Social Signal CEO, Harvard Ph.D. and compulsive adopter of online task management and collaboration tools, Alexandra Samuel wrote a great blog post on
12 kid-friendly iPhone apps for toddlers and young kids. We were honored to be included as one of the top 1o apps in this category, and really like what she wrote about the emerging category.
“You may think of your iPhone as a communications device, a productivity tool, an iPod or even a babe magnet. But if that’s all an iPhone is to you, you’re missing its most extraordinary power: the ability to keep a preschooler silent and occupied for the length of time it takes a grown-up to eat a meal in a restaurant with actual tablecloths.
We discovered the awesome child-pacifying powers of our iPhones last summer, while on a leadership retreat at the Hollyhock Centre. Hollyhock is almost the last place on earth you want to be outed as an over-technologized parent, but we decided we’d rather be the freaks whose kids can’t be separated from the small screen, than the freaks whose kids are incredibly noisy and disrupt everybody’s dinner (though there were some nights when we got to be both).
At first, we treated the iPhones as very tiny TV screens, capable of amusing our kids with downloaded Diego and Dora episodes. But within a few weeks of his second birthday, our little guy had already mastered the art of unlocking a sleeping iPhone, navigating to the iPod player, and getting Diego up and running. From this we inferred that the kids might be up for something more interactive, and tried out a variety of educational — and not so educational — games over the following months.
The opportunity to download a new iPhone app is now the second-most-requested privilege in our house: ahead of junk food, but still behind the lure of a new arts & crafts project. (Phew!) Saturday is “you get to buy a new app from the iTunes store” day, and our elder kid now has her sights set on an iPhone (or iPod touch) of her own.
Here are some of the apps that have been consistent hits in our house. I’d love to hear about other iPhone apps that appeal to the 3-5 set…..
For Balloonimals – Blow into the mike to inflate a balloon, then shake the phone to make a balloon animal. The resulting 3-D animals each perform a few different motions depending on where you tap. It’s all in the execution, here; nice images and animations make for a great experience.