Whistler has been a proud owner of an iPad since he was 10 months old. I’ve been a huge proponent of kids and technology since day one. Like everything else in life, content and moderation make the difference. It’s important to me to make sure that the time Whistler spends on his iPad (or any device for that matter) is centered around apps that are educational and age-appropriate.

With millions of apps and developers in the market place today, it’s easy for parents to be misled. It’s easy to be conned into buy an app that doesn’t fulfill it’s promises or rave reviews so it’s great when brands we trust, like LeapFrog, offer products that work with the technology we already have in our home.

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Through a campaign with MomSelect, we were recently sent the LeapFrog Learn to Write with Mr. Pencil™ Stylus – it’s an app, it’s a toy, it’s educational AND created specifically for Apple Products. With the help of Mr. Pencil and the citizens of Doodleberg, Whistler’s iPad became a canvas for learning to write and draw.

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Although he already knew the content (upper- and lowercase letters, numbers 1-20 and basic shapes), he had not had much practice at writing and drawing.

Handwriting is an important element of school readiness. Recent research findings demonstrate that handwriting improves children’s creative writing skills and fine motor skills. Handwriting also contributes to children’s recognition of letters and numbers. (Source: Longcamp, Zerbato-Poudou, & Velay, 2005; Handwriting without Tears.)

Unlike the slim stylus’ created for adult hands, Mr. Pencil is large enough that little hands have no problem gripping while drawing and writing. It’s helpful in developing hand eye co-ordination and fine motor skills. Mr. Pencil itself is also really technology friendly. The stylus is designed not to scratch the glass on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch.

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The very first time he tried the app, he was hooked. I couldn’t peel him away for anything, as he was determined to progress and pass each level. Whistler really enjoys this activity and will often ask if it’s “time to practice my letters and numbers”. This couldn’t have come at a better time since his pre-school class has just begun this same skill and they send home “homework” daily. The difference in his ability to write is like night and day in just the short time that we have been using Mr. Pencil and I have already recommended it to fellow class moms. BONUS: I also really like that we can practice these skills without using up resources like paper, pencils and crayons.

This post is part of a sponsored campaign with LeapFrog and MomSelect. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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