Liz' s Musings's

Liz's musings on life – mostly her kids though.

11/12/07 Toddlers and computers November 12, 2007

Filed under: Uncategorized — Liz @ 10:48 am

I’m putting this out there for the 4 of you who read my blog (not including my husband) … one of you has a degree in Early Childhood Development (I was originally just going to e-mail you but I needed a blog post today ), one has extensive experience in kids software and teaching software to kids (even though the kids are older than Christopher), and the other two are teachers. Basically you all know more about kids than I do. So here goes …

For Christmas my mom wants to get Christopher one of those LeapFrog computers that hooks up to the tv. It’s designed for kids 3 to 6 (Christopher will be 2 years 5 months at Christmas). It’s called ClickStart My First Computer. I guess I don’t know enough about what little kids need to be prepared for school. Jeez, he won’t even be going to school for 3 more years. I think he’s too young for it. It’s not something that encourages much creativity; it seems like something that encourages repetition. Not that repetition is a bad thing, but he is such a sponge and is learning things without a computer, why give him carpal tunnel at 3?

Opinions people? This is what I pay you for

Oh, and in an unrelated topic, I have already failed NaBloPoMo … I forgot to post anything yesterday. Bummer …

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14 Responses to “11/12/07 Toddlers and computers”

  1. MaestraHaven Says:

    As a teacher of 11-12 year olds, it is never too early to get the kids computer skills, or to have them begin learning to read. (Notice I said learning, not teaching) If Chris is interested in playing with the LeapFrog, then I would say let him. If he is not, then give him crayons and lots of coloring paper. I remember watching my nieces and nephew playing their little games on the “big computer”. Their little hands could barely hold the mouse! Technology is a fact of life. And if it is interactive, that is so much the better – rather than having him just watching the TV, if you know what I mean.

    LeapFrog is a good name. We have a number of their systems at our school for the younger ones.

    Reading readiness is essential if the kids of today are going to be able to keep up with state and federal standards. The thing is, let him decide if he is ready to learn, and he will tell you by wanting to play with the toys. Tell Grandma and all the aunties and uncles, BOOKS are still the best toy. Having mom and dad reading to him will also help make a big difference. And once the little one gets there, encourage Big Brother to read to his little sister…even if she can’t yet track the page. (grin)

    Oh, and if you are going to post educational questions, don’t be surprised if you hear me getting up on my soapbox. (grin)

  2. Liz Says:

    Remember I asked for opinions and you were one of the 4 people I was referring to 🙂 Not to worry about the books … my MIL is a librarian and we have a zillion of them. He loves to have us read to him! Some of his simpler board books that are concepts more than words he will “read” to us. I think I just don’t want him to have a “gadget”.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Hey, can I chime in even though I’m not One of Four? 😉 (This is Amy in case you didn’t guess.)

    Agreeing 100% with books being the best learning toy! We just saw ClickStart advertised the other day, and it seems interesting enough, BUT we’ve had some real clunkers with other pseudo-computers when our yout’ was a very young yout’. They were really spiffy for about a minute and then the few things they could do were no longer of interest.

    Now, we did have some very positive experiences with other LeapFrog products, so it could be this one would be worth the cost and set-up time. They used to have a sort of singing school bus with letters on it (different from ones I see on Amazon today in that it is three-dimensional and rolls like a regular toy, but probably similar to the “2D” ones I see now). It has three or four selectable modes, one with a catchy tune of “B says /b/. B says /b/. Touch the letter; hear the sound. B says /b/.” I can hear it as if it were yesterday… =8^0 But it did emphasize letter/sound connections.

    The other Leap Frog toy that son loved and still likes is the Leapster, but I’d recommend probably 4 and up for that one. Well, maybe younger. It’s the closest he came to a Game Boy, and helped a lot with math.

    If you really want computer experience, I’d wait until he is old enough to work on a real computer and then set him up with one you don’t mind being pounded on. There is some great preschool software out there. I still think the best possible gift is a cardboard box!

    Cheers!

  4. Julie Says:

    I honestly don’t have any comments about LeapFrog products because I’ve never used them personally or professionally. Yes, this generation is going to have to be computer literate, but you don’t need to feel pressure now. Young children learn by interacting with real objects so I am not big into “screen time” for young children. Screens should not replace sharing a book, walk, etc. together. That said, Rebecca was pretty young (I forget – btw 2-3 yrs. old) when she started using our actual computer. I don’t recall how it came about (I can tell you it was NOT concern about her learning computer skills). As you know I live with a computer geek… Anyway, she played actual computer games geared toward young children. One was Dr. Seuss’ A,B,C’s and the others were “Freddi Fish” games. As far as computer programs go, they were excellent. She became very proficient early on at using a real computer. It’s not something I let her do a lot though. Trust me, they’ll crave plenty of “screen time” when they are older!

  5. Liz Says:

    Hi Amy! Of course you can chime in, you are an original member! I just didn’t know you were on Yahoo 360. Cardboard box – we occasionally give him the big boxes that his diapers come in … they are the cheapest toy he has! LOL!

    Julie – I remember when the girls played Freddy Fish. 🙂 I am thinking it would be better to set up the old clunker that Jonah has in his room (it’s a doorstop or something now) with some pre-school programs and let him us that. I am thinking that the LeapFrog one is just too much of a “gadget”.

  6. Mary H Says:

    Hi, Liz!

    I’d say pass on the specialized toys. Let him use his creativity elsewhere. Unless it is something he can play in the car on road trips, let him use a “real computer.” When I was reviewing kid’s educational software, I gave high points to any program that had non-screen time activities included as it encouraged left & right brain use.

    If you, Grandma, & Christopher want to play on the computer, check out starfall.com, pbskids.org, etc. Those all have great activities for pre-schoolers. There are lots of sites he can use, with or without a grownup. If you don’t want him to play on your computers, get him a “blueberry” or newer Mac from NextStep. As long as it can go online & do either of the above sites, he will do great. The single button Mac mouse is also easier for tiny hands. You can also buy small size mice just for kids.

    David learned to recognize the alphabet on his own, on the computer. He learned from his older sisters (then 4 & 6) & played “Donald Duck’s Alphabet Chase.”

    Check out the “kinders”& “fun& games” links on our school bookmark site for more activities. It’s http://www.guest.portaportal.com/mlbv

    BTW, David, who will be 17 next month, dug out HIS Freddi Fish games and was playing them this weekend!

  7. Liz Says:

    Mary – A Mac from NextStep, what a great idea! Since most of the schools here have Mac’s that would be a great transition! Thanks for the software links too! LOL on David, he goes from a complicated game like WoW to Freddi Fish! Good for him!

  8. Julie E Says:

    Liz – My kids both used computer programs for the PC starting even younger than Christopher. We especially liked Reader Rabbit (Baby & Toddler) and Jump Start was fun too. We spent hours with the kids on our laps playing and singing with them.

    I believe as long as you don’t let the gadget/program/screen replace Mommy/Daddy/Brothers time, it is one more tool in our teaching arsenal. For Alison, we purchased a smaller keyboard and a (smaller than adult size) Dora mouse (yes they do make Thomas, but Mike didn’t get one). At five, she is still using them and has not expressed an desire to use grown up sizes.

  9. Liz Says:

    Christopher started on a program called Baby Splat earlier in the year but mommy gets bored with it. He also loves to have us scroll through the pictures of him. Thomas went to our pbase site and showed him all of the pictures from when he was in mommy’s tummy to today. Christopher loved it!

  10. Mary H Says:

    Keep me posted if you decide to get one of the “all-in-one” Macs for Christopher. I’ve got several disc images that are all set up for kids.

    Oh, and before I forget again, the sewing machine you lent me is great! More than great—it’s the same model I swapped with your Mom! The only 2 differences are that the presser foot needs a screwdriver on this one (the other has a screw knob) and this is a portable & that one is a cabinet model. I know exactly how it works, how to fill the bobbin, etc. I even replaced the broken light bulb.

  11. Julie Says:

    Hi everyone!
    Oh, I remember Reader Rabbit! I think Rebecca played that one too. She is 14 now & I bet if I found an ol’ Freddi Fish game, she’d play it too! I’m *really* not into pushing academics or computers on young children, but she did love that game. I enjoyed it too – we’d do it together.

  12. Liz Says:

    We got a Reader Rabbit program for Micah once … he wasn’t much into computers at the time so it was sort of a bust. Heck, he’s not really into them now.

    Mary – I’ll let you know about the Mac. I’m glad the sewing machine is getting some use. I know that it doesn’t much like me so I am relieved that it is behaving for you. If I could find the fabric for the bumper pads, would you sew them? They’re just straight stitch and you could probably get them done in no time. If I did them it would involve a lot of cussing! LOL!

  13. Anonymous Says:

    Reader Rabbit never really flew here, either, but a Disney preschool program was a huge hit. In fact, His Very Grown Up Self still likes to design cars with Goofy. I’m not telling if I ever played that myself… 0:^)

  14. Mary H Says:

    Reader Rabbit really varied in quality. Some versions were good, some boring, & some forced the correct answer without understanding.

    Liz, yes, I can do the bumper pads. I seem to be in a very sewing, crocheting, needlework mood lately. If your mom has the accessories to the sewing machine I gave her, I can use them (lots of extra bobbins, manual, button hole maker, etc) since they work on this machine too.

    Disney made a lot of very good preschool and elementary programs. My favorite was a Roller Coaster design program that was a lot of fun and taught basic physics principals.


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