Life with the iPad is still proving fantastic as my children develop more and more skills and enjoy playing as well as learning.
We have set up and organised the apps in groups: Educational Apps, Games, Books & Art and Science & Music (this was before iOS5 and iOS6 came out which allows you to organise them in folders!)
Each day we start with 10 minutes of writing where the boys practice writing their ABC's in upper and lower case and their numbers usually both using the FREE Alphabet Tracing app. Because in the real world they will still need to use a pencil or pen we test their skills afterwards to see that they are progressing. We always keep the educational time alone time for added focus to aid concentration.
Then they have 10 minutes of iPad Maths in some form (eldest aged 6, usually works with Math Board or My First Weighing and our son aged 4, usually works with Ace Kids Math app) which they enjoy and learn from. We have found that even though there are many apps on the market we tend to use the same ones because we find them so good, its not that we haven't looked around it's just these ones seem to be the best and most user friendly.
Usually after this they have 10 minutes free choice time where they can choose from any category. Our son aged 6 usually chooses a game (his favourites currently are: Harbor Master, Azkend, Angry Birds and Stand O'Food whereas our son aged 4, tends to choose an art app, usually Cookie Doodle although he is enjoying a new app called Chalkin' Chimp too.
This series of 10 minute intervals completes our 1 hour of morning iPad time. (Because we are reviewing for this website they have another 15 minutes of evaluation time at some time throughout the day where they are given specific apps to trial, while I watch, and they then give me their feedback which I add to my own observations.
It is still such a novelty that I think I must get asked 15 times a day "Can we use the i.p.a.d?", which they now both spell out in their endeavours to get more time! Soon we will settle into a routine of iPad time being structured to stop this will we/won't we have more time on the iPad.
We have spent quite some time looking through the iStore for new apps and then we review them, I can see though that although the apps are mostly very inexpensively priced that buying a few of them does start to add up and it can be disappointing if the app is not really what you were looking for or is too easy or too complex for your child. Out of 7 pages of apps I looked through last night we choose 16 that we felt were good enough to buy and review. Of those several were more suited to toddlers rather than preschoolers, but some turned out to be great buys.
We hope that you will benefit from our own experience and save yourself the time and money by reading our reviews. We choose our apps by seeing what we think is beneficial, we read the description more and look closely at the screen shots to ensure the pictures are not too crazy and we add it to our 'wish list', (which you can easily do).
Then we check our wish list and go through each app one more time to see if it really is applicable. You can purchase your apps in one transaction which makes accounting easier and it helps you keep track of how much you are spending. It is easy to spend money justifying it by the small amount of each app, but it doesn't take long for the totals to mount up.