Doing spring cleaning last month gave me an opportunity to take stock of our toy inventory. I thought our toy stash wouldn’t grow too much with the second child, I was wrong. Having a boy after having a girl means lots of new trucks and balls in the house. It’s hard to stay on top of it when the collection keeps growing.
One of the more modern ways of being green is being digital. I think this works for both the adults in the house and the kids. There isn’t a need to buy a coloring book from the store when there are so many cute printables online! I print one piece of paper as needed, instead of buying a whole book that may or may not get used. Using our iPhone and iPad for games and books is a new way of life for us and it really does help manage some of the clutter. Plus they can’t be beat for traveling.
Using apps with your kids is all about moderation. The time they spend in front of them is included in “screen time” for the day. Here is a quote from Raising Children network…
Children aged 2-5 years should have no more than an hour a day. And children aged 5-18 years should have no more than two hours.
We are not big into TV and neither is my daughter, except for Curious George of course. She would rather borrow our iPad to play something interactive. There are so many great toddler apps out there to assist in learning I feel okay about letting her use them. The apps don’t replace quality time together or reading, but it does let me get dinner on the table while Madison gets to practice counting.
She recently tested out the new Dr. Panda Teach Me app. There is both a full version and a Lite version and we tested out the full deal. You know it’s a winner when your child takes the phone, hides in a corner and you find her playing Dr. Panda. I’m happy when I see she gets to practice her matching skills, counting, color and more. The interface is easy to use since a 3 year old figured out in about one minute that if she wasn’t listening to the directions Dr. Panda gave her, she could tap him again to get them repeated. There are little hints for the kids when they hit a hard one, but it also gets harder if you beat the computer quickly. I test out the apps myself so I know what Madison is doing and get a sense for how educational it is.
|Madison’s favorite screen is the Frozen Tundra…must be the cute penguins!|
Talk to your children about what they are learning. I ask for their favorite parts of the game, or screen shots. The apps don’t make up for asking questions and fostering a learning environment in your home. However, they can cut down on additional toy clutter and make that 5 o’clock hour a little more bearable. Plus your child gets reward stickers online for her “zoo”, instead of real stickers that end up on your furniture.
Dr. Panda Teach me is available from TribePlay and can be purchase via the iTunes store for just $1.99. It’s much better quality than the freebies available for kids and works on both the iPad and iPhone.
Do you have some favorite apps? What is your opinion on letting your kids use the computer?
Disclosure: I was compensated for this review, however the opinions here are my own and it in no way influenced my 3 year old’s opinions.
About Emily Roach
Green Boston mom of three young children. Focused on family nutrition, wholesome recipes, and an eco-friendly lifestyle.