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The Go-to Gadget of the Osborne Family

So at the beginning of the last school year, my oldest was required to get an iPad to negotiate her class curriculum. We were required to pay for it. She was 10. This, obviously, is a post in and of itself. And, in fact, I’ve written one about it for TLC a while back.

In it, I ultimately concluded that since it’s a private school, they can do what they want. If we didn’t like it, we didn’t have to continue to send her there. But we love the school, and there’s quite a case to be made for what a wonderful teaching instrument the iPad is, so all in all, it (obviously) wasn’t a hill for us to die on. Even so, I had reservations. I felt she was too young.

I’m not sure I’ve come off that stance entirely. In my opinion, ten is awfully young to have an iPad. But I will say this. I sure have been pleased with how the school is having her use it. My oldest truly does the majority of her classwork on it and it’s a very high-tech, clean, interactive and efficient way to learn. All in all, I have rave reviews.

Well, except for one thing. See, now that Alli has an iPad guess who else wants one? The triplets. So guess what Caroline got them for Christmas last year?

NO. Are you kidding me? Buying three iPads for three (then) four-year-olds? Gimme a break.

Nope. Instead she picked up three Innotabs, which the kids seem to believe are iPads. And much like the real iPads? At first I was anti. When they got them, I thought Little plastic-encased dealios with LCD screens that run on our supply of Energizers? Gimme a break. In my mind, the Innotab would do nothing but train our kids to become dependent upon gadgets (at the tender age of four!) via some strange iPad fantasy we empowered them to act out.

But fast forward to today, and I gotta tell you, I think the Innotabs are about the coolest things going. Okay, fine. Part of the reason is that they totally buy my wife and I some much needed time. And we’re not the types to throw Jr. the iPhone, so we needed something to keep them occupied every now and again.

But the other part is all the interactive and cool things that the triplets are learning. See, the Innotab comes with a handful of apps and you can even hook it up to the Internet to download more. (Which we’ve not done because, you know, one thing at a time, right?) But these interactive apps cater to all types of different things. Some are educational. Some are artsy. Some help kids gain a sense of cyber organization (I could totally use that one…). And some are games that are just plain fun.

And don’t even get me started on the cartridges you can buy. Right now, we’re all about the Dora, Toy Story and Pixar’s Cars.

And we’re all about the Innotab, too. The way I see it, it’s a win-win-win. Caroline and I get a little peace and quiet. The triplets think they have an iPad. But more importantly, they’re actually learning a little something, too.

Do you and your family have a gadget that y’all rely upon the most?

A big thanks to Energizer for sponsoring this campaign. Click here to see more of the discussion.

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