S. and I knew from day one we wouldn’t keep Mike from glowing screens. We agreed that while we live in a technology based world and our son should be a digital native, screen time still needed to be limited and purposeful. Do we use the iPad or Disney Junior as a babysitter? Yes, occasionally. Let’s face it – sometimes a sure-fire distraction is necessary for survival. But do we keep an iPad in his crib or channel surf on a Saturday? Absolutely not.
We started looking at apps that were free, but quickly found that we got what we paid for – either an eventual purchase or something that didn’t interest our discerning child. Also, we were less than thrilled with the non-stop advertising.
Luckily we found the answer we were looking for in the Sago Mini, a cool and creative collection of apps for toddlers and pre-schoolers. (Full disclosure: We purchased our apps at full price and were sent free downloads by Sago. But hopefully you all know me well enough to know it’s going to take a lot more than a free app for me to recommend a product.)
Sago Mini apps are not free; they run about $2.99 each and are worth every penny. We have built our library to approximately five games so far, but I use the word ‘game’ loosely because there is no end goal, no level, no rewards. The apps are more based on free play and discovery.
Mike’s current favorite (and ours too!) is a simple one called Space Explorer. With his chubby little finger, he drags the space dog round the galaxy where robots, stars, aliens, and the moon are encountered. At each stop, something happens to the dog – the alien hugs him, the robot sings, the stars disappear. There is no set course or a right or wrong way to go. Mike, by way of the dog, simply glides around space seeing what there is to discover.
Mike’s other Sago Mini favorite is Monsters. This one is slightly more structured than Space Explorer but still allows him to follow his own plan. A monster appears on the screen and has to be dressed, fed, and have his teeth brushed (something Mike is strongly opposed to). After all that is completed, the Monster’s picture must be taken. It’s a simple app that leads to lots of giggling when Mike decides to brush something other than the Monster’s teeth. I confess that after the Monster eats, he burbs, causing Mike to laughs like a crazy man before he politely says “excuse me”.
Sago Mini’s company quote really sums up what they are working towards and have successfully achieved so far:
“The scandal of education is that every time you teach something, you deprive a child of the pleasure and benefit of discovery.” – Seymour Papert
I can’t praise Sago Mini enough for creating unique, simple apps for toddlers and preschoolers. Because I have become so enamored of their products, I contacted them with a compliment. Much to my surprise, they thanked me by providing five free downloads. That’s what I call good customer service! Enter to win one of FIVE free downloads this week below.
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