When I was growing up, we had an old Macintosh computer. Remember? The one with the little green screen. It was shaped like a box. My dad is a huge computer nerd, so it was imparative that my kid brother and I learn how to use them. In 4th grade, I gave my first Power Point presentation (it was on panda bears). I remember the day we got the internet; I used to spend hours on AOL Instant Messenger.
I remember our fist cell phone only worked in the car, and looked just like the one Zach had on “Saved By The Bell.” I had the first generation iPod and I wanted one of those orange Macbooks with the handle.
It seems that kids are getting younger and younger when they get their first cell phone. Can you imagine what will be possible when my kid is my age? She’s already learned how to use my iPhone. She can unlock it, find the pictures, and scroll through to find a picture of herself. She’s recently learned how to use the camera so I have 30 or so pictures of her leg and the couch. She’s called my mom, because there’s a picture of her next to her contact information. She’s sent text messages to my husband. She can even find the video of the (stupid) Gummy Bear Song that she loves on YouTube.
I decided to embrace the curiosity, rather that discourage it. I found a few good apps for my phone that she can use herself (she knows they’re on the fourth page and is very good at scrolling to get to them).
There’s a SpongeBob Tickler app that we have that does exactly what you think it would. You tap the screen and bubbles float up the screen and he laughs. Every once in a while, SpongeBob will talk to you, saying “Hello! It’s SpongeBob SquarePants!” or “Whatcha’ doin’?” I can only handle about 10 minutes of that one before I find something else to entertain her.
I’ve one called Hatch that has a picture of an egg. For each tap on the egg, a crack appears. On the fourth tap, the egg breaks apart and a cute little animal is inside. Most of the animals featured don’t actually come from eggs, but I figure that is a lesson for another day.
I Love Fireworks is a fun little game where you drag your finger across the screen and you see a trail of dots. When you lift up your finger, a firework explodes. Claire likes it because she can make her own fireworks, or watch a programmed show.
I also have an app called SoundBoard, which is just a bunch of sounds. Animals, music, jingles, and my personal favorite, farts. A little confusing, but I think it’s funny.
Our favorite game, by far, is called Shapes by Toddler Teasers. It’s one of the only free ones (all the ones above are free), but Claire can play with it for hours. Three shapes will appear on the screen, and a voice instructs her to touch one. There’s crescents, stars, hearts, ovals, diamonds, rectangles, squares, circles and triangles. Every time she touches the correct shape, there’s a round of applause. And after she gets through a few rounds, she gets a “sticker” to place on a scene. The next level has four shapes and so on. She knew circle, square, star, triangle and hearts before she started playing this, but she caught on very quickly to the other ones. I plan on buying more of the Toddler Tearsers.
So those are my favorite. Do any of you have toddlers who can use your phone better than your mom can? What games do they play?