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I have always been a bit of a gadget fool, and thus have spent far too many hours researching, testing, experimenting, and evangelizing the newest, hottest, and often times niche tech tools and gadgets around.
This fascination has seeped into my family life as well. When my wife and I were expecting our first child, I dove head first into researching the perfect car seat, a messenger style diaper bag for me, and most important - the stroller. I drove my wife mad with my obsession to find the most functional, lightweight, collapsible, and maneuverable stroller in the world. I decided that I had to have a stroller from The Netherlands that wasn't even sold in the US at the time. Lucky for me, a business trip to Europe enabled me to get my hands on the object that I unnecessarily desired. I realize this seems crazy and over-the-top, but for me, the hunt is half the fun.
Now that my son is 4 1/2 and my daughter is 3 1/2 years old, my mission is to discover the newest books, games, and educational toys I can find. I believe physical learning and interactivity with objects are critical to creativity, perseverance, and dexterity. Thus, we have a playroom full of fun and interesting items for the kids to explore and experiment with. For instance, when I'm in San Francisco, I always try to pick up books on drawing, flash cards, or paper dolls from the SF MOMA.
But I have to say, what has been really eye opening for me is how my kids intuitively interact with, operate, and enjoy technology – particularly with my iPhone and the myriad of unbelievable applications that can teach spelling, phonics, fine motor skills, and are simply fun. In addition to the hunt mentioned above, I now hunt for great apps for my kids. Apps like Highlights Hidden Pictures, PocketPhonic, Fish School, and a slew of others that challenge, educate and entertain them. Not to mention the apps I use as a parent, such as Whitenoise from TMsoft & Pediatric SymptomMD. These apps make my life easier and more productive as a dad, as well as in other ways professionally and personally.
All this said, I’m definitely looking forward to checking out Apple’s newest gadget, the iPad™, and know that it will open up a whole new world of education and play opportunities for my children. The way in which children will interact with books like Alice in Wonderland only scratches the surface of the potential for self-directed learning and creativity that will naturally make them digital natives.
You may recall last month, in honor of Mother’s Day, we gave away two iPad™s to a couple of lucky moms to help make their lives more productive. We were so inspired by the response and winners' stories that we’ve decided to do the same for Father’s Day – between now and 3pm ET on Monday, June 21st, you can enter to win an iPad™ for the father in your life… and while you’re at it, share your thoughts on why your dad is great on Twitter, using the #gr8dads hashtag.