I have never been keen on my children having too much screen time, whether that be the television, my phone or the computer. But as her school starting date approaches, I have been more keen to teach her to use a tablet.
I often think back to my own school days, when IT lessons were nothing short of traumatic. I remember sitting in lessons where everyone else knew what they were doing, and I had no idea how to turn the thing on. I really didn’t want this for Libby.
So, a few months ago we bought an iPad. It has been very clear from the start that it is for the whole family and not just for the children, but it has been great watching them get to grips with using it. I try to make sure that anything they are watching is educational and beneficial. So when KidzInMind offered me the opportunity to review their app, I jumped at the chance.
KidzInMind is a bit of a ‘super app’ for pre-school aged children. It incorporates numerous different apps, including games to play, cartoons to watch and other fun activities such as drawing and creating funny photos with the camera. All apps on there have been developed in association with experts to ensure they are educational, safe, secure and beneficial to children’s development. You also can’t make in-app purchases, which is quite a relief.
KidzInMind is really easy to use, with everything stored neatly in shelves that children can just tap to get going. This makes total sense, since as they get bigger and have use of the full range of apps on the ipad, they will be opening them in much the same way.
Since installing the app, both girls have been having a go at the different games and watching the cartoons. The cartoons are all very easy to watch, entertaining and actually quite amusing. The soundtracks are sweet too and I’m happy for the girls to relax for a few minutes and watch them.
That said, my two are much more into things that they can interact with, so the games and activities have been the things they have really loved. Libby and I went to a café the other day and while we were having our drinks, we sat and played a few games and had a mess around.
It was actually really good fun and the perfect thing to do together. We loved the little app that uses the camera to put outfits on you and make you look daft. We both thought we made rather good pirates, don’t you agree? And Libby makes a great Spiderman!
Some of the games on KizInMind are aimed at younger children like Lia, but Libby enjoys them too. A great example is the Baby Chef app. Libby loved dragging the ingredients into the pans or onto the plates to make delicious looking meals. She then taught Lia to do the same and they spent a fun half an hour creating their own dinners and chatting about what they wanted to eat next.
Some of the other games are aimed at older children and are ideal for their development. There are games where you match up the animals, characters or pieces according to shape, size, colour or various other factors.
As well as matching, there are sequences such as numbers, building blocks, the process required to make rain and the development of a tree in spring. Again, they use a simple drag and drop method to play them. I really like these because they are the ideal way to learn about complicated processes in a simple manner.
Another activity that we all got really into on KidzInMind was creating art and pictures. I know I’m probably not supposed to admit this – what with being the wrong side of 35 and all – but I found it really relaxing to play with the art games while the children were out!
You can either create a masterpiece just by drawing with your finger, or choose one of the apps that give you a pretty template and use the drag and drop method to make a picture. I think you’ll agree, my art is pretty impressive isn’t it?
So aside from how much I enjoy playing with it, do I think that KidzInMind is good value for money? The thing to note here is that your initial week’s access to KidzInMind is free, so you can check for yourself whether it is worthwhile before you pay for it. From then on, you can pay 79p per month for limited features, or £2.99 per month for access to the whole app.
I personally really like the fact that you can pay for this on a monthly basis rather than being stung with an up front fee. I know what my children are like and how quickly their tastes change, so being able to use the features they love for as long as they want to suits us fine. When my subscription on the app comes to an end, I will definitely subscribe on a monthly basis if it is still their go-to app of choice.
I am more than happy to pay £2.99 a month to know that when the girls are playing on the iPad, they are learning and developing key skills. And more importantly, that they are safe, they’re not going to cost me a fortune by making in-app purchases and they’re not going to come across anything inappropriate.
If you’re not sure whether KidzInMind is right for you, you can head to the KidzInMind website, where they will tell you a bit more about it and you can find links to download the app on both Google Play for Android and the App Store for IOS.
Please note, this is a collaborative post with KidzInMind, but all views, opinions, pirates, Spiderman and quite frankly fabulous artistic creations are my own.