Raise your hand if you're traveling this season! We are in full-blown travel prep mode right now, which means that we're also in full-blown tablet mode.
I believe that kids can learn a LOT from tablets, and we get really excited about getting our electronic gear ready for all of our trips! We bring them out and charge them, back each one up, and update them with our recently-discovered apps. Sometimes we put destination-specific content on there or download lessons that help strengthen what the boys are learning in preschool.
Right now we're working with EPIK Learning Tabs. They make the perfect device for our active kids, complete with a gel case, expandable memory, WiFi, micro USB, touch screen and Android functionality. I especially appreciate the speedy Intel processor so I don't lose my mind trying to program the dang thing. Score! It comes with kid-friendly learning content ready-to-go, so you don't have to stress about uninstalling weird apps or downloading special “kids area” stations. Just turn it on and find easy-to-maneuver lite versions of apps that you can play around with to discover what's a fit for your child. Best of all, the price is right at $99.99.
Technology. Okay, duh. Tablets teach kids about technology. This is something worth mentioning, though. Do you remember how complicated it was to master the computer? I may be aging myself for those who grew up with them since infancy, but the first time I grabbed a mouse was in third grade. Nowadays, children are expected to know all about power switches, home buttons, scrolls and back-navigation keys before they set foot in elementary school.
Sharing. Two big boys. One small device. Oh my! This is completely intentional. I never buy two of the same device, because I want to encourage them to trade off and take turns (that, plus the fact that I now have three children and I can see the whole “one of everything for everyone” idea getting out of hand fast).
Responsibility. Some Boy is getting bigger and older and more mature by the second. I can't say that I trust him with my devices just yet, but this wallet-friendly option lets him exercise responsibility without me stressing too much. He knows to treat it with care and to make sure it isn't left behind during our travels.
Strengthening outside lessons. It may look to you like your child is simply tinkering with an electronic device, but there are so many learning opportunities on the EPIK Tab! I'm excited to see that he's not just killing time, he's enjoying games that reinforce spelling and numbers and letters.
Coordination. A lot of these apps ask kids to press certain objects on the screen, rapidly tap to catch something, and scroll to select options. That sort of detailed hand-eye response is something that can grow in a huge way from some tablet exercises.
Focus. Being able to watch the same thing for several minutes in a row is a learned skill. I occasionally put animations on that I know are lengthy, insisting that the kids not touch the screen or change it. This helps them learn to focus on one topic for an extended period of time, which I know will be essential when they get into school! On the EPIK Tab some of the apps even have options for parents to set how long animations can play before switching to an activity, so you can adjust it based on your child's attention span.
Nostalgia. I get excited to see the gap between generations being bridged when parents play with their kids. Lifelong memories are made from shared experiences, and tablets are brimming with opportunities to learn together! The EPIK Learning Tab has a Looney Tunes Click-n-Read Phonics game that makes it easier for us parents to relate to our children. We can point out Bugs Bunny and all our favorite characters, making for a lively discussion around a familiar topic…all thanks to modern technology.