My husband and I are pretty stingy about letting our preschooler play with grown-up technology. Every time I see other parents hand their smartphones to their littles, I gasp because all I can picture is the kid losing his grip and the phone plummeting to the floor and smashing into smithereens. Maybe I'm just overly cautious, but even though I know there are a lot of cool phone apps for kids these days, I'm just not a fan of putting that much money into the care of a kid who still wears superhero undies. I can count on one hand the times my three-year-old has been allowed to play with a smartphone or a tablet by himself.
That said, sometimes we're out and about, or maybe stuck in a waiting room without a book, and getting out the smartphone is better than the alternative: mischief and/or whining. In those cases, here are a few tried and true sites and apps we like and trust:
- PBSkids.org: This is our go-to place for video clips, games, and activities from all my son's favorite shows. We don't get Mr. Rogers on our t.v., so we go to PBSkids.org for that.
- sesamestreet.org: My son doesn't watch much Sesame Street, but the show's website is a safe place for him to play and explore. I love showing him vintage clips from back when I watched the show.
- YouTube: We like to watch kid-friendly stuff like Laurie Berkner, Elizabeth Mitchell, Rabbit!, but also music videos for popular songs like Feist's "1-2-3-4," Owl City's "Fireflies," Up and Over It's "We No Speak Americano," and Of Men and Monsters' "Little Talks." (Make sure to preview all YouTube videos first! I once previewed a clip from Wonder Pets, and about a minute in the clip
was interrupted by a scary face and a scream that had me wishing I was
still in diapers.)
- Duplo.Lego.com: You can build your own virtual LEGO creations (and with no mess to clean up!)
- The art apps I mentioned in this post.
Do you let your kids play with your smartphone? What are your favorite apps and websites for kids?