Our oldest girl is now four…FOUR. How??When??
In a few short weeks, she will also be starting school in the public Pre-K program that Georgia offers. She’s suddenly going to “real school”, and, again…NO idea how we got here so quickly.
Here we are, though, right in the midst of our summer break. While we are definitely doing a lot of hanging out, play time, and family time, this summer we’ve also been doing a little extra work to help set our girl up for Pre-K success.
One of the things that we’ve introduced is a few learning apps geared towards young kids. We started using ABC Mouse a few months ago, and were excited to try an app that I had never heard of that’s along the same lines: KidloLand.
If you’ve never heard of it like I hadn’t, KidloLand is an education app geared towards kids age 1-5 that can be used on iPhone, iPad, or Android.
We have been using it with our girl, and here’s what we think:
What I Loved:
So when you first open up KidloLand, you realize that you have to download any lesson/song/game that you want your little one to use.
At first, I thought this was annoying. Why do I have to download this?? Why won’t it just load??
Turns out, the downloading is actually genius, guys.
I’ve used other learning apps before that don’t have a download option (ABC Mouse, for example), and one of the most frustrating things is when your kiddo is right in the middle of a lesson and it suddenly slows down or freezes all together. While we as adults may have a little bit of patience when our Netflix takes a little longer to load, kids are not always so easy-going about it.
Downloading also allows for the app to be used in places that you may not be connected to WiFi (e.g. on a plane ride, in the car, at a family member’s home out in the middle of nowhere). You simply download what you’re interested in when you are connected to a WiFi, and BOOM—your kids will be able to watch it when you don’t.
One thing that I really didn’t care for when my daughter was using ABC Mouse is the complexity of it. There are aviators who go through lands that represent which lessons your child is on, and prizes for completing things, and spaces to put the things in, and just tons and tons of excess “stuff” other than the lessons themselves. And personally, I think it’s a bit overkill, especially for younger kids.
KidloLand, on the other hand, has tons of great content that you can get to quickly without too much fuss. It also makes it a little easier for my daughter (who just started using an iPad in the past few months) to navigate and use on her own without my help. As a busy mom, I seriously, seriously appreciate this.
I loved, loved, loved this section for my girl to practice her letter tracing!
A few key things that really stood out:
- Nice big letters to trace, as opposed to thin little lines
- Lots of visual help (e.g. an arrow pointing out the direction, a little character at the beginning of the tracing path and a star at the end)
- Doing one piece of the letter at a time slowly (e.g. for the letter “H”, you do the left line first, then the right line, and then the middle line connecting, and it walks you through each piece one at a time)
Definitely my favorite section by far, and one we will utilizing all summer long.
My daughter is obsessed with the songs in KidloLand! I like them, too, as they have a level of “realness” that I think is missing from a lot of kids learning tools.
“Potty Time” (her new favorite song ever), for example, actually uses the words “pee” and “poo”, the way that we do at home and her teachers did at school, as opposed to just “going to the potty” in a generic, mysterious sense. I so appreciate that, especially as a mom who is wrapping up a four year potty training journey with our girl, who is autistic.
What I Didn’t Care For:
Gender Representation in the “Occupations” Section
When I started going through Kidloland, I thought that all of the little characters were gender-neutral animated animals. That is, until I came across a section titled “Create & Play: Occupations”. In this particular section, different career options are depicted by animals, only this time a few characters have characteristics that indicate their gender to be female (e.g. a pink bow, long eyelashes, etc.).
Now. I’m sure most people will go through this section and not think twice about the genders of the animated animals, but as the mom of two young girls (whom I’m hoping to raise to believe that they are capable of doing anything), stuff like this jumps out at me.
If my girls were to go by what they saw in this section and were to take the career depictions literally (as young children in the 1-5 age range often do), here’s what they would learn:
Possible Careers for Men Include: Actor, Archaeologist, Architect, Artist, Astronaut, Astronomer, Athlete, Baker, Banker, Builder, Barber, Bus Driver, Chef, Cashier, Carpenter, Coach, Deep Sea Diver, Dentist, Doctor, Electrician, Farmer, Firefighter, Gardener, Grocer, Ice Cream Man, Judge, Lawyer, Lifeguard, Mechanic, Miner, Musician, News Reporter, Painter, Photographer, Pilot, Police Officer, Plumber, Postman, Sailor, Scientist, Security Guard, Shepherd, Singer, Soldier, Street Sweeper, Taxi Driver, Tailor, Train Conductor, Trashman, Train Driver, Vet, Writer, Waiter, Window Cleaner, Zookeeper
Possible Careers for Women Include: Florist, Librarian, Model, Nurse, Teacher
As you can see just by glancing at the list, the imbalance is not slight.
I don’t think this imbalance is in any way intentional (as the rest of the program, the songs in particular, feel very fresh and current to me).
It feels like one of those things that slips by without noticing, like the t-shirt options in the kids section at Target did for so long.
In the past, all of the girls shirts follow the “pretty princess” line of thought (e.g., most of the girls shirts are pink, purple, and have something to do with physical appearance—cutie, pretty, beautiful, etc.), and the boys shirts have much more of a variety (trucks, sports, dinosaurs, math, science, police officers, fire fighters, etc.).
Thankfully, Target has made a shift over the past year in diversifying the clothes that they include in the girl’s section (including the “Strong Like Mom” and “Future President” onesies that my little one rocked all winter). I’m hoping that this is a change that KidloLand will consider making at some point down the road. I truly enjoy the educational value of the program, and hope that the education it gives can go beyond just the academics and into accurate representation.
A Few Audio Synching Issues
In a few of the songs that featured an animated character singing, the words and the audio didn’t quite match up. My daughter didn’t really seem to care (she was way too busy rocking out to “Potty Time”), but my OCD-self did. Definitely not the end of the world.
I will definitely be using KidloLand all summer long as we prep our girl to start Pre-K in the fall. While I won’t be venturing into the sections that lack the gender diversity that I mentioned above, the rest of the app is so much easier to use than ABC Mouse with the download option and the cleaner interface. It gives you exactly what you need without the additional junk, and for that reason, I feel like it will help my girl on her path to be school-ready. Recommend!