There is not much better than playing with your child. Laughing together, learning together, giggles and fun. Your tablet can be a part of this playtime. Some apps are perfect for creating fun times together!
You may find yourself being a playmate with your child, following her lead and being silly and playful as you explore a favorite game or introduce a new one. Maybe you and your child are more interested in being collaborators in a game, one where you must work together to achieve a score or assemble a puzzle. Of course, you can also be in competitive roles -- there may be an app which you and your child are evenly matched or she may even beat you!
Think about which kind of play will be best for you and your child. Some kids thrive on competition and others prefer collaborating or teaming up to beat a score. But whatever you choose, try to choose something you and your child will both enjoy. You may need to set a time limit before you start.
Good apps for playing together may allow for (or require) multiple simultaneous touches, have built-in turn-taking, or may have multiple roles. Watch out for apps where one person is mostly just watching -- playing together is what this is all about.
As you play together you may find yourself saying things like:
"Show me how to do ____"
"Let's make a picture/song/story together."
"What would happen if..."
"What shall we try here?"
"Can you help me?"
"Let's see how we do this together."
"Let's race to see who can find… (or do…)"
Some apps for playing together:
You and your child work together to solve increasingly challenging levels in this app. Some levels may need two hands (or more) and two brains as well. Fun and great thinking together! (iOS)
Be the train engineer and switch the tracks to help the train pick up the cargo in the order required. Explore a bit and then begin to plan a path and predict the outcome together in this problem solving app. Remember, it might not always be the most efficient path, but you are "riding" this train together. (iOS, Android)
You and your children compete to find matching items on opposing sides of your iPad. Fun and frenzied action by you and up to three children may make this a favorite for some children, and some parents, too. (iOS)
In this search-and-find app you and your little one can see who can find each item first. (iOS)
Cooperative or Collaborative
The goal of this app is just to play. Take photos of each other and then add some crazy hair. Style a favorite stuffed animal's hair too! Play at hair styling and watch as your photo is transformed with crazy hairstyles. Giggles are practically guaranteed. (iOS, Android, Kindle Fire)
Any little slap or touch will create sounds with visual feedback too. Even the very youngest "Slappers" will delight in the sounds they make. Take turns, play sounds and explore beats, rhythm and sound together. Maybe you will even make up silly songs to sing as your little one taps or slaps the screen (iPad, Android)
Be sure to check out our book "Using an iPad with Your Preschooler" for even more apps and ideas!