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Posted by Deb, October 25, 2010

iPad Apps That Educate and Inspire Creativity

The New York Times recently wrote an article about the rising popularity of the iPhone and apps for toddlers. Parents are increasingly turning to app-filled devices to occupy their kids. A little iPad or iPhone time in the doctor’s office waiting room, the supermarket, and of course the back seat of the car really can keep everyone happy.

But the New York Times story raises questions about whether using the device is harmful to the developing minds of young children. From the NYT:

“Along with fears about dropping and damage, however, many parents sharing iPhones with their young ones feel nagging guilt. They wonder whether it is indeed an educational tool, or a passive amusement like television. The American Academy of Pediatrics has long advised parents not to let their children watch any TV until they are past their second birthday.”

With every technological development, there’s bound to be some hand-wringing. Ever since television was invented, parents have had to balance screen time with other activities. Spending too much time using any sort of screen can’t be good for anyone. But we believe that apps can provide an educational experience. And we’re grateful to have an opportunity to make apps that don’t merely pacify children.

Our apps inspire kids. When designed with a child’s curiosity in mind, an app can open up new worlds, enhance literacy and foster a child’s own creativity. For us, one of the most exciting parts of creating an app is testing it with kids and watching them explore.

As we near the end of development on our 3-D Three Little Pigs app, we’ve been sharing it with more and more young readers. They hear the story and read along. They spin the pigs in the air, make the van race ahead, help the wolf blow down the houses and impersonate the characters’ voices. We’ve even seen some American children try on British accents! And we see this as a good thing.

But the best thing of all is something we hadn’t anticipated. We are seeing kids take something away from the app and incorporate it into play when they aren’t using the iPad.

In one case, a 6-year-old boy in New York used our 3-D Three Little Pigs app and then – completely unprompted – grabbed paper and pen and made his own booklet of the story. He took the digital experience and made it physical. He took the app we created and created something himself. If you didn’t already view the video above, see what I mean right here.

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