screen time: beautiful apps for children

parenting, Uncategorized December 14, 2013

When I was pregnant with my son I was resolute about the role I wanted technology to play in his early life. Wood blocks, books, dirt and the great outdoors. No smartphones decked out in baby proof cases, no TVs in the car, no tablets at the table. Now that’s he is 15 months old, I am beginning to question my earlier convictions. We are still strictly a no TV house and I am not running to the apple store for a jr. iPad, but I have indulged in some app purchases for the younger set.

I understand that ‘screen time’ detracts from the never ending experiment that toddlers are engaged in, that repeatedly transferring a spoon from the countertop to a bowl is a vital activity. I have come to believe that our family at least, cannot pretend that iPhones and tablets and laptops are not hopelessly ubiquitous in today’s world, and that like it or not, the kid is going to take interest. My hope is that I can guide my son’s engagement and keep it contained so that it doesn’t overwhelm and prevent him from engaging with the ‘real’ world.

Here are a few apps that I have found, I have searched for apps that are beautiful and educational. I found that some are elevating applications to art and am happy to expose my son (carefully and in small doses) to what will likely be a great area of creative effort in the coming years (as well as a great opportunity to waste time).

1. Christoph Niemann’s ‘Petting Zoo’
This app is amazing, artfully done and very amusing.

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2. Eric Carle’s ‘My Vert First App’
This one is very simple and showcases Eric Carle’s well loved children’s art.

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3. Disney’s ‘It’s a Small World’
This is as close to TV as my son gets. It’s a sweet musical trip around the world and he loves it.

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4. Charley Harper’s ‘Peekaboo Forest’. This is a simple app with an attractive design that teaches the names of various woodland creatures.

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5. Moonbots ‘The Numberlys’. This is basically an animated short with interactive abilities. It is too mature for my son, but my husband loves it. It has very cool graphics and is quietly witty. I look forward to when I can share it with my son.

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