Computer Software for Toddlers & Preschoolers
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Computer Software for Toddlers & Preschoolers
Just recently, our 15-month-old daughter ''discovered'' the
computer--as well as our camera with its ability to review
pictures and videos. Well, she's now somewhat obsessed.
She'll sit for up to an HOUR looking at photos and videos
over and over again. From the moment she wakes up or gets
home from the nanny, she's at the computer desk or at the
counter where our camera resides
yelling ''Mom.Mom.Mom.Mom.Mom...'' until I come over and get
her involved. At the moment, I only know of one website--
starfall.com--that provides free activities online that are
somewhat engaging. I'm just wondering what else other
people have found that are good games or videos for pre-
toddlers on the computer. Either free on line or something
you have ordered. I'm getting really bored with our photos
and the site that I know of.
My kids enjoyed some of the games and sing-alongs and
things at http://pbskids.org/ when they were pretty young.
At 15 mos you really still have to be there to help them
out with most things, though -- mine would end up clicking
on the ALT keys or something and getting stuck. The Sesame
Street website (http://www.sesamestreet.org/) has even more
games, including some specifically for toddlers - Elmo's
Peek-a-Boo and Elmo's Fire Safety were big hits at our
I sometimes use google images with my son, who is 21 months.
You can look up anything you want. We spend the majority
of of our time looking at trains
My child at that age also loved looking at pictures of
family. How about making a photo album especially for
yours? At this age children need to interact with adults,
play outside, climb, draw, build with blocks, be read to,
sing, etc. Hands-on activities are how they learn. I can
think of no reason why a 15 month old should be on a
computer for any amount of time...let alone an hour. They
have the rest of their lives to sit in front of a
--flickr.com (put in a keyword like ''kittens'' and get an
endless slideshow - parental monitoring recommended of course)
--youtube (''Kitten in His Box'' and other funny stuff)
--favorite children's book authors often have their own
websites, sometimes with activities and printable coloring
sheets (yuyimorales.com, pilkey.com, rosemarywells.com)
--children's publishers have kid sites as well
--your local library should have links from its website
When your kid's a bit older (3?) the Fisher-Price kids
digital camera is awesome.
I'm sure you will get an earful about this, and I'm not sure
I can avoid a similar incredulous tone in my answer. The
short answer is no, I don't know of any good games or
activities on the computer for pre-toddlers. At that age, we
never thought to sit our son in front of the computer, and
he showed little interest in it. Now he's three and we still
don't encourage him to play games or engage in any computer
activities aside from viewing photos, and for very brief
periods of time. Mind you, we are both information
technology professionals, so we aren't anti electronic media
by any means, but we prefer to sit with books or play with
He's 15 months, and loves, LOVES to bang on the keyboard and
operate the mouse. But he has an uncanny ability to hit
important control characters.
We need some SIMPLE software that renders the computer safe for
him to use. Best would be basic typing software -- press a key,
see the letter on screen. Any pointers?
When my boys were about one, I introduced them to computers
with the Disney ''Winnie the Pooh - Baby'' cd-rom. Your little
one bangs on the keyboard and the characters react. For
instance, pooh dips his hand in various honeypots to find
surprises. Or Tigger hides then appears from behind something.
Your child can hit any key or series of keys (i.e. banging on
the keyboard). It wasn't ''real time'' (at least on my computer),
but the boys enjoyed it and felt they were doing something. I
think it helps that the characters praise your child when they
hit the keys.
Not a software recommendation, but a website:
My son has loved these games from the time he was a year until
now (3 years old)... there are simpler ones, where any key
tickles elmo, or makes elmo hop out from behind a dresser, or
alphabet games in which your child presses a letter and an object
that starts with that letter appears. And there are more
advanced ones about counting, drawing, spanish, etc. Lots and
lots of games!
If you have a Mac, you can download a program called ''Baby Banger''
for free. I think you could search for it online. It makes sounds and has
fun, colorful shapes come on the screen when the keyboard is used. It's
a Mac only program though. We also have a spare keyboard around
that's not hooked up to anything, and my son loves playing around with
Mom of a Baby Banger
Can anyone recommend a fun/educational computer game for one
year olds? My son loves to type on the keyboard and I have
seen ''software for ''babies'' in stores. It's hard to choose -
and hard to figure out if it's worth it. If you know of any
worthwhile specific titles thanks for the advice.
My son started with Reader Rabbit for Baby & Toddler, by The
Learning Company. He loved it and so did we. He actually still
loves it and he is almost 4 and has other software, but keeps
coming back to play the familiar games he loves.
My son really likes the games and stories on Nickjr.com and they
are free, yea. They teach mouse skills, creativity, colors,
counting, music concepts and more. The quality and educational
content is really quite good. There are no ads on the kids site
but parents have to go through ads to get to the kids page. A
friend of mine likes Noggin's site, too. Check these sites
out. Maybe you won't need to spend any money.
I'd like my son to learn to navigate the computer, and have
wondered if there are good quality, educational games or what-
have-you that are good for a 2-3 year old. I'm leery to get into
this, as I don't want to encourage him to be glued to the thing.
But I don't want to have my head in the sand either. What have
people liked/disliked for their same-age kids? (And how have you
learned about such resources?)
Check out www.superkids.com for detailed ratings.
There are a lot of games on the children's programs websites
that are educational and fun. My 28 month old loves to play and
I think they have more benefit than TV because they are
interactive. We go to sesameworkshop.com, thewiggles.com,
nickjr.com, and noggin.com. They all have many, many games to
play, especially Sesame Street. Most of the games have to do
with spelling, numbers and color identification. My daughter is
especially fond of the Blue's Clues scavenger hunt with Joe. We
have DSL so that might be more helpful than a dial up
I don't see any reason to introduce a 2 or 3 year old to
computers. I think they learn much more from playing with real
objects, fantasy and role-playing, and picture books. We
enthusiastically introduced child #1 to computers at an early
age (maybe at about 4) and were proud of how quickly he picked
up things like matching skills on the computer. By age 9,
however, he had a serious addiction problem to the computer that
we have been struggling with ever since. He is so good at using
programs that he can circumvent any ''educational'' program to
quickly gather all the ''prizes'' without ever gaining the
knowledge that is supposed to go along with it. Watching this
evolve, we were much less eager to introduce the next two kids
to computers. Now that they are in their teens, they like
computers, at times more than most other activities, but neither
one has the addictive focus of child #1. I recommend holding
off on computer games or educational programs until at least 4
and I don't see any harm in waiting much longer. It's true that
my kids only became skilled at keyboarding after they began
playing games seriously (middle school age), but preschoolers
and even early elementary school children don't need those
skills. From spending little time on the computer in their
younger years, I think my younger two children learned to
develop and research their own interests (drama, writing,
fishing,iceskating). In contrast, their older brother has
neither the ''time'' nor energy for much other than the computer
Our daughter loves the Living Books put out by Broderbund
(sp?). We have The Cat in the Hat, Grandma and Me, Green Eggs
and Ham, and Dr Seuss' ABC's. As the series title suggests,
these are basically animated versions of the print books. At
each page, the text is read by one of the characters in the
book, and the scene plays out. If you are in the ''Play'' mode,
you can then click on objects within the scene, and fun things
happen. The Green Eggs and Ham CD-ROM also has a couple of
embedded games, one about color matching, and another about
putting together small words to make sentences. Our daughter is
two now, and has been doing the living books (with our help) for
almost a year now. She requests specific ones, and loves doing
them with us. At some point, she will have the motor control to
do our track ball (I think she might handle a mouse better), and
will be able to do the clicking on her own (but she likes the
social aspect of doing things with mommy and daddy, too).
And for the record, we also own all of these books, and she
enjoys ''regular'' reading of them, too. In fact, she became more
interested in reading Green Eggs and Ham after doing the CD-ROM.
There are other Living Books titles out there, but I'm not sure
which ones are also good. Much would depend on the books on
which they are based, I suppose.
My parents bought the CD-ROMs for my daughter on Amazon.com.
Try using a web-site instead. PBSKIDS.ORG is a good one. There
are lots of games to play and they are age appropriate. I have
heard that Golden Books also has games on their web site, although
I have not used it.
My kids have both enjoyed the Reader Rabbit series by The
Learning Company. I originally bought Reader Rabbit
Toddler for my now 3.5 year old when she was almost 2.
She really enjoyed it, but has since moved on to LEGO
Preschool and (CTW) Elmo's Art Workshop. Now my 21
month old loves using the Reader Rabbit program and her
older sister likes teaching her how to use it. I learned about
these programs from Child magazine, which has a section
each month about age appropriate computer stuff. You can
check them out online at http://www.child.com if interested..
Most of what I have read on this subject would indicate that it's probably
best to delay introducing a toddler to computers. Their hands aren't ready to
learn either the keyboard or the mouse (they can pick up some really bad
habits that will be hard to break later, in their efforts to cope), staring at
the screen isn't really good for their eyes (or for ours either!), and they
are better off having their hands on ''real'' stuff. They will pick up
everything they need to about computers if introduced later (e.g.
Our two-year-old really enjoys the computer. Although he does
want it too much when he has a new program, in general it is
something that he is happy to do for about 15 minutes before
he's on to something else. We started with Berchet's Baby
Keyboard. You strap the keyboad on top of the regular one and it
gives the child a few simple big, colorful buttons to push. It
comes with three CDs that have progressively more difficult
games. It is a clever system and he has really enjoyed it, plus
I feel sure he learned colors because of the color-coded keys
that correspond to simple characters on the screen. This they do
without any mouse. Later we got Reader Rabbit Toddler, which is
excellent, but mostly mouse-based. Once we slowed our mouse way
down, he got this skill in about a week.
this page was last updated: Feb 11, 2014
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