Bowen was 1 year old when I started sharing the ipad with him. I got a protective foam case from suchacase so Bowen could hold the ipad and use it without breaking it. This case is the only one I've tried so I don't know if there are better cases out there, but this one is great.
The thick foam case has protected the ipad and its screen extremely well. I thought the screen could end up breaking since it had no protection, but nothing has happened so far, nor even when Bowen has thrown the ipad to the floor or when it has landed flat on the screen.
I started using the ipad just to show him a few videos during lunch time or before going to bed. I wanted him to see/experience things he couldn't see at home with me, so our first videos were documentaries about animals. Those didn't get his attention for too long.
Then, I found a couple apps that had videos that were fun, attractive and that were also going to teach him something useful: BabyTV and Baby First.
You have to subscribe to get the full version with all the videos, but we didn't buy it. There are plenty free videos available and Bowen didn't get bored. His favorite shows are Baby U, Harry the Bunny and Charlie and the numbers.
We also used youtube. These are some of his favorite videos:
Having an ipad was a life-saver when I traveled to Spain alone with Bowen (14 months) and pregnant (5months). It kept him entertained during the long flying hours and it also gave me a break so I could "rest" a little bit (if you get any rest when you are traveling with a toddler on your own... ha!).
Bowen loves the ipad. It has also made things easier for me when I had to keep him busy while I was taking a shower or nursing baby Griffin, and it also made long road trips more manageable.
I know people are concerned about how much time our kids spend in front of a screen, but I don't think using the ipad can be compared to watching TV. I guess it all depends on how you use it. Most of the apps I download are educational. I sit and play with him, teach him how to use it, talk about it, and then give him some independent time. I have seen a big improvement in his vocabulary since he started using apps and it amazes me how fast he is learning other skills through these games. Of course, we still have regular toys, puzzles, books, construction blocks that we use everyday.
These are all the apps we have in our ipad right now. Some are too simple for him now but he still uses them.
From 12-15 months:
From left to right: Contrast Color, Black & White, Roly Poly, Animals, Monkey, Shapes & Colors, Soothing, Giggle Gang, G'night Safari, ScratchSketch, Puppy Play and Xylophone.
My favorites apps from this group are: Monkey, Goodnight Safari and Puppy Play.
The giggle band also made lunch time a little bit easier.
Best thing: They are all free.
From 15-18 months:
From left to right: Baby First HD, Baby TV HD, Preschool Games, Where is my Baby, Animals, Peekaboo Kids, Puzzle for Children, App for Kids, Talking Pocoyo, Lotto 1, Animal World, Kids Learning, Things that Go Game, First Vehicles, Bilingual Child Spanish, Mini Book, Learning Games, Play with Larry, and Where is Harry.
This group has a lot of great apps. Bowen loves counting numbers, making puzzles, matching pairs... Lots of fun! Most of them are free but I paid for the Mini Book app. This app is not only cute but totally worth it.
From left to Right: Baby First Words, Kidpedia, Where is Puppy's nose, Peekaboo, Spatter & Spark, Potty Animals, Potty Time, On the Potty, ABC Keyboard, ABC Alphabet, Alphabet, First Words Sampler, and Homer.
One of the best apps in this group is Homer. I don't have the full version yet, but I will buy it once Bowen is ready for it. The free version offers a lot of activities and it is really well done.
Another app I think is totally worth it is the Baby First Words. I love the graphics and sounds. Bowen has learned so much using it!
I also like Alphabet (the one with the picture of a robot). Bowen is learning how to type and trace words, the alphabet, and, this is crazy but, by doing this, he is also learning the sounds of the letters and a couple times I've heard him sounding out a word! pretty cool!
So, what about you?
Do you let your son/daughter use the ipad? Do you know any other interesting apps?