For her first Birthday, the Bug and I got a joint present from her grandparents: an iPad. I’ll admit it – – although I was ecstatic to have an iPad, I wondered how Lila would take to it. Thoughts of the ‘screen time ruins kids’ creativity’ raced through my mind. And then there was the recurring nightmare of her tossing it down our stairs, cracking the screen and me having to explain to my in laws (who graciously gave us the gift!) what happened.

But two months later, my fears have subsided. I am a HUGE fan of the iPad. Here’s why:

  1. Durability is key. It’s been flung, dropped, and sailed across the floor. And the thing still hums beautifully.
  2. No keyboard = no key banging = no broken keys. {{insert zen-like ‘aaaahhhh.’}} I have a nagging crammed-in comma key on my MacBook Pro that’s driving me nuts, an unfortunate casualty of a raucous KneeBouncers game. No need to worry about key banging on the iPad. The Bug can get as zealous as she’d like with Peek-a-Bouncer.
  3. Lila’s favorite app is the iPad’s video player. No, it’s not to watch the latest Blues Clues episodes (although I have a few on there). She loves watching the iMovie we made for her first birthday party because it’s chocked full of images of all her favorite people. She watches the images glide across the screen, points and giddily exclaims ‘oohhhh’ or tries to say the person’s name.
  4. It’s the most portable storybook you can own. We are huge book lovers in our house. There is nothing like climbing into Pat’s grandfather’s leather barker lounger with the 3 bs: the bug, a blanket and a picture book. But have you ever tried to lug five to ten hardback books on a plane? Carrying that bag through the airport terminal could send anyone screaming to the chiropractor. The iPad lets me load up picture books in iBooks or buy a specific app that tells a story. There are GREAT Dr. Seuss and Sesame Street apps available that allow your child to choose to read the story themselves or have it read to them. When the story is read aloud by the app, the words light up to assist with letter/word recognition. Educational, practical and downright fun.
  5. Mess-free coloring. Ok, I know. “Digital” coloring is NOT the same as real coloring or painting for that matter. And no, it doesn’t develop the gross motor skills we should be working on right now. But it’s not always practical or feasible to cover my porch with garbage bags in preparation for a painting activity like we did when we experimented with Bubble Art. Sometimes, the Kid Art app is exactly what I need. Plus, the Bug has not quite yet mastered the art of holding a crayon. Digital ‘finger’ painting lets her get creative without leaving pink and blue hand prints on my wall.

So, other iPad lovers out there, what’s your favorite toddler app?

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