Playing Baby Computer Games ? The New Parent-Child Tradition?

Imagine cuddling up with your small child to look at a picture book together that is interactive, musical, responsive and talks to you?

This is the experience that people are having who are engaged in that relatively new pastime ? playing computer games with babies.

JumpStart's Knowledge Adventure calls it "lapware", Kiddies Games' logo is "Hop on the lap and tap", and Sesame Street's "Baby and Me" opens with an animation of a baby monster hopping onto the lap of a Daddy monster to play the computer. Playing computer games with your baby is being promoted as a fun activity that a child and their caregiver can share together. And rightly so, because whatever the activity, physical, loving closeness is an important ingredient that infants need for healthy intellectual, emotional and physical development.

Reading a bedtime story to a small eager child is a tradition in many homes. As the children get older, this may be replaced by watching TV together. Our parents' families listened to the radio together. Playing on the computer with a small child may become a new type of family tradition. Home computers and internet are making their way into more and more homes. Some parents use the computer in their work and are delighted to share the computer for a fun activity with their kids. Other parents want to make sure their children become computer literate. Well-designed, interactive, educational computer games engage small children as much as the television and are more educational than TV because they incite the child to interact and think, rather than passively watch and listen. These are the reasons for the increasing popularity of toddler computer software. Although a relatively small industry, software for infants has been cited as being a very fast growing industry.

What type of computer software is available for babies, toddlers and preschoolers? There are free games on websites and there are download and CDROM software that you can buy. Most software for this age group is games, but computer story books also exist. Wonderful websites that offer free games of which many are suitable for preschoolers (preschoolers are able to do directed clicking with the mouse) are:

http://www.sesamestreet.org/sesamestreet

http://www.noggin.com

http://www.cbc .ca/kidscbc

http://www.abc.net.au/children/games

http://www.meddybemps.com

Great free sites for babies (whose skills tend to be more limited to banging the keyboard) are:

http://www.kiddiesgames.com

http://www.toddletoons.com

CDROM or download software that you buy is usually better than free internet games. The games are usually superior (more graphics, more music, more involved games for older kids) and the software takes over the entire screen, which is more appropriate for very young children who click anywhere and everywhere on the screen. Some of the well-known producers are:

Reader Rabbit software from http://www.learningcompany.com

JumpStart software from http://www.knowledgeadventure.com

Fisher-Price software from http://www.knowledgeadventure.com

Sesame Street software from http://www.encoresoftware.com or http://www.amazon.com

http://www.babywow.com

Computer game softwares for this age group make conscientious efforts to be suitably educational. To judge their effectiveness for your child, try them out with your child. If your child finds that it's fun, then it's probably educational. For a baby, fun usually means that the game responds in some way to random keyboard presses and mouse clicks, and that the game continues in a positive way even when no input is forthcoming from the baby. A preschooler will need more of a challenge or more educational content, but the game should be designed to be always fun, reactive in a positive way and self-resolving when the child does not get the correct answer. At this age, it is more important that computer games contribute positively to self-esteem, rather than conscientiously correcting incorrect answers about educational concepts that the child will master when they're older anyway. The KiddiesGames.com software is meticulous about adhering to these rules.

What types of skills are learned by playing toddler computer games? Obviously, computer software is not suitable for practicing gross motor or even fine motor skills. However, there are many types of educational concepts that computer games can help a child master, including shapes, sounds, cause and effect, identifying and naming things (such as objects and colors), increasing vocabulary, language concepts, the forms of letters and numbers, counting, pattern recognition, detail observation and word construction. At KiddiesGames, we strive to offer games for small children that are out of the ordinary, such as foreign language exposure and practicing the positions on the telephone for dialing emergency. The reactiveness and interactiveness of computer software is, of course, superior to that of books, and can be superior to that of toys, especially in the area of language. Infant computer games are also being cited as excellent resources for children with special education needs, because such games are simple, happy, brightly-colored, patient, controlled by the child and allow the child to make things happen.

An official recommendation from the American Academy of Pediatrics at http://aappolicy.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/pediatrics%3B107/2/423 is to "Discourage television viewing for children younger than 2 years, and encourage more interactive activities that will promote proper brain development, such as talking, playing, singing, and reading together." This has been taken as advice to avoid exposing those young children to the computer. However, well-designed infant software actually encourages those great activities of "talking, playing, singing, and reading together". By carrying out the play activities proposed by the computer game, the caregiver is actually prompted with a framework or script for carrying out those "talking, playing, singing, and reading" activities with the child. Experts are now saying that while computer games for infants should not replace toys and blocks and books and should not be used as an electronic babysitter, that they are yet another valid toy resource. For example, a summer 2004 newsletter from the Hawaii State Health Department at http://www.hawaii.gov/health/family-child-health/eis/summer2004 encourages playing with lapware. The emphasis is not on acquiring measurable skills or getting correct answers, but is on open-ended exploration on the part of the child ? which is another way of saying "having fun". Children are programmed to learn and practice what they learned by playing and having fun.

Playing computer games with your small child is not yet a family tradition. However, it is an enjoyable, sharing activity that is becoming more and more popular.

The author of this article, Emma Rath, produces free online and purchasable download baby and preschooler software, available at http://www.kiddiesgames.com.

In The News:

This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news

Today.com

11 books for new parents that are actually worth reading
Today.com
Sears, Ferber, the Baby Whisperers, the No-Cry Sleep Solutions — all were confident they had the solution to get babies to sleep, with very little evidence to support that confidence. ... Not you! Of course, you could never hate your husband after kids!


New York Magazine

The Best Sunscreens and Sun-Protective Clothing for Kids and Babies
New York Magazine
Buying sunscreen for babies and children involves a little more care and caution in the shopping aisle, since kids have thinner, more fragile skin. Across the board, the dermatologists I spoke to for this story recommended mineral sunscreens — ones ...


The Western Journal

Toddler Nicknamed 'Baby Einstein 2.0' After Being Born with 'Ultra-Rare' Hair Condition
The Western Journal
When parents Cara and Tom McGowan first welcomed their baby daughter Taylor into the world, they knew she was special. Like many other babies, the little girl was born without hair, and for the next five months, she appeared to be developing normally.


Kerrville Breaking News

Comfort toddler passes away, family donates organs to save other babies
Kerrville Breaking News
Killian Alexander Michlowitz, of Comfort, Texas, was born on October 18, 2016. He suffered from seizures beginning at a very young age and as time went by, the seizures got worse. Sadly, on May 20, 2018, Killian passed away at a hospital in San Antonio.


The Independent

12 best sleeping bags for babies and toddlers
The Independent
Spare a thought for the Duchess of Cambridge this evening as she battles to get a schoolboy, a toddler and a newborn baby to bed. All the hired help in the world won't guarantee her a good night's sleep. And for the more average parent - for whom night ...


NJ.com

Oh baby! This had to be the cutest Statehouse rally ever.
NJ.com
Child care centers receive just $32.12 per day per infant or toddler -- a rate that has not changed in a decade, according to a report released by the association last year. Yet infant care is more expensive because every child care worker may ...


Sun Sentinel

In one decade, more than 1200 Florida youth dead to gunfire
Sun Sentinel
Before the school shooting in Parkland gripped the nation, more than 1,000 Florida children and teenagers were slain in a decade's span. All fell victim to gun violence. The equivalent of nearly 100 Parkland massacres, a staggering 1,284 firearm ...

and more »

Moneyish

Parents are paying $200 to send their kids to baby DJ school
Moneyish
“Babies and toddlers don't need specific classes to thrive socially,” Donna Holloran, parent educator, child development specialist and owner of Babygroup, told Moneyish. “However, they do need opportunities to be around other children, so go to the ...


Wichita Eagle

'They gave us our baby back.' Paramedics honored for rescuing toddler from near-drowning
Wichita Eagle
Crystal Reed wipes tears from her eyes when she thinks back to Dec. 18. Her 18-month-old son, Kason Dube, was pulled from a half-frozen pond behind his grandparents' house in southeast Sedgwick County that day. He was cold and blue. No heartbeat, no ...

and more »

Mom ditched her baby, toddler in a hot, trash-filled apartment after eviction, Texas cops say
Fort Worth Star Telegram
Kerri Rochelle Green was evicted from her Houston apartment in March. Weeks later, on April 23, a manager at the complex made a horrifying discovery when she went into her old unit to make sure it was empty. Green's two young children had apparently ...

Google News

Sharing Baby Photos Online with Birth Announcements & Baby Photo Album Services

Congratulations! You're a new parent and you've brought your precious,... Read More

Does The Size Of Your Baby Matter?

Does size matter? No, not that! Is your baby too... Read More

The Making of a Mini-Model

Baby modeling isn't an exclusive art - nor is it... Read More

Tantrums - Breaking the Cycle

Tantrums don't suddenly appear. They are learned. Controlling or eliminating... Read More

Benefits of Making Your Own Homemade Baby Food

Making your own homemade baby food will ensure that what... Read More

Baby Room Decor Tips & Hints

When you plan for a baby room decor, the best... Read More

Colic Baby Bootcamp - Parent Survival Tips

Surviving a baby with colic truly deserves an award of... Read More

Fussy Eaters

The experts often tell us that in order to ensure... Read More

Baby Product Recall

Products are recalled all the time for posing a danger... Read More

Potty Training Your Child: The Five Potty Training Methods

There are many different ways to potty train your toddler.... Read More

Most Important Decision of a Lifetime - What to Name Your Baby

Most people don't know the meaning of their name, but... Read More

Potty Training Facts

Potty training, toilet training, toilet teaching or toilet learning are... Read More

Gift Giving For Baby

Since they are you friends or relatives, chances are you... Read More

14 Steps To Reducing Your Infants Reflux

Many of the things listed below will help with your... Read More

Baby Shower Checklist for Planning a Baby Shower

Most shower checklists will suggest you start planning approximately four... Read More

A Surprise Baby Shower Can Be the Perfect Way to Celebrate

Throwing a surprise baby shower doesn't have to be difficult.... Read More

Jogging Strollers?How to Get Back in Shape!

Add a little extra push and a jogging stroller to... Read More

Tips To Get Your Child To Stop Using A Pacifier

Limit the time you allow your child to use a... Read More

Guide to Choosing Toddler Toys

The play has many more functions for toddlers than for... Read More

Every Baby Shower Needs Great Baby Shower Games!

Games for a baby shower help the baby shower hostess... Read More

How To Choose a Baby Formula

Breast milk is the most natural food for your baby,... Read More

Intersting Baby Facts - Strange But True!

* A baby is born every seven seconds.* Babies are... Read More

How to Choose a Car Seat That Meets The Needs of Your Baby

There are many types of car seats available on the... Read More

Stroller Facts And Tips

Did you know the first strollers appeared during the early... Read More

Baby Strollers Tips and Advice

You have just learned that you are expecting a bundle... Read More