I’m of the thought that the greatest gift you can give your child is a love of learning. Since my daughter was in the womb I have been working toward that goal. At about 18 weeks gestation a baby is able to hear sounds coming from outside the womb IE my voice. It was at that point that I began reading to my belly every night before bed. Once my little twinkie was born we began working almost immediately. While there are things I wish I had done differently there is one thing I don’t regret: purchasing my daughter an iPad 2. The amount of knowledge she has gained from educational apps has been astounding. The best part is that is just having fun - which is what learning should be about. At 2 and a half my daughter amazes relatives and friends with her wealth of knowledge but what makes me most proud is that she enjoys learning.
Being the techy mom and child we are, we’re always in search of new ways to learn – the hottest apps, newest toys and latest technology. In our never ending quest we have come across some real duds. Please understand, I do not set my child in front of an educational show, app or appisode and then walk away. I sit beside her to ask questions, see how she is learning and if the app really is doing what we paid for. Unfortunately there are times when I find an app that doesn’t fulfill it’s promise. There is a difference between an app that allows a child to random fire until they “guess” the correct answer and an app that actually teaches a child.
One such app is Leo’s Pad, a new Kidaptive app designed for preschoolers, and developed by the education experts at Stanford University.
After a quick download I decided to let Maddilyn work the iPad on her own at first to see how easy Leo’s Pad is to navigate. She easily started the Appidose on her own. In this first appisode Maddilyn and I befriended 8-year-old Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo Galilei (Gally) and friend Cinder – an adorable little dragon. Let me interrupt to say that the graphics on this are phenominal. It’s more like a cartoon than an app, with very fluid movement and bright gorgeous colors. We were invited to Gally’s birthday but before we could progress our friend Cinder decided to play hide in seek. In the process of finding her Maddilyn was to play hide and seek in a game that involved learning colors and shapes. After we found Cinder we created a present for Gally.
Since he was an aspiring astronomer we built him a telescope. Not only did we use shapes to create each portion of the telescope, we also learned the parts of a telescope. This is the hardest part for my daughter since some of the shapes could be used in multiple parts. However, instead of guess and check the app gave her encouraging promps. For instance if she use the right shape but in the wrong area it would tell her so. With these prompts it wasn’t long before she was flying through without errors.
Then we got to be a little more creative by creating a card for Gally. Afterwards we worked on counting and weight by catapulting young Leo into the sky and then flying him through puff clouds. This is one area where Maddilyn really needed help as she has a hard time “steering” the iPad. Lastly, we found letters in the stars and used them to create 3 letter words.
Overall both Maddilyn and I loved the Leo’s Pad App. It’s actual teaching ability, catchy encouraging phrases, and fun games earned it 5 stars in our book. We have already purchased the 2nd appisode and eagerly await the 3rd.