Common Sense Media Screen Image

Common Sense Media Screen Image

It’s been a relief to realize that there is great online content for my 6 year-old. He still doesn’t use the computer (outside of school). The main reason, I’ve not been in a rush to enmesh him in technology. It’s clear he’ll catch on fast when it becomes important to him. Previously when reading up about apps and games, I always felt like nothing suited his timid-conflict-averse mentality. So when we found a couple beautiful apps last night, I was pumped. Screens can be delicious. Later this week, my 6 year-old and I set off on a trip alone, just the two of us. He’s joining me on a work trip to The Netherlands (speaking here) and although real books will tide him over at times, there is somewhat of a saving grace in the fact that the iPad exists.

I’m seriously thrilled. I can’t wait for this special trip with my son and this time together.

But I’m also normal– there are parts of me very cognizant of the 10+ hour plane trip ahead of us. As a working mom on a working trip, he’ll be stuck amidst a few meetings. On the plane, we’ll read books, work on his journal, yet ultimately I’ll need to plug into my work for a few hours. When I do so, I’m thrilled that the iPad will be on his lap. Living in 2013 does have unique parenting luxuries and one of them is some of the brilliant screens out there. Screens can be great fun for us all when we do it right.

Last night, my husband and I spent some time online reading about good apps to load. We were sincerely delighted to find a couple gems (see below). We ended up completely entranced by 2 apps, in particular. I can’t wait to show these to my 6 year-old on Thursday.

Thoughts On Apps For Young Children:

  • I love using Common Sense Media to learn about new apps, games, movies, and books. Not only do they provide age-based filters for search, they detail enough about the platforms that I can really cater to my kids’ individual interests and limitations (my 6 year-old is scared of most movies and really hates any kind of conflict). You can search by ages (if you’ve got more than 1 child with access to a device) or by interest (dinosaurs, sports, or magic) and you can also just quickly browse the “editor’s picks.”
  • I really enjoyed this TIME Magazine 2012 list of top kid apps.
  • The first app that grabbed our attention was called Roxie’s a-MAZE-ing Vacation Adventure. A huge series of maps and labyrinths for children to navigate and collect stars. Think mix of a 3-D train set, a puzzle, a map, a labyrinth meets Where’s Waldo. Thrilling for curious young school-aged kids.
  • The second app was an interactive book entitled, The Fantastic Flying Books Of Mr. Morris Lessmore. I’m not exaggerating when I say this will leave you a little bit spellbound. I suggest you indulge yourself in this mesmerizing book that provides a story but also pages of interaction with inventive games gowned in historical context.
  • As a reminder, I think you should play and explore every app yourself before handing it over to a young child. This doesn’t have to be a chore: we seriously enjoyed this last night when we did it! Although it felt a little frivolous getting through the entire book (it’s simply wonderful and whimsical), I know my time was well spent. I do think our time on these platforms provides incredible insight for how our children will spend time when we hand over the device.

Will you help me (I’ve got 2 more days to download content)? What apps or games do you love for young children? Where do you go to get ideas? Let’s generate a list with rationale and reviews.

PS- If you think it’s crazy that a pediatrician is online raving about using an iPad, check out Dr Claire McCarthy’s opinion piece in Pediatrics entitled, Pediatricians And TV: It’s Time To Rethink Our Messaging And Our Efforts.