Category Archives: 18 months

Stella Counts to Ten

According to YouTube, an 18 month old counting to 10 is not that unusual. This study, reported by Fiona Macrae at Mail Online, explains that children recognize the routine of scoring off individual objects one-by-one before their second birthday—even if they don’t say it aloud.

Jesse and I learned yet another thing from this experience: Treating Stella like a show pony for even a few hours between the three of us was a bad idea. By the end of the night, she would simply shout a number—any number— clap her hands, say, “Yay,” and expect us to join in the praise. We created a Count Dracula Monster. Raaawwr!

It’s a good thing she’s cute… 🙂


Learning Colors and Shapes

A few months ago, Kids iPhone App Review suggested that we might like the Tappie Colorit app by ADUK GmbH/Zanymation ($.99). At the time, Stella was 15 months, so she was still a little too young for the concepts. Now that she’s 18+ months, she has become much more successful with this app—although there are some parts that are still too advanced for her. We mostly stick to the “cars” game. Each time we play, she always picks the red car first, regardless of whether it starts on the top, middle, or bottom. Hmmm…

Overall, this is a very good, educational app for young kids. I like Zanymation’s philosophy: “All the games and books in the series are outlined by colorful, but calm palette that does not overload child’s nervous system. In general we aim to help your child develop the following skills: fine motor fingers coordination, attention, comparing objects, logic, grouping by shape and color.”

SRL Weekend Update

Stella’s vocabulary is really taking off! Highlights from the week:

Packing sandwiches for the zoo, Jesse asked me how many to make (including grandparents). I said, “Well, Stella will eat one…” Just as I trailed off in thought, Stella chimed in from the background and said, “Two…” as if we were practicing counting. I was stunned. Little did I know, however, that was nothing! Today we were “reading” the 10 Little Ladybug book. We were on the “3” page, and just after I pointed and said, “3,” Stella continued counting from 4 to 9 all by herself. No lie! I have no doubt that the Oscar’s Balloons app contributed to her catching on to memorization so quickly.

After throwing a fit over eating, I picked her up in my arms to calm her. When she was done crying, she patted my back a few times and said, “I sorry. I sorry.” She could’ve learned this from a number of places, including daycare, me, or Yo Gabba Gabba, which is also on her iPad.

I took Stella to work with me this morning (Saturday) to pick up something. Walking down a long hallway to get to my office, she pointed ahead and said, “S!” As far as I knew, the only letters she knew were “A” and “O.” The “S” was a very pleasant surprise!

Learning How to Sign with the iPad 2

Taking it all in:
Learning How to Sign with the iPad

Cry: “The babies on the bus go, ‘wha-wha-wha’…”

Spider: “The itsy-bitsy-spider climbed up the water spout…”

For more information about the SignShine app, read our review.

Little Letters / Little Numbers

I downloaded the Little Letters app from Mobile Merge several months ago, but Stella hated playing it so I forgot all about it. She accidentally launched it again the other day, and now it’s her favorite one! I think it’s a great one for all ages—little ones like to hear the different sounds and touch the squares, while older kids can practice their letters and numbers. My 4 year-old nephew is in town this week, and we had fun trying to guess which letter was showing with only a few of the squares revealed.

Because I downloaded the Little Letters app several months ago, it has since had a name change to ABC Preschool Alphabet and is now $.99, but I still think it is worth the money. Also, its counterpart, Little Numbers, functions in the same way and is still free.

Why an iPad is NOT a Digital Pacifier

This article from Bloomberg deserves a comment or two. Let me break it down for you:

  • iPads are a popular Christmas wish list item. Check!
  • Some households with one iPad are planning on getting a second just for the kids. I actually know a family who has already done that.
  • Tablets can help kids learn to write. Ok.
  • A pediatrician in Boston says children under 2 should only use the iPad to display books. Hold the phone…

I have two comments about this part. First, the paragraph starts out by calling adults with tablet-related concerns as “child advocates.” Hey, wait a minute! I’m an adult with no tablet-related concerns, can I also call myself a child advocate?

Second, the pediatrician who made that comment was Gwenn O’Keeffe, a CEO of a health and communications company, among many other credentials that you can read about on The Huffington Post. Her statement intrigued me more than it alarmed me, so I went hunting for more of her research. In this article from the Pittsburgh Tribune, she says, “Little kids’ brain development needs to evolve un-interfered with. The more technology that is introduced at a young age, it disrupts how their brains are wired and how kids think and learn. Kids under 2 don’t understand what they’re using.”

I am not a pediatrician—nor am I a CEO of a company with financial interests in making regular appearances in print, online, radio, and TV—but I still don’t buy it. I’m sorry! I could very well be wrong (and biased), but it’s just that since starting this blog I know Stella definitely understands what she’s using. I wouldn’t continue doing it if I didn’t see positive results.

Everyone seemed to get a kick out of the viral video of the toddler frustrated with a magazine because she couldn’t zoom in on one of the pictures. But I bet if that same parent recorded that little girl again, it wouldn’t be a big deal because she has since probably played with it enough to learn the difference. I make this assumption because Stella once did a similar thing with an animal book shortly after we got the iPad (she expected the book to make sounds like her animal app), but she has long since gotten over that novelty (see video below):

(Note in the video that she signs the word “spider” when we find it in the book, which is an action she learned from an iPad app, thank you very much.)

So here are my final thoughts:

1. The person who coined the phrase “digital pacifier” has obviously not had a baby or an iPad before because if you’ve ever tried to leave your child (0-2) alone with the iPad, you’ll know that it’s impossible! If she’s not looking for immediate praise from me, she’s looking for me to help her out of some inevitable jam with one of the apps. She’s pretty skilled at navigating by herself, but she’s certainly not able to do everything independently.

2. An iPad should not be argued as a potential replacement for parent-child interaction or human contact no more than a Barbie doll or a scooter. It’s one tool in a box of many. (I bet if you kept your daughter from her favorite doll, she’d go crazy, too.) The American Association of Pediatrics has recommended limiting screen time for kids (TV or otherwise) for some time now. Whether it “disrupts how their brains are wired” or not, that recommendation just seems obvious enough that it doesn’t really have to be said. Most kids get bored with playing the same toy after a while—even with the iPad. (Trust me.) If your child plays too long with any *one* thing, it’s probably time to mix it up.

3. We need to stop treating “the iPad” as if it means the same thing to everyone. It’s what you put IN your iPad that gives it its essence. Some people might use it mostly for a second TV device, while others might load it with these fun apps for babies and toddlers. One app might rot your brains, while another might stimulate it. I would love to have my girl Etel from SignShine visit us 3 days a week to sign songs with Stella. But in the mean time, the iPad is a wonderful tool to bring her into our home without requiring her physical presence or my husband to put on a shirt.

With that said, I’m signing off with Stella’s favorite book:
Good night, Minnesota.

Family Photos

Living almost 2,000 miles from most of our family/friends makes the holidays difficult. Stella cheered us up this Thanksgiving weekend by going through a bunch of photos of loved ones and reciting their names—yet another simple way to use the iPad 2 with your kids!

Disclaimer: The video does not show all of the family photos that we actually have in our library (I had to cut out some footage in the middle due to stinkerness), so if you think you’re forgotten, think again, Katie, Kara, Brandon, Logan, Mandy, Clint, Amy, Tony, Brenden, Brooks, John, Ilyse, and Mary!