Tablet or other for preschooler

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Tablet or other for preschooler

Postposted on Tue Nov 19, 2013 3:58 pm

My wife wants me to look at an all-in-one toy to keep my preschooler daughter entertained for a long trip we'll be taking next summer. She's interested in a LeapPad 2, which will be available for $35 on a Black Friday doorbuster special, but the apps can be so expensive ($25 for a cartridge) versus what's on the iOS and Android stores.

SWMBO's got a 2012 Nexus 7 now and we'll probably be getting her a Nexus 5 next month once our cell contract expires. I'd rather let kiddo play with the phone (it'll have a protective case) but SWMBO's worried about my daughter getting used to that idea and wanting it frequently.[1] I don't have my own tablet, being content with a Kindle 3 and my dearly-departed Cr-48, but I do have an older 11.6" laptop that dual-boots Lubuntu and Windows 7, and the kid's comfortable with a touchpad, keyboard, and touchscreen. Between the two of us we have a large Steam library; the age-appropriate stuff is from the Popcap bundle and some of the Humble Indie Bundles.

The trip itself will be 2-3 hours on an airliner followed by ~a week of traveling around California followed by a return plane trip, most likely in economy class. My daughter's pre-literate, can spell a few words, knows her letters & numbers, loves drawing (Tuxpaint is a favorite), is big into imaginary play.

Basically I'm a bit overwhelmed by choice at this point and would like help narrowing down what I should do.

[1] she's not as good at telling our daughter "no" as I am. ;)
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Re: Tablet or other for preschooler

Postposted on Tue Nov 19, 2013 4:32 pm

I started to let my daughter play with my old phone, which is a Samsung Galaxy S Vibrant running CM10.1 in airplane mode, when she was 3 or so. We let her play with in car rides and other times on occasion. We laid down strict rules at the start, because it's easier to relax the restrictions than it is to tighten them up. She's allowed the device when we offer it to her and she's not allowed to ask for it. If she asks for it, I don't say "no" - I say "What's the rule?" and she knows the rule is she can't ask for it. So I don't have to say no (way better than the Kindle Fire "we parent so you don't have to" thing). She also has a Leapster 2 that my wife's grandmother bought her for Christmas 2 years ago along with 2 games that she is always allowed access to. She's kind of bored with it though, and new games are ridiculously pricy because they're on EEPROMs.

The problem we had -- well, the problem I had since it was my responsibility to get it working -- was finding apps that don't requrie an always-on internet connection. More often than not it's the free apps that require internet access because they want to load ads, but I don't allow anything on the device that does ads. There's a Sprout app that does no advertising, and I've bought maybe $5 worth of stuff that's on there. Angry Birds, Toca Hair Salon, nothing particularly educational. The Sprout app is her favorite, though.

Hope this helps.
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Re: Tablet or other for preschooler

Postposted on Wed Nov 20, 2013 1:17 am

Update the Nexus 7 to 4.3+, turn on the multi-user parental features, and save spending more $$ for yet another gadget?
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Re: Tablet or other for preschooler

Postposted on Wed Nov 20, 2013 1:48 am

Loves drawing? How about some crayons and paper. Put the money into an education savings/investment account.
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Re: Tablet or other for preschooler

Postposted on Wed Nov 20, 2013 9:10 am

Spot the guy without a kid. :roll:
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Re: Tablet or other for preschooler

Postposted on Wed Nov 20, 2013 9:15 am

Forget the LeapPad, we had one and it wasn't as effective as teaching my kid by myself using a simple 5,000-word phonics course like the 1956 Loring Method.

You might want to get her used to iPads, which are the virtual content standard in most private or charter primary schools. A Mini would be sized right. I might have recommended a cheaper Android 7-incher but the availability of apps can be spotty and the malware issues would be harrowing if an older kid with malicious skills gets a-hold of it...
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Re: Tablet or other for preschooler

Postposted on Wed Nov 20, 2013 5:42 pm

bthylafh wrote:Spot the guy without a kid. :roll:


Yup, spot the guy without a kid, because kids had nothing to do other than stare out the window until tablets came out 6 years ago. I'm just offering an alternative, plus one that will pay off long-term by saving the money, but if the OP wants to use this as an excuse to buy a new tablet, good for him or her, it's not my money.
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