By Daddy Daughter Time | Parenting Blog

Lately, I’ve been on a huge “lo-tech” kick with my daughter.

Instead of watching a movie, we make a craft together. Instead of playing Clumsy Ninja on the iPhone, we play hide-and-seek, and instead of using the iPad as a Netflix babysitter, we (gasp) play… outside! (When the weather lets us, that is).

As a guy who was often raised by episodes of Gilligan’s Island, Saturday morning cartoons and Atari, I wanted to break the cycle of small screen addiction.

Don’t get me wrong. Electronics are awesome for kids. The educational apps and toys available have me believing my gifted girl is going to be valedictorian of her Kindergarten class someday. Plus, these devices can be used as great rewards for good behavior. Giving her time on them is motivation for clean rooms, fewer tantrums, and well-behaved young lady. So it’s a bonus when the “iPad” she uses is a School Zone Little Scholars tablet.

But first I had some questions. Would she be able to adjust to the different look and feel of an Android-based piece of equipment after being an Apple kid? Would she like the content and games? Would I have to re-learn a new system to keep her from downloading other content, etc.?

Looks like I had nothing to worry about.

It’s been one month since she’s gotten it. She calls it her “school iPad” and prefers it over the Apple.

I had the thing charged and connected to my home’s Wifi in a cinch. I didn’t have to download a thing. It comes with over 150 preloaded apps, videos, ebooks, and songs that help her master math, reading, and spelling.

The games are progressive in their challenge level and are very creative. There’s nothing cuter than a three year old saying “Daddy, look! These are my metacarpals.” It looks like somebody’s been playing the Napoleon Bone Apart game again.

She likes to take pictures with the built-in cameras (front and back) and we both like to watch “Charlie and Company” videos and try to “puzzle it out” along with Miss Ellie and her golden retriever Charlie. The educational video series combines live action and animation.

EXTRA BONUS: The School Zone company is Michigan-based and features Michigan talent including local musician Brian Vander Ark from the band The Verve Pipe. Local is good.

There is no credit card or registration needed. No apps to download. No upsells within the tablet to buy more apps (that’s huge), no “lite” or partial programs, no advertisements, and no worries about her accessing something her young eyes and ears shouldn’t be exposed to. Seriously, it rules.schoolzone

But what I really, really love is the A+ report card. This is a parent’s dream with all of the stats: how long she’s used it, which category and school level she spends the most time in (Kindergarten level spelling rules in our house), how she’s performing in each category, and many more metrics. You can play the role of teacher with exact information on what she needs help with. I don’t get anything like that on the Apple iPad. It’s my new favorite thing.

The content is aimed at ages 3-7. You can get all of the hardware stats on their site for details on memory, USB drives, and more. You can purchase one for only $199 and I’d have to say they are fully DaddyDaughterTime approved!

Review: The School Zone Little Scholar Tablet