It is not hard to get young kids interested in “screen time.” Kids find screens just as captivating as the adults who carry them around in their pockets. I admit to using my screen as a distraction for lots of diaper changes when my daughter was barely old enough to hold it. It certainly cut down on the squiggles back then and made wiping poop a much faster and easier enterprise.
So when I started to consider actually having my daughter use my iPad on her own, I knew I wanted to hand pick the games and apps she played with. I found a great resource called Common Sense Media where I often go to check out games I find in the app store and recommendations from other parents. With those resources at hand, these are the first three digital games she learned to play.
First Three Games
This was the first kid’s app I put on my phone. I downloaded this free app to occupy her if she didn’t fall asleep during her first flight. Simple navigation and straight forward animation partnered with cute sound effects are the strengths for this app. Although it does not hold her attention very long these days, she still mimics the “stomp stomp stomp” for the elephant.
As if the art design on this game wasn’t enough to make me completely smitten, once I heard the music I was completely sold. Lots of kids games and TV shows have annoying music. For my own sanity, I tend to pick games and shows that have low key music. This game teaches balance between very important aspects of life: eating, playing, and sleeping. It is heavy on repetition; it takes several days of these activities for the caterpillar to become a butterfly. But the reward each time makes my daughter dance for joy. “I helped make a butterfly!”
My introduction to the Endless series was with Endless Reader but I picked up Endless Numbers at the same time. It has been a bigger hit with my daughter than I expected. At first, I thought it would be too simplistic but the repetition of the numbers, and showing how to count by different intervals definitely keeps her engaged. I am not convinced at this point that it has helped her learn the science of math with the equations but she is repeating and recognizing numbers more readily after playing.
What about your kids?
What are your favorite games or apps for kids? Let us know in the comments.
Regina is a gamer, writer, teacher, and podcaster living in the Pacific Northwest. She completed her Ph.D. in 2011 from Washington State University in Vancouver and continues to teach there part time. Regina’s research interests focus on women and technology, and her dissertation discusses female gamers and identity in digital role playing games. A lifelong geek and technology enthusiast, Regina recently started a Girls Who Code club in support of their mission to close the gender gap in technology.
To continue the conversations about gender and gaming that Regina started during her research, she started a podcast called Game on Girl. Called the “NPR of game podcasts” by Chris Brown of The Married Gamers, the podcast features women involved in the game industry, and tackles some of the complicated issues in the gaming community. Season 2 began in the spring of 2018 and will premiere new episodes monthly.