From Speak & Spell to LeapPad: Technology for ToddlersMonica Bielanko
It’s not that I don’t want my daughter to be tech-savvy, it’s just that this upcoming generation that pretty much slid out of the womb with a smartphone firmly in hand freaks me out a little.
Maybe I’ve watched one too many robots ruin the future movies, but I was kind of hoping that my kid could enjoy a childhood filled with neighborhood games of Kick The Can and digging forts in fields and all. That is one of the main draws of moving to the country, after all.
But, let’s be honest here: if any kids these days are playing Kick The Can it’s because there’s an app for that.
It was with great trepidation that I gave Santa a thumbs up on the LeapFrog LeapPad. In case you aren’t familiar, it’s like a tiny computer for kids. You can upload songs, videos and games. It was the Art Studio game that caught my eye. Violet can draw and “paint” on the little monitor with the stylus, choosing from a paintbrush, pen or stamps and then picking out different colors to use.
The computer at our local library has something similar and Violet loves it. I figured the LeapPad would be good practice for when she has to use a real computer at school. And as much as all of us staring into monitors all day long freaks me out, I also realize that this is the way of the future. Computer skills are a must.
So Santa brought the LeapPad and it is truly amazing in every way. Including the fact that it runs on four AA batteries. That blows my mind! I mean, this thing is playing music and videos and talking to her and offering up every game under the son and all it requires are the same tiny batteries I used as a kid to power my Walkman.
Yeah, I said Walkman.
The LeapPad has been an amazing addition to our home. And our car. And the grocery cart at the store. The kid is constantly playing with it. And that’s a good thing! It’s all educational stuff. Tracing letters, drawing pictures, singing alphabet songs. I remember being blown away by a toy called the Speak & Spell when I was Violet’s age and this thing is light years beyond that and yet, like the Speak & Spell, it runs on a couple batteries.
Photo Credit: westmemphisthree.typad.com