Whether you like it or not, your child is probably surrounded by technology. In my opinion, it isn’t such a bad thing! When my son was 1 1/2, we bought an iPad Mini to introduce him to technology. Several friends of mine with children the same age suggested an app called Endless Alphabet. At first my son didn’t know what to do but the graphics and sounds intrigued him. One day, it suddenly clicked in his mind and he figured out how to drag the letters to the right spots. At this time, he did not recognize or know the alphabet. After letting my son play this game on the iPad occasionally, he started learning letters and repeating them back. If we said the sound of a letter, he pointed straight at that letter. He was learning but he was also having fun!
Now that he is 2 years old, he has been showing interest in our computers, wanting to do what we do. Just a few days ago, my husband stumbled across a game called AlphaBaby by Little Potato software in the Apple Apps Store. It is a full screen app that pops up letters and numbers when you press the keys on the keyboard and shapes when you press other buttons on the keyboard. The app does not allow your a toddler to accidentally exit and start clicking other things on your computer. To exit, you will need to type the letters q-u-i-t or option-control-command-q on the keyboard. You might notice that my photos show a second monitor – the app does support having more than one screen. The characters typed will display randomly on either, treating them as one large screen. Oh! And I almost forgot – as each key is pressed, you will hear a voice telling you what is being displayed on the screen.
After a few minutes of playing, my 2 year old was instantly pointing out colors, shapes, numbers and letters. He even discovered that clicking and moving the mouse around would create a line of stars, which he was very excited about, saying “wheeee!” as he drew them. He is developing coordination while having fun practicing his letters, numbers colors and shapes. I am able to sit at my own computer next to him and work while he ‘works’ next to me!
After taking a moment to look at Little Potato Software’s website, I have found that Alphababy is available in the iTunes app store for the iPhone, iPad and iPod. There is a free version and a $0.99 paid version – I downloaded the free version to try out on my iPhone 4s. Random letters, numbers and shapes appear in various colors which can be pinched smaller or made bigger or even dragged around on the screen. In the options, you can change how many items are shown and what items are shown. If you would like to practice just shapes with your child, you can do so! The app doesn’t lock the home button on your phone so it is easily exited. To lock the home button, check out the guided access mode found in your phone’s accessibility settings. I use guided access any time my son is playing a game on my phone…it has saved me from deleted photos or even from apps being purchased! The paid version of AlphaBaby in the iTunes app store allows you to record your own voice.
The other iOS game available, AlphaTalk looks a bit advanced for my son at this time but we will probably try it later on. In AlphaTalk, your child can practice shapes, words and and colors in quiz mode. AlphaTalk supports Spanish and even adding your own words.
Little Potato has also released a $0.99 Mac application called Baby Proof, which, just like Alphababy, it takes over the screen and requires the word ‘quit’ to be typed to exit. It is an alternative to a log on screen and will lock the computer.
While I have not tried all of Little Potato’s apps on the Mac or in iTunes, Alphababy is a great starting point for introducing your toddler to the computer. Your child will learn coordination of the mouse and practice their letters, numbers, shapes and colors, all while having fun.
This was not a sponsored post. I purchased the Alphababy game on my computer and all opinions are that of my own.