Grandma’s Preschool by Fairlady Media is yet another quality app for preschoolers in the Grandma/Grandpa line that focuses on daily routines and activities. This one happens to be their most extensive one yet. As most preschoolers are attending some structured activities and programs, the app guides them through it with focus on practicing basic skills under Grandma’s loving-care and guidance. Kids love Grandma and her easy going can do attitude, and her dancing just sends all off into a sea of unstoppable giggles. From snack to nap and even outdoor play, all routines that could possibly happen within a daycare or preschool setting are represented. Kids can examine and interact with nearly everything on the screen. To say Grandma’s Preschool is comprehensive is an understatement in itself, and the app is a bargain due to its extensive content. I cannot even imagine the amount of work that went into it.
One of the benefits of painting with such a broad stroke and including so many routines is that kids can recreate or practice skills for familiar activities that they may not have mastered yet or explore something new. By playing the app, it removes a large part of the motor demands or skills needed for the actual activity, making some tasks less scary and easier to try by engaging on a child’s own terms and not in front of others by doing so on the app first. Different activities within the app increase challenges by either increasing the steps needed to complete an activity or carryover of the material from one activity to another. I particularly like how Grandma introduces crayons and describes why kids color in school in a video, and then there is an art station where kids “draw” with crayons or can paint. This is particularly valuable in helping some kids expand their views and experience, because they have “seen it before” with Grandma.
Let’s take a look at Grandma’s preschool as the bus unloads for the day and all the kids gather inside. There are over 20 activities and interactions within the daycare environment. Particular notes of interest are the outdoor activities that alternate from a selection of 3, to give kids lots of exposure to possibly new experiences and the sequence of physical play. The pet center is not only displayed on video, but is also a task-based activity on caring for animals. Colors, shapes, and numbers are reinforced throughout the app, making each trial more applicable and meaningful. For example there is a learning tree on the left side of the day care that changes up between learning numbers, shapes and letters. Letters are also on the white board, the paint station, and are used in words on the alternating word, shapes and number tree. Math and spatial concepts are well represented too, and there is even a clock for beginning number/time exploration. Setting the clock, would be a fun way to introduce the timeliness of routines. “It’s 10 o’clock – time for snack!” I would love it if the book section played the videos as a story, rather than serving as a prompt, but one could always use the bookshelf as a cue for off screen activities, and suggest a child select a book to be read after playing with the app, and even one that Grandma may have! Another activity that is ripe for off screen experience is the planting activity. At Grandma’s, kids experiment with seeds and watch them grow.