This blog comes from missing my baby nephew (which is pretty much all the time), and I’m pretty sure he’ll be getting at least one of my former i-devices down the line. As much as one might not care about an old piece of tech, adults should still invest in protective cases for devices handed to small children (and sometimes even big children in their 30s) so as not to encourage tomfoolery with devices of any sort. Did I just use the word “tomfoolery”? Yes, yes, I did.
Little Adam – free for iOS
This app acts very much like a sound board, so little fingers can touch different icons and hear the corresponding word. What I think is really great about this app (other than it being free) is that there are multiple boards which stretch its use. Board topics include colours, funny stuff (including a very entertaining fart), numbers, opposites, the alphabet, shapes, and flags. There’s also a puzzle section, but it doesn’t seem to work as well as the others.
Fisher-Price Giggle Gang App for Baby – free for iOS
Fisher-Price has a number of apps for babies and toddlers, and this one was released in June 2012. Fun little characters light up the screen in this gentle-paced app, which abounds with giggles as the title suggests. In Level 1, users can tap anywhere in the play area to make characters appear, disappear and move elsewhere, or light up different shapes. Though I wouldn’t recommend it without some kind of military-grade like case, users can also tilt the screen so that characters float downwards based on the angle of the device. In Level 2 (which is not accessible once you’ve chosen level 1, so you have to quit the app and return to it), all six characters are poised to play and dance with distinct theme songs and/or music from a keyboard in the bottom half of the screen. Super colourful, the app is fun to play and even lets users record their own giggle. Adults should be aware, however, that the in-app advertisement will lead to an external e-commerce website. It’s hardly as fun as the app, so users will likely lose interest, but on the other hand, you may end up with an unwanted delivery if you’re not watching.
BabyTV Mobile HD – free for IOS with limited trial content; subscription available for $4.99/month
I’ll be up front and tell you that I haven’t extensively explored BabyTV’s television offerings, but I do like the simplicity of this app, and the baby-proofing lock, which probably works as well as most tangible baby-proofing measures. In order to change screens from whatever’s playing, users need to press and hold the icon at the bottom left-hand corner of the screen, unlocking options for video playback and navigation. I would not recommend this app for the iPad 3 given that everything looks blurry without an app update to HD video quality, but for previous version iPads, I think it would be worth looking into for a subscription service. The app’s description recommends that it is suitable for ages 1-4.
Baby Finger HD – free for iPad
This app may be from the “dinosaur ages” of 2010 but I do love the simplicity of this app. It starts with a blank white canvas, then users can press all over to make shapes and numbers appear, all with a fun set of wacky sound effects and animations.
Adults should be forewarned that some extra care will be needed on their part prior to firing up this app because 1) the sound controls are a bit off so that they play too loudly if not preconfigured, and 2) users cannot change between categories without quitting and restarting the app.
Overall, I think these apps are slow-paced enough for babies, but it’s ultimately up to parents to decide what’s appropriate for their own. Happy Discoveries and Happy Giggling!