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Now I Know My ABCs!

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. 🙂

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Update: She actually *knows* her ABCs. See Epilogue.

Digital Toddler

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:

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’…”
Signing

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

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

SignShine – Take 2

I know I already reviewed the SignShine app last month, but since purchasing additional songs, it has become one of her favorites, and I have an update to share. In the last few days, her signs have evolved to express emotions by using her facial expressions with her hands. (Note her furrowed brow and pouty lips for the “wha-wha-wha” part of the “Wheels on the Bus” song.) So cool!

Top Baby Apps on Our iPad 2

It’s been about six nine months since Stella has been using the iPad actively, so I compiled a list of our favorite apps so far. Also, check out Kids iPhone App Review for more ideas on iPad and iPhone apps for a broader age range.

Itsy Bitsy Spider – $1.99
This one is worth the money. She plays this for a very long time. The graphics are very good, and there’s always something new for her to discover. You can record yourself singing the song, too! (Many other apps are available by Duck Duck Moose. We also have Old MacDonald.)
See my video review…


Monkey Preschool Lunchbox – $.99
This is her all-time favorite app. She’s not very good at it because it is designed for older kids, but it doesn’t stop her from trying. (Monkey Math School Sunshine is now available, too!)
See my video review…


Oscar’s 1-10 Balloons – $.99
This is also a really good one. She gets very proud of herself when she finishes each set. Plus, I think this one helped her learn how to count to 10 by 18 months. (Also check out Oscar’s Alphabet Song.)
See my video review…


My First Words – FREE (limited categories)
We like this one a lot for vocabulary flash cards, but I’m not sure if it’s still available.
See my video review…




Animal Sounds – $.99
She likes to hear all of the animal sounds. She tries to repeat them in her own voice, which is very cute.
See my video review…


Color Dots – FREE
She gets bored with this now, but when she first discovered it, she was very into this game. When she’d pop all of the bubbles, she’d look at me for approval and then keep going with the next set. It has since been updated so you can change the speed and size of the dots as your child develops more dexterity. The developer also offers a Color Square game, which wasn’t as appealing to Stella entering toddler stage, but it could be good for infants.
See my video review…

PlayBabyFace – FREE
This is a cute one for learning the parts of the face in multiple languages.
See my video review…



Baby-Silencer – FREE
This is really fun for a baby 6-12 months. There isn’t a lot to it; colors and lights respond to touch. There is no audio in the free version, but Stella still liked this one a lot at that age.
See my video review…


Baby ASL HD – $1.99
This app is good if you are serious about signing with your baby. The flow isn’t that great when you use it, but the videos of the people signing are great.
See my video review…


SignShine – Free (limited songs)
Stella LOVES singing the songs included in this app because she gets so entranced by the woman signing. You get “Itsy Bitsy Spider” for free, and you can get 10 more songs for $2.99.
See my video review…


Tappie Colorit – $.99
As Stella has transitioned into toddler-hood, she has gravitated more toward this app for learning shapes and colors.
See my video review…


ABC Preschool Alphabet – $.99
This app was hit or miss—some days she LOVED it, and other days she wanted nothing to do with it. It’s probably a good one to have and keep trying as your child grows through different stages.
See my video review…

Others that we use a lot but haven’t specifically posted a review include:

Calling All App Developers

The secret to a good app is good MUSIC!

Baby Sign Language App

I bought this Baby Sign Language app by EverydayASL.com a few months ago, but she hasn’t seemed ready for it until now. I know ASL pretty well, so I’ve been teaching her basic signs without the app since she was about 6 months old. Lately her attention span and level of interest in learning new words has jumped, so we gave this app a try today.

The app offers two very different experiences for horizontal or vertical modes. Each flash card includes a picture of a word, audio of the word, and a video of the word signed. I tend to draw more towards flash card apps that use more realistic pictures, but Stella seemed to understand the cartoon drawings just fine. My only complaint is that when you are in horizontal mode, the video for each sign skips really fast the first time you watch it, so you have to tap it again. (You’ll see it happen in the video.)

It’s not an app that Stella can run independently yet because you have to manually tap to hear the word or watch the video. When left alone with the app, Stella just wants to paw the screen to see the pictures move. By the time she’s old enough to use this app on her own, her speech will probably be advanced enough that she won’t need signs to communicate. But for $1.99, it’s still a neat app—even if you use it to teach vocabulary without the signs.

Big Grips, Big Relief

I started shopping around for a new iPad 2 case early last summer because I needed something more durable than the Targus Versavu. The Targus is great for an adult—especially for travel—but it was clunky for Stella to handle, and it frequently slid down whenever she would play with the device. Thanks to Jason Huber at Kids iPhone Review, I held out for the release of the Big Grips frame for iPad 2.

Stella can now paw as hard as she wants at the device, and it rarely slides out of the stand. The best part is watching her tiny little hands easily maneuver the iPad now like it’s just another toy. Wait…I take that back. The BEST part is knowing MY precious toy is also safe after watching her hurl the iPad onto the tile floor in this video: