Purely because I thought it would be interesting and I don’t think it has been done already, I’m going to track my baby’s (and any other babies i can get my hands on!) developmental milestones – but rather than the block-stacking, finger-thumb-opposition kind I’m looking at the TV remote, mobile device, smart-phone, laptop sort of thing.
Now when I say track, I mean a mum style track, the occasional update when I get time off from scrubbing Weetabix off the wallpaper. I’m not obsessive enough to chart her daily progress and I don’t think that would be healthy for either of us.
To keep it interesting I’ll also blog about and review baby friendly apps and other baby techy stuff. If you know of something good or have something you’d like reviewing let me know. I’m a geek at heart!
I’d love to hear from anyone else who wants to share their baby’s technology milestones – add a comment or email me.
Babi2.0 recently had her 1st birthday. She’s been having fun with the Toca Band app but hasn’t quite figured out what makes it work. She keeps trying to recreate the music by wiggling her fingers over a locked smartphone screen whilst dancing, makes sense, that’s what she did the first time and it worked perfectly.
Other recent advances are that she has started to hold rectangular objects, phone, tv remote, toy with buttons to her ear and say “hiya, hiya, hiya, hiya…” Before 11 months she had been known to hold conversations via pasta and wooden blocks. She has identified the dvd remote as not being a phone because she points that one at the TV, usually during an emotional scene in a Tinkerbell as if to torment her big sister.
She attempted some interaction with Mwnci Bach, a more child friendly version of the popular talking cat and dog apps but soon got frustrated as there’s no dancing to be done.
Babi1.0 is honing her fine motor skills and can just about trace large letter shapes with jerky movements. The CYW alphabet app is an excellent tool for this.
The free version has over 24 animal sounds linked to photographs of the animals, an upgrade will set you back 69p. Tapping on the thumbnail plays the sound and shows you a bigger version of the picture, you have to tap the picture to return to the menu. Animals are divided into those well known biological kingdom categories of Cat, Cockerel, Rhino, Bird, Squirrel and Snake.
Pros – authentic sounds and good pictures provide some educational value.
Cons – you need pretty good fine motor skills to change categories as the buttons are tiny making it not so child friendly.
I just found #fourlittletesters on Twitter and Tumblr who are doing a far better job than me at trying out apps. They specialise in helping out “indie kids app developers” and there’s loads of great stuff there.
Baby Toy – Babi loved it 10months+ nice pictures and it makes lots of fun sounds. The fun sounds can all be played at the same time so it eventually drove me mad! The phone locking pattern is a nice idea but was easily unlocked by my little one.
Talking Tom Cat (free version) caused no end of tantrums (“Eee-ow! Ee-ow! MINE!!!”) and as amusing as it was to hear Tom squawking back, the constant prompts to update or buy add-ons completely detracted from the joy of having a very cute kitty talk to you. I appreciate that it wasn’t designed as a child friendly app, you can disable the “allow violence” feature, but even as an adult time-waster it’s more frustrating than fun.
Shoot Bubble Deluxe again not designed to be a child friendly app but lots of fun for little fingers. You tap the screen, it fires a coloured ball, it makes a funny sound, Babi giggles, hours of fun!
Artwork by the beautiful and brilliant Lauren aged 2 and three quarters who happens to have a learning disability.
Skitchcomes highly recommended for its ease of use, a friend’s little one worked out how to scribble a picture in seconds and was published on t’internet within minutes.
Baby Bus have lots of free apps for Android. We have been playing with three; letters, numbers and shapes. The alphabet one is good fun once you get the hang of the controls although I couldn’t work out how to move past the first level, I’ll put that down to my phone being a bit naff! Couldn’t get numbers to run without crashing the phone, again I’ll blame my phone but be wary if you’re short on memory. Babi likes the shapes one best of all because it’s easiest to understand but it is very repetitive and even she got bored of finding all the squares, crescents and “rounds”. Not bad for a freebie and kept Babi (26 months) entertained for a good half hour.
The late night blog is the curse of the working parent. Still, reflecting on my little ones’ technological advances makes washing the dishes seem less of a chore.
The big little person (now 3 years and 3 months) started full-time school nursery at the beginning of the month and her language and communication skills have improved. She is increasingly curious about the different apps on my iPhone, she wants to know what they are all for and is generally disappointed to find access to our external hard drive or the news headlines. Her new favourite is Spotify although she can’t navigate it, she hands me the phone and says “I want ‘Mi Welais Jac y Do‘ please”. We need to teach her some new songs.
The littlest little person is a few days short of 11 months old so I think it’s time she started earning her keep.
She was 8 months when she first showed any interest in a Smart Phone, Babi number one was watching a cartoon and it held Babi 2′s interest for around 10 seconds. From around 10 months she started to pick the phone up and play with the touch screen so those would have been her first conscious interactions with it and I assume the realisation that “if I touch the screen the pictures move”. I have not noticed her try to replicate the effect on books or magazines.
This week I gave her the iPhone with Toca Band open and running but no instruments selected. Within seconds she had dragged one of the characters onto the stage area causing it to play a tune and was so pleased with herself she spent a good 2 minutes bouncing up and down in time to the music. So now we also have “if I touch the screen it sometimes makes a noise” added in to the mix.