The art of toddler “homework” with ABC Mouse.com
Mommy! Mommy! Mommy! I want to play homework.
This is an all too familiar sound in my house. Ever since I let my toddler hold a tablet he has wanted to have screen time; a blessing and a curse when it comes to entertaining my kids on a plane or while in transit to our next destination. For a long time we stuck to Kindle Fire apps to entertain the kids. Angry Birds was always a favorite, along with a few other educational apps, but none of them had any structure.
Eventually I let my boys have a go on my Microsoft Surface tablet. This was the only place they could play PBSKids.org games at the time, but it still didn’t have enough structure for my liking. When ABCMouse.com approached me to test out their site, I decided to give it a go.
I was hooked. I love the lesson plans and the way my boys can each have a profile that matches their ages and abilities. Each of my boys interacted with it differently though.
My oldest, who is 5 years old, moved quickly through his lessons. He enjoyed the variety of activities he could do, but after about an hour (yes, I let him have screen time for an hour), he wanted to go back to PBSKids.org where he knew the characters and could sneak in an episode of his favorite show without me being the wiser (OK, so I know he does it, but sometimes mommy needs quiet time too.)
My youngest, who is almost 3, got frustrated with the lesson plan style of the program, so we started jumping around together to do activities he enjoyed and had the patience to do. Although he was in the preschool level, some of the lessons were a bit too advanced for him, so we skipped them. Overall he really liked ABCMouse.com. He doesn’t know all of the PBS characters. The characters in ABCMouse.com were new friends for him to play with. He wanted to do more “homework,” which is what I accidentally called ABCMouse screen time one day for his big brother. The idea has stuck in my youngest head and he isn’t letting go. I’m OK with this.
While my oldest has been a tech head since the age of two, my youngest is still getting the hang of technology and screen-based learning. He would much rather run around or play with his cars, which I am perfectly fine with since he really doesn’t need to be on a computer all day like his parents. However, when he wants a little visual stimulation, we both enjoy sitting together with my tablet, listening to stories and playing the puzzle games the ABC Mouse offers.
What other activities and ideas will your children be exposed to?
- Art and colors
Although my oldest isn’t thrilled when I tell him he can only play ABC Mouse, he still does it. He still loves figuring out the puzzles, earning tickets and buying more things for his hamster. That’s right, you earn tickets that let you buy virtual items for your virtual pet. He thinks it is hilarious and will continue to play as he builds a maze for his little virtually fuzzy friend. You can also have a fish if you’d rather have a water-based creature than a hamster.
ABCMouse.com on the go
The biggest problem with ABC Mouse in terms of travel is that you have to be online to play it. You cannot download it to bring into the car or on your tablet for a long-haul flight unless we have a Wi-Fi connection. We are still stuck with our Kindles for those moments. However, to reinforce what my kids have been learning I can print out multiple printables to bring on the road with us. This does add weight to my bags, but at least my kids won’t be staring at a screen for hours on end. They might actually have to take pen to paper. What a novel idea.
What apps do you love to let your children play with?
Many thanks to ABCMouse.com for sending me a subscription code so the boys and I could give their subscription-based software a test run. As always, my opinions are my own; when they aren’t you will be the first to know.