Thursday, December 03, 2009

Why we gave our toddler an iPod

It takes 20 hours to travel from Chicago to Australia. 20 long hours when you're traveling with two small children. That right there is reason enough to buy an iPod Touch.

Now a couple of years ago, iPods were for music. Podcasts and audio books, maybe. But today's iPod Touch (an iPhone without the phone, really) can function as a mini wifi-enabled computer
and entertainment hub. One with impressive battery life that won't take up space in your carry-on.

We loaded up our new 32GB iPod with music for Josh, Hebrew lessons for me, a selection of photos from our iPhone album, audio books for Z (she's partial to Lemony Snicket), a few Disney animated movies and games. We bought a headphone splitter and two sets of headphones so the kids could watch Toy Story at the same time. Unfortunately we only bought one pair of kid-sized headphones, and they were far more comfortable than the adult pair.

Now about those games. On Rookie Moms' recommendation, we downloaded iWrite Words and iChalky. Sound Shaker and Sort Slider were provided free to me by TickleTapApps so that I could review them. We were gone for 2 weeks and spent a whole lot of time in the air or driving somewhere, and both games were compelling enough to stop a crying jag cold. They were also compelling enough to start a few fights over who got to play them. Both girls mastered the noncompetitive, endless games quickly, and Sort Slider, a game that rewards you for matching a shape ended up being too easy even for 2 year old A. I'm honestly surprised it's recommended for kids 3-5. Sound Shaker (recommended for kids 4+) was the bigger hit: even I found its musical balls and hatching baby birds mesmerizing. Both games are available for $1.99 at the iTunes store.