Monday, December 05, 2011

Initial Thoughts on an iPad 2 for Toddlers

I'm a bit late to the game here, but I've been swithering over the iPad 2 as an educational device for my son.

Whilst I've been an Apple Mac OS X user since 2005, the iPhone and subsequent iOS devices have never appealed and I prefer the Android ecosystem. However in terms of applications - specifically educational ones - nothing can beat iOS, in fact, I wouldn't even consider purchasing an Android tablet.

A combination of my son soon being two and the recent black friday sales at the Apple store I felt the time was right to go ahead and purchase one. So I purchased a white iPad 2 with the green smart cover.

We've had it in the house now for 1 week and I think it is a great device. I have a few issues, for example why can't the keyboard keys show capitalisation so you see what case you have? There is no haptic feedback unlike HTC when pressing an active part of the screen which means sometimes you don't know if that is really a button or not. Also my son loves pressing that home button - an option to disable it would be useful.

Quickly overcoming these I searched the app store to see what apps I could purchase for my toddler.

At this point things became a bit more difficult as Apple's app store doesn't appear to be well laid out for finding applications targeted for specific preschool age groups. The 'popular' apps were all aimed at spelling and maths which Ethan is a bit young for. So the point of the next few posts is to highlight iPad applications which my 19 month old son has shown a positive interest in. Some initial applications are below, but over the next few posts I'll go into them in a bit more detail with direct links to the iTunes store once I work that bit out!
  • Abby's Magic Laptop for Preschool and Toddlers
  • Shapes Toddler Preschool (Toy Box function)
  • Toddler's Seek & Find: My Animals
  • Toddler's Seek & Find: My Little Town
  • Zoo Train (for building trains and recognising objects)
  • Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Range

Update:
We've had the iPad now for 2 weeks and it is spooky how quickly he has adapted to it. He knows to press the home button and how to swipe to choose a different app. Some apps have further subsections (Zoo train) and he hovers over each icon to choose which activity to do. Then when he gets bored has worked out where the 'back' arrow is to choose another activity.

Ethan seems to prefer the musical section of Zoo Train at the moment and will dance along to the rhymes.

A few more recommended apps:
  • Ladybird: First Words (British accent too a major plus)
  • ClickySticky
  • JukeBox (Americanised nursery songs, Ethan likes it)

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