We introduced Jude to Oscar’s 1-10 Balloons app. He learned to count to ten and read from left to right! Just kidding. He learned that learning can be frustrating. He did not want to play that one more than once, unlike his sister.
He did, however, enjoy showing off his eyeballs. He seriously can’t get enough of the Baby Play Face app. The app comes with different baby face characters; I wonder if he would still be into it if I picked an avatar that didn’t look so much like him. Hmmm…
Lastly, we introduced him to Sign Shine. This was one of Stella’s absolute favorites starting at 18 months. Jude was equally enthralled. I could tell he wanted to do so much more with his hands other than clap but just didn’t know how…YET! He already loves to sign baby basics (more, all done, eat, etc.), so it will be really fun to teach him some of these over the next few weeks. Sign Shine makes an easy case for using digital media together to enhance its educational value.
I love this Baby Play Face app today just as much as I did 4 years ago. The first time I showed Jude the app, he kept kissing the baby on the screen. The next time we played it, he started exploring his own face:
In the latter part of the video, we played iPad in the kitchen away from all of his other toys. Even so, he ditched us after a few short minutes. I’ve noticed that Jude loses interest in the iPad so much faster than Stella did at his age. Hmmm…to be continued.
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