It’s no secret my kids use the iPad. We actually pose pretty strict time limits, but when we limit too much, the kids end up watching more television which is not the desired result.
One of the problems we have with the iPad is the kids can easily switch from games to shows. We prefer them to play games, but don’t want to delete the show options entirely (they do come in handy sometimes) so we try to hide YouTube and the Disney app in the back of weird overcrowded folders. That never works— the kids are too smart for our lame attempts at technology subterfuge.
The solution seems to be to find great games that will engage the kids enough, so they won’t want to switch over to passive viewing. (Especially passive viewing that includes that Disney Collector lady!)
In my quest to find engaging games, I have downloaded lots of educational apps starring TV characters. This works for Mazzy but are usually too advanced for Harlow. She can only play for only so long before she gets frustrated.
Both Mazzy and Harlow love princess stuff but every princess app seems to be about putting on dresses and jewelry. In addition to offering no educational value whatsoever, the apps also restrict the good dresses and jewelry for parents who are willing to shell out small fortunes for virtual wardrobes.
When Mazzy uses one of the princess games, she is constantly begging to amp up her princess experience— Can I get the ballroom pack? Can I get the tiara collection? I want the pink earrings with the lock on them! THEY ARE SOOOOOOOO PRETTY!!!!!!
The conversation is always the same.
“The tiara collection costs $5.99. That is too much money.”
“BUT I REALLY WANT THE TIARA COLLECTION!!!!”
“Sorry, Mazzy. I am not going to buy it. You can buy three new apps for that price!”
“If you can’t keep it together, I am not going to let you play with the iPad at all.”
When Harlow uses a princess app, she falls into a purchasing wormhole every five seconds. Only she doesn’t know what is going on, only that she can’t get anything to work.
“It’s not working! It’s not working! It’s not working!” Harlow screams until I click the cancel button, touch five different arrows and finally get her back to home base.
“Why don’t you play this game instead?”
I hate the princess apps, can you tell? I don’t even know why I downloaded them in the first place. A moment of desperation, I am sure.
Anyway. Recently, Sago Mini emailed me about their new Fairy Tales exploration app, appropriate for ages 2-4 years old. (My parenting sweet spot!) Sago said the app “lets kids pull back the curtain on an enchanted forest filled with hidden surprises, wonderful delights and engaging characters.”
My kids like hidden surprises.
“Fairy Tales puts kids in full control, providing a rich and playful world that leaves plenty of room for imagination and creative storytelling.”
My kids like storytelling.
“Kids can explore the magical world alongside their friend, Jinja the cat.”
Harlow loves cats! She even pretends to be a cat half the time!
But do you know what really sold me?
“As with all the Sago Mini apps, Fairy Tales has no in-app purchases or third-party advertising whatsoever, so kids are free to play without interruption.”
I actually already owned Sago Mini Doodlecast (which I highly recommend) so I decided to let my kids give Fairy Tales a try.
THEY LOVED IT.
There is no game play— it’s just a magical world in which your child can move Jinja the cat up into the sky, through the trees, under a waterfall, back down to land, while interacting with many different characters along the way.
Every time Jinja approaches an interactive part of the world, a gold starburst appears. Your child moves Jinja over the burst and then something surprising happens. And the same spot might behave differently the second time you come across it.
For instance, the first time Jinga runs into a unicorn (located high up in the trees), the unicorn smiles and gives Jinga a hug. The second time Jinga interacts with the unicorn, Jinga offers him a cupcake, the unicorn eats it and then the unicorn farts. The unicorn farts! That’s enough reason to buy this app alone.
Jinja runs into garden gnomes, monsters and other familiar Sago Mini friends that appear in their other apps, like Robin Hood, Rosie the Witch, Prince Jack and Harvey “starring as” Rapunzel. Rapunzel’s long blonde hair turns into an Afro when Jinga eats the coin, which made Harlow laugh out loud.
Almost every detail of the world— from the acorns in the trees to the clouds in the sky to the fireflies Jinja collects along the way, demonstrate an interesting cause and effect. For a toddler who is just learning how touch technology works, Fairy Tales is the perfect introduction.
I thought the app was a little simple for Mazzy, but she loved it anyway, particularly the magical dress-up chest that Jinja can jump in, emerging as either a princess or a knight.
The day after I first showed Harlow the app, she asked for the iPad so she could play with the cat. Then she sat still for a solid amount of time, quietly engaged, except when a new character would present itself.
“A monster!” she yelled.
“He’s a funny monster,” she clarified, just in case I was worried.
And I sat beside them both on the couch, without lifting a finger to get Harlow out of a purchasing wormhole or fighting with Mazzy about virtual earrings.
That, my friends, is worth $2.99. (You can download it here.)
Today, I am giving away a Sago Mini Plush Toy ($24.99) and a $20 iTunes Gift Card, so you can download Sago Mini Fairy Tales, obviously (among other things).
To enter, you must be a Mommy Shorts subscriber. If you are not one already, you can subscribe to daily or weekly emails here.
Then, leave a comment below telling me the most annoying thing your kid does with your iPad. Ask for princess app upgrades, mistakingly delete your email inbox, that kind of thing.
Winner will be chosen randomly and announced on February 13th. Just promise me you won’t spend your $20 on virtual tiaras.
UPDATE: Congratulations to Anna Dhody! You have won a Sago Mini Plush Toy and $20 iTunes Gift Card. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to claim your prize.
This post was sponsored by Sago Mini, but all thoughts, opinions and love of unicorn farts are my own.
OMG she deletes entire apps and moves everything around. It drives me bananas!
My son gets stuck in the upgrade “wormhole” within minutes. Our iPad is old and it freezes up. Frustrating!
my son likes to watch “ei-ei” (old mcdonald) on youtube and sometimes clicks on the song in different languages. not so annoying, but interesting to overhear!
My kids will friend request random people on Facebook. I’ve figured out that it happens when I let them watch a video someone has posted and then they click on other people’s comments. Sometimes these random strangers accept me! That’s how I find out. Awkward!
The most annoying, hands down, is watch Caillou on Netflix. I’m not sure what the appeal is for anyone!
My kids get upset when a sibling plays ‘their’ game, which means new levels/coin purchases/upgrades that the original kid didn’t do on his own. Then there’s math bingo (mom, what’s 7+4? Mom? Mom?).
Always makes her way back to watching caillou…can’t stand that show haha!
I love this! I’ve been looking for new apps to occupy the miserable 2 year old I live with…. I mean my beautiful wonderful daughter. My phone and iPad are no longer mine, she runs around saying mine! Eliie’s phone! There are many things she does, deletes apps, calls people, facetimes them. She changed some setting the other day that I had no idea existed and had no idea how to fix it.
Omg, it’s a tie: the snot slime streaks – he’s not even sick, whose boogers are these?!?! And/Or where the heck did this Russian bootleg cartoon come from?! Surely we’re on an FCC watch list now, all because I wanted to go #2 in peace. And, also, surprise eggs can go back to Hades. For serious.
I don’t have an Ipad (surface pro <3) but I have a no longer supported HP Tablet with apps for my 2 year old. So if she destroys it no biggie. Except she doesn't quite get the coloring book app and screams bloody murder when it doesn't do what she wants. I wish she would break it sometimes…
Hannah is notorious for moving and/or deleting apps. We just got back from a trip from Chicago to LA so the iPad got a workout. I think my husband is still trying to remember which ones she deleted. He knows something is missing but can’t remember what. Kind of cracks me up.
I received a $20 itunes gift card once. Forgot to restrict app purchasing. The money was spent in 5 minutes on her cake maker app. We now have every single type of cake decoration pack you could possibly think of. Lesson learned…
Randomly orders things from Amazon (I spend a lot of time on chat/phone with customer service) and also doesn’t wait for things to load and will poke at the screen to make things move ‘faster’
My son is only 5 months old so he’s not really playing with apps yet. However, he thinks my iPhone is THE BEST CHEW TOY IN THE WORLD and really dislikes it when I remove it from his slobbery little hands.
my 18 month old closes everything out because he likes to “talk” to Siri and then gets mad because his game isn’t playing anymore.
The most annoying thing my son does is after his “screen time” he will proceed to discuss in detail every aspect of his game, how much things cost, characters I’ve never heard of etc…this wouldn’t be an issue if the conversation was 5-10 minutes no it’s the next hour, or the whole day and it’s exhausting.
You tube! My 1.5 year old is obsessed with random video after video! I can’t wait to download this tonight!! Thank you
My baby is only6 months, so she isn’t on my iphone very much, but she is always reaching for it! She knocks it off the couch in her attempts to get a hold on it. We do let her play with Fisher Price Contract Color app once a week (if that), which causes her to break out into a HUGE smile when she hears the opening music. We have created a monster. 😉
Yup! Moving apps and deleting them. Or that everytime they get their hands on it, they sneeze or cough all over it! Or that they get their sticky handprints all over the screen. 🙂
I promise I won’t buy virtual tiara’s.
My daughter will watch these YouTube videos/songs that go “Daddy finger, daddy finger where are you? Here I am. Here I am. How do you do?” The song goes through the whole family. And she watches them over and over and over. Sometimes the “fingers” have a costume, or are characters from a show. But the words are always the same. I find that song stuck in my head way too often.
OMG, my daughter does the EXACT SAME THING!! Then reenacts the finger family over and over again at bed time, nap time, any time. All day long. And she puts pen caps, tape, anything that fits on her fingers and pretends they are daddy, mommy, brother, sister, and baby….
deletes EVERYTHING. then cries about it. (does this qualify for “why my child is crying” lol)
My son loves watching these weird you tube videos where people pretend play with cars, Legos or figures. It drives me nuts! And I’ve tried hiding the app and he finds the “red button”. Even when I put on kid song videos he still manages to make his way to these strange videos
My baby touches the screen while I am using the ipad and magically goes back to the last app that was used. I’ve watched her do it a dozen times and I still don’t know how she is doing it. And she deletes netflix like it’s her job.
The most annoying this my son does is lick my iPad. Then I try to clean it with water and a towel and my husband yells at me and tells me I’m not supposed to clean it like that. I just want to yell, “You men, just leave me alone so I can continue to move in tenants to my Tiny Tower!”
Our youngest keeps default setting my Trivia Crack to other languages so I get random French people using my lives up.
Disney Collector. Need I say more?
Deletes MY apps and face times my relatives!
She plays apps that automatically post an update on my Facebook page. So my status will say “Becky has defeated the princess” or something equally ridiculous.
If you don’t want your children to do anything other than the app that you want them on, turn on the guided access. They will then have to come to you in order to change apps. This is a life saver!! You can also change the settings to where children can’t delete apps.
Well I finally got smart and disabled the in-app purchases, after I lost $6 to Pet Rescue Saga. But when my daughter is playing a game that has locked levels/accessories she whines and cries about it and it drives me nuts. She needs to learn she’ll never get them, Momma is too cheap.
As much as I don’t like the idea of my 18 month old using the iPad anytime soon, it’s inevitable because she sees her big brother using it. I really like this app because it’s perfect for toddlers! Thanks! The most annoying thing is when I say “no” to buying upgrades to an app and then my husband buys the full version of the game and doesn’t tell me.
My 3 year old is good for taking my phone when I don’t realize it. She then hits random numbers in no particular order in an attempt to unlock the phone, which surprisingly to her does not work. And it never fails, she always does this 10 seconds before I need to make a call, want to check my email, ect. and of course, I have to wait for the phone to no longer be disabled before I can use it again.
My daughter drools or licks the ipad. It just ends up so gross!
Oh my son’s add so many app shortcuts to the homepage on our nook. I’ll get it back and there’s this entire page or Lego games spread out all over like the real legos in their room!
Or my 2 year olds new thing: to open my ebooks and change my page!!
My soon to be 2 year olds goes into my contacts and tries to FaceTime each and every one. She also likes to slam my iPad on the floor when she gets frustrated with an App (but that’s more what she does to it not with it).
Omg…the whining. All.the.whining! Netflix loads and it’s the end of yhe world as we know it.
My son is obsessed with watching various people play mine craft on YouTube. I have to be careful, or he can click himself into some seriously inappropriate videos. I try to keep him to a particular YouTube channel of someone who I know doesn’t swear while playing or do other inappropriate for a 5 year old things. He does actually PLAY mine craft too, which I prefer, but he is just obsessed with watching others play it on YouTube. Ugh.
Finding a surprise charge for the entire first season of Octonauts on my debit card was AWE-SOME (not so much) thanks to a click happy 2.5 year old…. Luckily the folks at Amazon were nice enough to refund my $$
Take back your iPads, Moms and Dads! Buy them a LeapPad (if you can). Educational games and learning programs plus you can set parent locks and time limits that are truly hard to crack. Those things have helped loads in teaching my 2 four year olds math and reading. The games are more expensive, but they constantly run online deals for huge percentages off. $15 for a Little Mermaid game that makes them solve equations and puzzles to unlock cool dresses and accessories in the dress up game is way worth it. Kids get to use their brains to upgrade instead of mommy’s credit card.
My son either a – gets stuck on an ad or b-ends up watching youtube in chinese!
My favorite apps for my 4 & 2 year olds are:
Endless Alphabet / Endless Reader / Endless Numbers – these are not free – far from it – and do have in app purchases for additional words/letters/numbers – but no ads at all. They are both educational and engaging and it’s amazing to watch your toddler put the letters together. Endless Reader is more advanced but even my 2 year old can do it.
Todo Math – also not free, but really awesome for learning math concepts without realizing it. Also has time, calendar, and money concepts. Too advanced for my 2 year old and almost too advanced for my 4 year old but she amazes me as she works out addition and subtraction. It has enough that I know she will keep learning with this one for years.
We subscribe to ABCmouse.com, and their app (with $8/month subscription) is just like the computer version.
These apps do add up, but my kids stay home with me, and I work 32 hours per week. My 4 year old does go to preschool, but it’s only 6 hours per week this year. Anyway, they learn lots from these apps and it’s definitely cheaper than 1 day at Montessori. My 4 year old started recognizing words at 3.5 and is now what I would consider an early reader. I definitely credit these apps / ABCmouse.com (along with awesome parenting and genetics, of course LOL).
Sorry, I get so excited and fired up about these apps. We of course have many others but none are as good for their brains or nearly as engaging as the ones I mentioned. Cheers!
We love ABC Mouse.com (and the app) too! I’m going to check out those others you mentioned. Thanks for sharing!
We just quit abcmouse.com because I found the material to be way too easy for my 4yo. Wishing I could find something that would challenge him more so that I could work more while the little one naps.
They are app deleters and shortcut rearranges. Drives me batty
It is definitely playing with the volume button. I turn the iPad on and the volume is always way up.
Where should I start…I guess the most annoying thing she does is use the iPad as a step stool… It’s just because she doesn’t want anyone to take it when she’s trying to grab something else!
My daughter is the same, always with the in app purchases, always with the dresses, accessories, nail designs, etc. Those ‘games’ drive me insane!
my four year old loves to watch stranger’s disney vacations on you tube.
Takes a mazillion pictures of nothing!!
my daughters take thousands!!!!!!!!! of pictures of themselves, their toys, items in the house, their tv shows, etc. I have to go through and delete them all. SO time consuming! they use my ipad, so I regularly have to sort through the pictures they took and the ones I took and want to keep. I bit funny seeing their silly faces, and their unique view of their world and the editing some pics have, but not fun when there are hundreds and thousands of them!
Once, my girl enabled the screen rotation lock on my tablet. I had no idea the silly thing had a screen rotation lock or, initially, how to fix it. At least I learned something that day.
Now her go-to annoyance is to only want to play games that are buggy or broken in some way so that I have to constantly restart them while she melts down. I’ve tried uninstalling things that don’t seem to work hoping she’ll forget about them…she doesn’t. Mind like a steel trap, that kid. And I reload Peppa’s Paint Box for the 47 millionth time…
He sent a company wide email. That was great.
My son opens an app, hits the home button, opens another app, hits the home button, etc. Or he freaks out when he opens the “wrong” app. “No not this Daniel Tiger!!”
my 2 year old loves to skip between numerous apps – she gets sick of each one so quickly, within seconds of starting to play. it drives me crazy that she can’t play just one at a time to experience the app’s full potential. I guess someday she will obtain some sort of attention span, right? ha.
She gets her gunky fingers all over the screen!!
My iPad syncs to my phone. So, every time she saves one of the pictures she “colored” or takes a screen shot, it automatically saves to my phone, and takes up the memory on iCloud. I’m also a huge YouTube person, and so is my 3 year old apparently. I don’t know how she finds half of the weird crap that she does on there, but all those videos she watches makes YouTube recommend those videos to me. No, I do not want to watch this grown adult play with toys, thank you.
I should add she likes to send emails to random people in my contact list, and take awful pictures of me. Thank god I took facebook off of there, I can only imagine.
We don’t have an ipad, but my kids love my iphone. Last weekend we had my 2 year old baptized and they whole time she’s squirming in my arms saying “mommy phone! mommy phone! Mommmmmy Phooooooone!”
If I forget to lock the screen while listening to a podcast, they are all over it! If it is locked, they love to take pictures with it. It was how I figured out how my post baby body looks when I’m not “sucking it in”! 🙂
Once when we were about to film my daughters dance “review”, it alerted me that the storage was almost full. Since I had recently downloaded photos, I knew that shouldn’t be the case. The culprit was a 24 minute video of our ceiling.
My little one likes to request videos and then as soon as they have been loaded, shakes his head no and asks for a completely different one. He is also a constant home button pusher. I’ve watched him get in and out of the same app at least 10 times in one sitting.
My daughter is constantly asking to listen to YouTube videos of various songs and she somehow always finds a version “sung” by the Chipmunks. You thought listening to What Does the Fox Say was bad…try it in rodent…
My son answered my trivia crack question… Incorrectly.
Deletes app’s or just moves them around which drives me crazy!
I hate that my husband let’s my son play angry birds. Once as a surprise got him an iTunes card and he bought and blew through birds in 2 seconds. Then wanted another $20 gift card. He does like books through the Kindle app. And we do ABC Mouse on it as well.
Most annoying …my son somehow has ordered 3 times now, the Mr. Rogers special on DVD and I each time it comes, I return it and then a few days later I get it again. Sad part, I should just keep it and watch it.
We don’t use apple products. But with her tablet, she’s constantly asking to download new apps or switching apps every other minute. Drives me batty. And don’t get me started on dropping the thing.
We facetime my family regularly and I think my 14 month old thinks her cousins live in the ipad, so she kisses it a lot, often leaving the screen covered with slobber
The most annoying thing my 2 year old does with the iPad is touch it with sticky, messy fingers! There is always some kind of gross food film covering the screen.
My son Jonah just turned 2. The most annoying thing he does is check me into locations (that I’m not at) all the time! No, son, mommy is not checked in at Susie Kim’s massage parlor (the happy ending kind
My son Jonah just turned 2. The most annoying thing he does is check me into locations (that I’m not at) all the time! No, son, mommy is not checked in at Susie Kim’s massage parlor (the happy ending kind
OMG, asking to buy upgrades every two seconds!! I loathe those stupid dress up princess apps and the similar ones. My youngest LOVES them and she’s always asking my to unlock other dolls or outfits!!
He plays my Clash of Clans and uses up all the gold buying decorations when we should be using it to upgrade our cannons. Come on!
Covering the whole thing in sticky peanut butter fingerprints.
I would get the free versions of apps – Wheels on the Bus, Twinkle Twinkle, etc. As soon as I gave in and bought full price app my daughter would stop playing and move on to another app. Frustrating!
The most annoying thing is low battery because of all the use and emails sent that don’t make sense to my contacts.
My daughter covers my screen in god knows what gooey crud. It’s gross! She also copies and pastes the same app over and over on my home screen.
Youtube! There are way too many things for curious and clumbsy fingers to touch. He instantly gets himself to non-toddler friendly material!
My 18 month old daughter wants to take the iPad from me when we are on face time with my mom and screams when I won’t let her have it. When I give it to her she moves it around so much my mom can’t see us or she will put her finger over the camera.
My girl is always frustrated by ‘guided access’ which I put on to limit her ability to do all the annoying things listed above (do you know about guided access??! It’s brilliant!). So she resorts to smacking me in the face with it while I’m trying to get a few extra minutes of sleep while sandwiched between her and my month old baby!
The most annoying thing my kiddo does is to reverse the same video 10 seconds over and over again. The same phrase over and over again….can you imagine? Sooooo annoying…..
He’s just crazy for Paw Patrol and watches over and over
My son gets REALLY angry when he runs out of coins to buy the free in app upgrades. He doesn’t understand that they have to be earned. He also has Instagram radar, whenever I turn it on he runs over and demands that I like everything.
Fills my netflix queue with kids shows and falls into the purchasing wormhole. She also tends to lock the ipad with the wrong passcode.
it drives me crazy when my two year old “borrows” my phone and then when I legitimately need to make a call/text, it is ww3 to get it back.
between the iPhone and the iPad each wants one and I’m left with nothing! The 1.5 ye old can’t quite figure most apps out and so he screams until you wake up the phone and do it for him. The 3.5 year old deletes apps all the time. Drives me nuts.
She is three, he is two. They are almost perfectly compatible in terms of age-appropriate apps. So they fight over it. Constantly.
Oh, and lock the screen, try to unlock it by mashing buttons, and bar anyone from using it for several minutes. Chaos ensues.
Filling the memory with selfies and edits
Besided leaving it a sticky mess, I usually find 13575379754 selfies and screen shots on my camera roll.
My son plays a great app called Monkey Preschool Lunchbox but keeps trying to eat the fruit….I have a very sticky iPad.
My toddler is the most vain kid I know. Constantly stealing my phone to look at pics… Not just any pics, only pictures of himself! Lol “No, I wanna see me.” I can’t tell you how many “selfies” he’s taken. My phone is full of pictures up his nose!
We LOVE Sago Mini apps! Haven’t tried the fairy tale one yet. Our daughter Alaska treats our iPad like Gollum treats the ring. Her precioussssssss. No one else can touch it.
My 2 yr old loves FaceTime and tries to FaceTime random people in the contact list (which was synced with phone and facebook). I ended up having to delete everyone except grandparents.
The most annoying thing is that my 13 month old can play Candy Crush much better than me.
The most annoying thing our daughter did with the iPad was pull out the charger wrong so it won’t charge any more. Luckily, I think my dad can fix it. We love all the Sago Mini games, but my daughter’s favorite is the bug builder one.
My son loves to randomly open things I never knew existed. He has all these shortcuts for god knows what on the ipad and the computer. Luckily hasn’t deleted anything yet. He’s only just 2!
My 3 year old asked for a game called Pou and the last time we were at the pediatricians office I had to use the bathroom. He started yelling, I want to play poo, I love playing with poo! Of course he was being seen for hand, foot, and mouth…
My son gets bored with games too quickly and asks me to buy new ones! I could use $20 for that!
Oh man… Where to start..
Smearing snot, food, slobber, and who knows what else all over the screen.
Rearranging my icons/deleting apps
Playing my turns in Dice with Buddies (!!)
Clicking on the ads/third party apps/in app purchases in a game.
Draining my battery on Netflix so that when I have chance to use it I have to plug it in.
And unplugging it when I’m trying to charge it so that I can finally use it. But if I’m really being honest, I’m really charging it back up for them.
And seriously, what is it with those princess dress up games?
We found the Sago Mini Forest Flier game a year or so ago and my daughter loves it. There were even free app updates that changed the forest to winter!
My kids open up every single possible app ever. So annoying.
she moves everything around and delete apps and meetings.
Oh man, we love Sago Mini over here. We have almost all their apps except for this one. We constantly look for new apps for the kiddos (boy age 3, girl age 4) to both use. I love Disney but my goodness Palace pets is our biggest trouble. They make new pets and then we are expected to unlock them. Honestly the iPads (yes plural) are the kids and I’m just happy that I get to use it before my bed time to catch up on my daily mommyshorts
i have no idea what my kid does . all i can say is that in a little over 5 minutes nothing works anymore. must be some kind of superpower….