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It's hard as a parent to avoid screen time for your kids. Honestly? It keeps them quiet than any other pacifier, the problem happens when a few minutes of Diego turns into a few hours. The lazy couch potato ethic creeps in early and not only affects the way kids learn and their attention spans, but their health as well.
The screen time isn't limited to the tv. Kids like to mimic parents, and while my 14 month old's favourite household toy is a big red broom (my wife is an obsessive sweeper), he also clamours excitedly whenever he sees my iPhone.
Toss my preschooler into the mix and then you're not just talking about Diego and Backyardigans videos on repeat, you're talking about about an obsession with all technology that goes right to the iPad. And it's not surprising. 80% of kids under 5 access the web every week. While some of them access it inadvertently through in app purchases, others are spending time with Google, games and the web.
Since your kids are doing it anyway, here are some of the best apps and websites to help your kids have a more educational experience with the internet.
Dr Seuss - a huge collection of the good doctor's books have been turned into interactive apps. Touch the screen and the characters move or make sounds.
TreehouseTV - they love the channel, so why not visit the website. There are games and characters to explore as well as some offline suggestions, like pages you can print off to colour.
Bubble Ball - how awesome is it that my 3 1/2 yr old son is obsessed with a physics game? The design is simple, get the ball from the start to the finish by applying fun movement objects and twists to gravity. He picked it up quickly and even some of the tougher puzzles he can quickly solve on his own.
ABC Pocketphonics - one of the big problems with kids getting online and immersing themselves in keyboards and touch screens is the loss of handwriting skills. Learning letters and how they're formed is still important and very helpful in learning to read. This app is one of my son's favourites.
For a longer list of websites, check out Today's Parent top 20 websites for kids. Some of them are kid friendly search engines, offer crafts and investigations and all sorts of mind play for this growing tech savvy generation.
Where are your favourite places to take your kids online?
catch the buzz .. pass it on.