In our family, we are still trying to determine our stance on technology for kids. It’s a tough one. As much as technology is a big part of our lives (one of my degrees was even in Ed Tech!), we haven’t quite decided how much we want it in our young daughter’s life. But I do recognize that there are times when technology is useful. Not long ago, both Baby E and I were quite sick. All that either of us felt like doing was cuddling on the couch and watching a little bit of TV. At times like that, with a sick toddler (and Mama!), there’s not much else you can do!
Our favorite way to spend our family time is playing games and make believe, doing crafts, and outdoor fun. Our weekends are filled with what Baby E calls our “adventures” – exploring various locations, activities, and events around town! We actually don’t have cable, and TV is a very small part of our lives. But on those occasions that we do include technology, we tend to choose carefully.
It’s up to each parent to decide what’s best for their family of course, and there are many resources to help with the decision (Mayo Clinic TV guidelines, HealthyChildren.org (American Academy of Pediatrics), Caring for Kids (Canadian Pediatric Society) and Common Sense Media are just a few). Here, I’m sharing with you some of the TV shows and iPad games that we have found Baby E enjoys … and that we think are relatively educational!
We have always tried to limit Baby E’s exposure to television, especially before the age of 2. But now we have selectively introduced some TV into her life. These are some of our favorites – many are music shows, as this has always been a favorite of Baby E!
- Rachel & the TreeSchoolers: Rachel Coleman is the host of this educational show designed for 2-6 year olds. They pride themselves on delivering a preschool curriculum in a fun way. Rachel teaches topics like photosynthesis and lightning – through song. And it works! I’ve heard Baby E walking around the house singing to herself “lightning is the flash of light, thunder is its sound”!
- Super Simple Songs: this series was created by teachers who wanted to record songs geared for young children. Some of Baby E’s favorites are: Good Morning Mr. Rooster, I See Something Blue/Red/Yellow, and Yes I Can.
- Mother Goose Club: real people dressed up as nursery rhyme characters sing a lot of the classics we grew up on, as well as some that are new to me!
- YouTube Kids: this is the official app from YouTube/Google, and it delivers kid-friendly content with a simple interface. Parents can control many aspects of the app through the settings, and children can explore 4 main categories: Shows, Music, Learning and Explore. A great way to limit the content that your child has access to.
- Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood: this show is produced by the Fred Rogers Company, and based on the well-known show Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. It’s quite a cute show, full of songs, with a sweet little lesson in each episode. It quickly became one of Baby E’s favorites.
We haven’t yet found too many apps/games that we enjoy and find educational. Our favorites so far are created by the company Sago Sago. Sago Mini are apps created especially for toddlers and preschoolers. The apps are entertaining, creative, and musical. Some of the Sago Mini apps that Baby E loves are: Babies, Friends, Space Explorer, Music Box, Forest Flyer, Pet Cafe, and Bug Builder.
I leave it to you to decide if/when you wish to introduce TV and apps to your child, and what content to expose them to. If you decide to introduce these elements of technology with your children, perhaps you will find our personal favorites helpful. Of course, I’d always love to hear any favorites of yours too!