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To get my 4 yr old a ipad or DS?

(154 Posts)
lisaleelu Sun 16-Oct-11 08:37:09

My 4 year old loves going on the cbeebies gameson my lap top. But he does struggle a bit with the mouse. I was thinking of getting him and ipad or Nintendo Ds for Christmas.

I dont want any lectures on kids using computers. I have weighed that one up myself. His use will be monitored and limited.

We are going to visit family in Australia at Christmas and I thought an ipad might be worth investing in (obviously the whole family would use it) as I think you can watch DVD on it - so good for the long flight as would games to play.

I am quite an old mum - 44 so out of touch with computer games and stuff - but I have heard people talkign about DS's get the impression they are small hand held games things. Realise much cheaper than ipad but not as only for games- are the games educational - can you get the cbeebies games - dont want him to play games that invovle shooting people if you get what i mean.

Will a 4 year old likely break an ipad - do they break easy? He is not the gentelest of kids.

Any other ideas - the journey to oz and keeping him occupied is a big part of the decision.

My dh think £400ish to spend on a 4 yr old is obscene but I am think we would all use it i think.

What do you think?

I think that even though you have specifically said that this is not a should a 4yr old have these items thread - at least half of those who respond will not actually answer your actual question but will instead be telling you YABU to buy a 4yr old anything like that.

(And I'd suggest the dsi rather than the ipad)

ggirl Sun 16-Oct-11 08:40:42

ipad way better than ds I think
def get ipad
I haven't got one but a few friends with little ones do and they rave about them

Pagwatch Sun 16-Oct-11 08:41:24

Yes. They break very easily.

I watched a child drop an iPad down the stairs at swimming two weeks ago.

I am not going to lecture you about computer use, your child, I couldn't give a monkies.

But giving a child that young an iPad is only ok if you can constantly replace. Or if you will be able to resist the urge to endlessly shout at them to be careful.
My fav was when a friend of my sons told his younger brother that it had a weighing app and the kid stood on it.

All kinds of battiness

whackamole Sun 16-Oct-11 08:42:56

I think get the DS for him, as a birthday/Xmas present. If you are going to get an iPad be clear it is a family present. IMO they are not really as small-child friendly as the DS - not as sturdy and need more supervision due to being able to access internet etc.

"My fav was when a friend of my sons told his younger brother that it had a weighing app and the kid stood on it."

I know I shouldn't, Pag - but that made me howl grin

CogitoErgoSometimes Sun 16-Oct-11 08:43:25

If you want to entertain him with DVDs on a flight, you might be better off with a portable DVD player which cost a lot less. Also your airline probably has in-flight movies. Maybe check in advance what children's films they are showing. I-pads aren't going to last long with rough treatment. Battery time is the killer. Nothing's going to keep going for 24 hours without needing to be recharged. DSs are small hand-held games and I don't think a 4 year-old would have the dexterity for one apart from anything else.

Why don't you go the traditional routes of books, colouring books, puzzles, travel games, 'Happy Families' and so on?

GHAHSTLYGHOULYpants Sun 16-Oct-11 08:43:52

DSi is better for a child as it is far more robust.

Ipad2 would be ideal for the family and you watching over should, fretting about not touching it too much, not letting it our of your sight etc etc!

An electronic device for such a young child? My lips are sealed grin

Itsjustafleshwound Sun 16-Oct-11 08:43:54

Would a portable DVD player be a solution ??

A DS lite does require some dexterity (sp) and some games can be frustrating but it would be better suited to a 4yo than an Ipad (and i wouldn't DREAM of getting my son one of those even if I could afford it!)

silverfrog Sun 16-Oct-11 08:44:21

we bought my 2 girls (they were then 5 and 2; 5 year old had severe autism) an ipod touch for our flight to australia (this was before ipads existed!).

great for all the reasons you list: can put films on, apps which are fun but also educational. fantastic battery life (especially compared to eg portable dvd player).

ipod is still going strong, so dd1 didn't manage to break it (she is 7 now), and she now has an ipad to use at school (and obviously t home)

if you do get one (either an ipad or and itouch), then get an Otterbox case for it - think it is the defender series you want. fantastic, and really protects it.

imo, there is more scope with an ipod/ipad than with a DS. also, loads of the apps are free or pennies (eg 79p, £1.19) rather than £20 or so (or more - what do DS games cost?)

lots of people will say "shock but you can't get that for a child" but that, of course, is your decision to make fro your child.

it has worked out brilliantly for us (has really helped dd1's communication and literacy skills. she has learned to read and write because of ehr ipad), and neither child has managed to break either the itouch or the ipad.

NotQuiteCockney Sun 16-Oct-11 08:44:32

iPads are a lot more delicate than DSes. If you get an iPad, it should belong to a grown up, and only be used supervised.

Shakirasma Sun 16-Oct-11 08:45:18

I have got an iPad and my 4yo is a whizz on it. He has SN and poor fine motor skills so he find the iPad touch screen very easy to use.
I have loads of kids educational apps on it for him. And although he finds it almost impossible to hold a pencil, he can write letters an numbers on the iPad using his index finger. It can be an excellent educational tool IMO.

Andrewofgg Sun 16-Oct-11 08:45:22

Anything you let a child take on a plane should be silent - or set to silent mode and kept there. Your fellow-travellers have that right.

The only exception, which is the best method of keeping a small child happy on a long flight, is your own voice!

LynetteScavo Sun 16-Oct-11 08:45:36

Buy him a DSi as a christmas present and get yourself and ipad and let him use it during the flight.

cookcleanerchaufferetc Sun 16-Oct-11 08:45:40

iPad would be much better for the whole family. Your DS will get great use from it for educational apps as well as games. You will love it too! It will be invaluable for going to Oz! An absolute lifesaver. You wont be restricted to a few games as you could have an ipad with games, videos, books everything! They don't break easily during everyday use. Just establish rules and make sure your DS has to ask to use it, is sitting down, and certainly not carrying it on stairs at a swimming pool!

Pagwatch Sun 16-Oct-11 08:46:28


I know. One of those moments when you cringe and guffaw at the same time

silverfrog Sun 16-Oct-11 08:48:14

andrewofgg - if the ipad is playing a dvd of nursery rhymes, volume set to the same level it would be if I had to sing the songs on a repeat loop to dd1, then what is the difference to fellow passengers? <genuine question?>

Julesnobrain Sun 16-Oct-11 08:48:47

Can he read? My DH brought our DD a DS when she was four and she was way too young to really understand how to use it as she couldn't read. I brought her a leap pad hand held as they have games for pre schoolers which was better.

iPad is good for all ages, there are a selection of pre schoolers games but it is not a robust device, if he drops it the screen may break. Also yes you can download DVD's but not many and it takes hours via your PC. It is a great device for all the family as you can download books for both you and him to read. Personally I would buy yourself it and let him share it occasionally supervised smile

I would highly recommend you invest in a portable DVD player and some child friendly head phones. We travel alot and that has been fantastic for the kids. A reasonable one is about £70 to £120.

Pagwatch Sun 16-Oct-11 08:48:58


Good point. Although headphones work too.
Ds2 uses my iPad with headphones.

savoycabbage Sun 16-Oct-11 08:50:34

Buy an iPad for the family and let him use it when supervised. Our dc have used iPads on four flights to Australia and they were invaluable. They can change from one game to another with ease and there are so many games that are free or very cheap that they can play thirty games instead of two on a ds.

Pagwatch Sun 16-Oct-11 08:50:37


Good point too. Your singing nursery rhymes would fuck me off just as much


SmethWitchBelle Sun 16-Oct-11 08:51:08

Our iPad has taken an awful lot of abuse from our 4 year old so they are pretty sturdy and absolutely BRILLIANT for keeping them occupied. But at least three times the cost of a DS its probably OTT to get him one all to himself.

I agree an iPad makes a good "family" gadget. DS1 loves a maze game called Labryinth 2 which is pretty harmless, he likes Angry Birds, the Harry Potter game, a Bowling game... but the handy apps for adults are immense in number too, and you can browse the web etc... you might not want him accidentally browsing on an iPad.

SeveredHeadsDragonTheFloor Sun 16-Oct-11 08:51:15

Getting a 4 yo an iPad is bloody stupid. Get them a DSi.

An iPad is a fabulous family item and mine has saved my sanity on many occasions with ripped DVDs (ones I owned already I hasten to add smile) No way would I buy one specifically for a young child unless I had more money than sense. If that's the way you want to go, go for an iPod touch.

silverfrog Sun 16-Oct-11 08:52:11

but not as much as dd1's constant nagging asking for them if I didn't grin

but seriously - small children want constant talking to - does it matter if the 'talking' comes from a machine (set at appropriate levels) or a person?

CristinaaarghdellAaarghPizza Sun 16-Oct-11 08:52:45

I think you should get an ipod touch for you/your DH/as a family present rather than giving it to your DS.

The reason is that they are very fragile as pag has said and I think if your DS knows it belongs to you rather than him, he might take a bit more care of it. My DS is very careful with mine and he knows that if he is ever seen being remotely careless with it, then he doesn't get to play with it any more.

Also an ipod touch is much lighter and easier to manipulate with little hands than an ipad which is much heavier and adult sized. It's also about £300 cheaper.

Ipods are much more intuitive than DSs and have more flexibility like you say

ps I am older than you and not 'out of touch' with games. Steve Jobs was older than you!

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