It is more of an admission that she hasn’t actually played with the iPad lately…and when she does, she turns on Yo Gabba Gabba through the video app. Hopefully her bossiness and YGG addiction are both just one of many phases.
P.S. This post is for James. A robot is a mechanical friend…made by people to help other peeeeeople!