The iPad is a fantastic tool for your children to engage in some educational technology. My kids read books, access the world’s bank of knowledge through the web, play educational games, express creativity, and practice effectively communicating with friends and loved ones all through this mobile, modern device.
Durability is a key feature of any screen in a home with 3 little boys (plus 1 active husband and 2 male dogs). A screen protector is a must to prevent scratches and the Gripcase is our absolute favorite case (this thing is dropped daily). We even have the stand, which comes in handy at times like when Kai is using the iPad for sheet music while he plays his ukulele or when all the boys are watching a movie together.
Calendar, Kindle, Safari, Pandora
The Calendar is synced to my gmail account so it displays our schedule for the kids to view anytime they want to know what is on the horizon. It is consulted by them often and is updated automatically as I add or change events on my end. It has been great for fostering some independence, organization, and thoughtfulness of planning as our schedule is a collaboration (not top down from me to them). They do not edit the calendar, but they consult it when making suggestions for activities.
Kindle is our favorite app and it is used daily. Reading – we’re big fans. Ebooks are less expensive, accessed instantly, don’t kill trees or use up other resources, don’t take up lots of space to store, and you can have your entire library with you everywhere you go.
Safari is how my kids answer all those random questions that pop up for them. It’s like 10 mini research projects everyday where they have a question, find answers (question the validity of them and accommodate the new information into their understanding of themselves and the universe), and share conclusions.
Music is a value add to everyone. It can help to calm and focus during a study time or liven up a cleaning time. We have a subscription to Pandora which the children can access anytime from the iPad. They are not allowed to thumbs up or down songs but they are allowed to add channels.
Folder: Weston (for our 3-year-old, West)
Marco Polo Ocean
Folder: Bailey (for our 6-year-old, Bay)
Bramble Berry Tales: The Great Sasquatch
Spell with Pip
Go Sight Words
Little Red Riding Hood by Nosy Crow
Grade 2 Splash Math
Hooked on Phonics
Bill Nye the Science Guy
Dragon Box Math
My Incredible Body
Deep Sea Duel
Motion Math: Hungry Fish
Mystery Math Town
Ticket to Read
Folder: Skyler (for our 9-year-old, Kai)
Stop, Breathe, and Think
Magic of Reality
Grade 5 Splash Math
Stack the States/Countries
Folder: Everyone (for all 3 boys)
Cut the Rope 2
Where’s My Water/Mickey
Lego Movie Maker
This app is 5 bucks a month but it’s like a personal library right at your kid’s finger tips. I set up an account for each of my 3 boys and they can browse books that are right at their age level. My favorite feature is all the audio books.
Air Playit HD
Folder: Grown Up
Folder: Home Office
The digital playscape gets stale, just like the physical one (read all about that here in the Rotation section of the Tame the Toy Monster post). To keep the digital playscape fresh, we periodically rotate the apps in the children’s folders. Delete some from the iPad. Load some from your iTunes account. Download a few new ones. If your child is struggling with fractions, add Slice Fractions to his folder. Someone asking about the circulatory system? My Incredible Body let’s him explore it. Keep it fresh by rotating the apps.
Screen Time Regulation
In a blog post about iPads, the question inevitably comes up about screen time regulation. “What limits do you place on the iPad and screens in general?” We approach screen consumption in the same way we approach food consumption. We put healthy food accessible in their environment and they learn to self regulate. If you are always restricting and controlling (especially if you use screens as part of any reward/punishment model of parenting) then screens, in much the same vein as dessert, can become an obsessively fought for forbidden fruit that gets wrapped up in other emotional and relational issues. Quality, healthy, and effective screen use is modeled by us. It is not seen as bad or good but as a tool for potential growth just like a book or a bicycle. If life is something your child feels a need to escape from through screens, address life, as opposed to screens. If how we structure our kids’ time is a topic of interest to you, I highly recommend you read Soft Structure for Raising Free Spirits.
Dive deeper in the
Sage Homeschooling Book
[This post contains links to products I find useful. These are affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase on Amazon using the links, I receive a small fee and you help to keep this blog running. Thank you for the support!]