As Oliver has got older, he has become more interested in the technology around him and with two Apple addicts for parents, I’m not really surprised. Up until recently I’ve had a dual fear of letting him mess around too much with our various bits of equipment – firstly (and most importantly!) I’ve been terrified he’ll break something too expensive to replace and secondly (and this is just a personal opinion) I’ve always felt like resorting to technology to keep my child amused is a bit of a parenting fail and/or cheating.
However, recently I’ve started to think differently. Don’t get me wrong, I still don’t agree with plonking your child on the sofa with an iPad for 8 hours out of the day but with a needy little newborn currently taking up a lot of my attention, I’ve had to explore my options and there are actually some great (and dare I say it, educational) games out there for toddlers on the iPad, many of them free – I’ve downloaded a few for Oliver and loves playing them with a little bit of help from us.
The only issues I could see was that I was still paranoid he would break or scratch our iPad and also that he struggled to hold it and play with it at the same time by himself – but his needing my supervision and help kind of defeated the purpose of me giving it to him to play with in the first place (to keep him occupied while I deal with his baby brother)…
The concept is very simple – it’s a sleeve for your tablet (there are different sizes available and they are not just for iPads) with a beanbag underneath. The clear plastic front protects the screen from scratches and the beanbag serves not only to cushion your tablet from being dropped (or thrown!) but also helps your little one to play with it independently as they can rest it on their lap.
It is absolutely foolproof to use – you simply undo the zip and slide the tablet in – which could be a negative as well as a positive if you have an inquisitive toddler who is able to use zips, he could quite easily get the tablet out. However, from experience with my own toddler, he hasn’t done this yet so maybe it’s not as obvious as I think!
There is a loop handle on one side to help your little one safely carry the tablet around, Oliver also loves to fiddle with it while playing!
In particular I’ve found the Tab-Beanie to be invaluable on the frequent long car journeys we make to visit my parents up in Norfolk. He can either play the games or (more often) we can put on a film or television programme which keeps him occupied for much of the 3 hour journey. We used to have problems with this as he struggled to hold a full sized tablet for very long before his arms would ache.
The Tab-Beanie is definitely a must have in our house now and I’m sure we will be upgrading to a Tabzoo sleeve to brighten up our iPad when the boys are older! There are so many different designs and products to choose from for tablets, mobiles and laptops that there’s definitely something for everyone!
We were sent a Tab-Beanie and a Tabzoo tiger sleeve for the purpose of this review. However, all opinions are my own and I have not stopped raving about the Tab-Beanie to anybody with toddlers who will listen since as I think they’re a necessity for tech savvy toddlers!