iPad for a 13-month-old

May 17, 2010 By: erik Category: Geeky, Offspring, Parenting 923 views

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Nora using her iPadMy father has an excellent story about reading an editorial in Creative Computing magazine once about how children could comprehend and do useful things on personal computers. The author of the article had a four year old that knew about games and how to use the keyboard, etc. My father wrote another editorial letter for the magazine, about me, that went roughly like this:

Get Me Off This Rock! (crop)

My son also uses our personal computer. He has his own diskette with games he likes on it, and he knows that whenever no one else is using the computer, he can ask me – he knows that he’s not allowed to touch anything on the computer desk – and I will put in the disk and boot up his games. Last week I saw him go into the computer room, so I followed him, but I stopped at the doorway and watched as he climbed up on the chair and reached for the diskette box. Rather than immediately yell at him for touching what he knows is forbidden, I watched as he opened the box, thumbed through the disks until he found his games disk, inserted it into the disk drive, closed the drive, turned on the computer, and began playing one of his games. It was that day that I realized that we adults vastly underestimate our children’s abilities. It was the day after his second birthday.

My father has always been somewhat of an early adopter, and his personal computer hobby in the early eighties quickly turned him into a computer guru at work, which strongly shaped his career path. So it wasn’t too odd that he pre-ordered an iPad a few months ago. What I wasn’t expecting at all, however, was that, after evaluating the product and its applications oriented towards children, he would bring his iPad and give it to his 13-month-old granddaughter, Nora. He retold me the story of his editorial letter this morning to remind me not to automatically assume that a child who is still learning to walk won’t understand the abstraction of working with virtual objects “inside” a computing device. She has only had two or three days to play with it, but Nora clearly understands that there are things on the screen for touching, and that touching the screen sometimes results in a sound. The relationship between Nora and her iPad will be a fascinating one to watch develop.

Nora using her iPad

Nora using her iPad

Nora using her iPad

Nora and Grandpa using her iPad
Nora and her grandfather playing with the iPad.

Nora and Grandpa using her iPad
Learning what a “tiger” is.

Nora using her iPad
I look forward to seeing how Nora’s computer skills evolve.

  • This is fantastic on so many levels.

    I think it’s great that you’re getting Nora started with the latest iteration of the future while it’s barely under way, and I salute her grandfather for taking the decisive step of equipping her with the technology that is, for the time being, cutting edge. She may not remember her first iPad years on, but she’ll certainly never entirely forget it, either.

  • Please keep us updated on this! I’d also be interested to know if it helps with her English language acquisition, or if you install various apps in Spanish as well. Will likely help her coordination as well.

    A very cool dad you have. And a very cool granddad.

  • Our grandson was 18 months old when our daughter and son- in- law bought an iPad. It didn’t too long before he knew what icon took him to see Toy Story and other videos he enjoyed. He learned how to turn it on, turn the volume up and go back to a previous selection.
    One day my daughter thought it was just too quiet and didn’t see or hear our grandson.She found him on her bed playing with the iPad!
    Our son-in-law is an Apple Inc employee so our grandson will have advantages other kids might not. It does go to show you given the opportunity and environment just what a toddler can learn.

  • Judi Edwards

    Grandson now 22 months old and still enjoys the iPad! He watched as Dad selected movies from netflix via the Apple TV device. He figured that method immediately!
    His proficiency on the iPad made shopping for Christmas in the Fisher-Price section very hard. He would be bored I’m sure. He does however enjoy the typical Legos, books and toy train set Santa brought him!
    He watches the Apple stocks daily with face beaming and jabbers with delight as the stock climbs to new heights! NOT! But that would probably be his Grandma doing that!
    Have a great new year!

    • erik

      Thank you to both Judis for such wonderful comments.

  • Melissa Sexton

    Is it ok to use the picture of Nora with her Ipad in a publication we are doing for our school system about how technology is used by children before they enter school?

    • erik

      Sure, Melissa. If there’s an electronic version, please post a link to it here.