"Computer" for a 2 Year Old

Updated on May 25, 2010
J.T. asks from East Northport, NY
13 answers

Hi Moms!
My Daughter LOVES to type on my computer (I work from home) and as she types she tells me what letter appears on the screen.

Since she seems really interested in the computer, my question is should I get her one and install some learning software (if so what programs do you like) or should I get a "toy" computer (i.e. Leap Frog or similar - what do you like and why?)?

Thanks in advance for your help - a little more about my daughter - she is almost 2 1/2 years old, knows her alphabet recognizes the letters of the Alphabet (still occaisonally gets W/M confused and J/L) and can count to 10 sometimes 12.

Thanks again!

Just a quick addition since the issue was raised - I do read to my daughter probably more than an hour a day, and her daddy reads to her 1/2 hour or so at bedtime as well. She also plays and runs around a Gymboree during the day (Art and Music somes day too) and on nice days we go to the park and we also take a walk (about .5 mile) every nice evening.

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So What Happened?

Thanks to you all for your input regarding computer vs. leap frog / V-tech. After reading your responses I was already leaning toward computer, and this morning all my daughter wanted to do AGAIN was type on mine while I was trying to work. So since my anniverasry is at the end of June, instead of getting something for us we will get her her own computer.


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answers from Dallas on

My daughter is 15 and when she was around 3 she wanted a "laptop" like daddy's. We bought a V-Tech laptop that had a mouse and all. She LOVED that thing,

As for the V-Tech.......I can say it was a quality product. It is STILL in the closet and it STILL works!!

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answers from Albany on

My daughter has loved the computer since age 2. Like your daughter, she loved to learn and was counting, knew the elphabet and how to spell her name by age 2. She is 4 and 1/2 now and I let her play computer briefly almost every day. Like you said, it is by no means all she does... she goes to nursery school 3 days per week, takes gymnastics class, loves playing outside, arts and crafts etc and is very social. But, I don't think there is any harm in letting them use the computer a little... after all, it is a necessary skill to have these days! That being said, I have never bought her separate games or software. I go to the websites pbskids, and sproutonline. I especially like pbskids.org. There is no fee and there are "educational games" for each ofthe shows ie. Sesame Street, Super Why, Curious George. They have different levels of games and many have to do with numbers, letters, colors, pre-reading, rhyming etc. My daughter is now independant using the games, which sometimes give me a break when my youngest is sleeping and she is playing! Just make sure you set limits. We have run into the issue that the longer she is on the computer, the more she resists when we tell her she is done.

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answers from Myrtle Beach on

We gave my daughter my old imac (you know the one with the colors)... when she was 2. We have gotten her some software for her age, and she too will go on NickJR.com. She LOVES it! I think this day in age, kids need it...

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answers from Indianapolis on

I think the hand-me-down computer is a great idea as long as you're there to monitor them - not because of them getting into precarious situations. We had friends whose 3 year-old son liked to log onto BankOne.com and get into their account because they had clicked the "Remember Me" icon.

We got our 3.5 year old son a leapfrog for Christmas. He loves it. He plays games which appear to mostly develop his hand-eye coordination. He'd love one of the kid's laptops, and we're debating getting one for his up-coming birthday as he's on the cusp of learning to read thanks to some really dedicated teachers at school and reinforcement at home.

While I don't think the technology is necessary, I don't think it can hurt. But, I've found that simple acts like reading with them, reinforcing things on walks/in the car go a long way in helping them learn.

We went to dinner with some friends the other night at their house. We pulled-up, and our son saw an iron decoration with "B" in the middle and told us "B is for Beadle" - then, he played his Leapster.

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answers from New York on

Dear J.,
Now a days the computer is essential, and your little one will be using it more and more as she gets older. I had a desk top computer for my children when they were little and still have one now. I bought them all sort of disks for the computer, from CyberChase, Arthur, Dora, Disney, etc. It really helps. The chances of her playing with the computer for a very long time are far greater than her playing with a Leap Frog one, eventhough they are very good. Even when they get to kinder they are exposed to the computers! So start her now, and let her learn at her own pace.

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answers from Kansas City on

just my opinion, when my son was this age we never spent the money on the leap frogs and things...they're fun (for a few minutes?) but not really necessary. he knew his numbers and letters like your daughter does. we let him play (with supervision) on websites like sprout.com, nickjr.com, oh there are just tons. tons are educational too, just google it. he is 3 1/2 now and uses a mouse, plays them all by himself for the most part. those kid computers seem to me like just a big money pit and another way to "keep up with the jones". just my opinion!

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answers from New York on

My 3.5 yr old is on my computer and grandpa's and has been for quite some time now. He actually knows how to navigate online quite well. He's limited to kid friends sites (and grandpa has set up a favorites list on youtube of wiggles videos that he watches - LOL) I let him on pbskids, nick jr, wiggles sites. Its not all he does so I'm not worried about it. He speaks well, knows numbers, letters, colors, has good dance moves and is very into sports, music cars and art...oh and he WATCHES TV TOO! LOL! If given the choice he'd rather be at the park or beach all day, and when possible, he is. He does have a spider man lap top and a hot wheels lap top that seems a bit outdated to me, but I think they are still in the store..reminds me of DOS computering - hahaha - how old am I? Or texas instruments...anyway - I think the real computer is just fine...I haven't looked into kid computers beyond toys but you might be able to find something. I wouldn't be afraid of it and if you can afford something go for it. I can understand her not playing on your work computer!!!

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answers from New York on

Hi J.,
My son has this toy computer and he loves it:
They have several games installed on the laptop (some of them are a little advanced), but one of them is a letter matching game. My son is also very interested in the alphabet and he's gotten pretty good at that game. The computer says the letter and they show the lower case letter on the screen, and the child has to find the upper case letter on the keyboard. My son doesn't really recognize the lower case letters yet, but finds it on the keyboard just from hearing it.
Good luck!

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answers from Rochester on

I see nothing wrong with getting your daughter a computer at this age if she's that interested. My grand daughter has been using a computer since she was 3 years old. I do recommend that you not put it on line though. Buy some programs for her to learn and play with. When she gets a little older you can put the computer on line for her. Why? Well, it didn't take long for my grand daughter to get into things she should not have been into! A few clicks in the wrong place and she was there! And this was from playing on sites that you would think were safe for children. And monitor her at ALL times! NEVER leave her alone on the computer. When my grand son was about 4 I went into the kitchen to get him a glass of juice leaving him to play a game on the computer. By the time I returned he had managed to close out the game site and open every single link (websites and programs) I had on the desktop and in my favorites! There were hundreds of them! So many that the computer was so over loaded I could not even shut it down. I finally had to shut it down by holding the power button till the computer turned off (it was either that or unplug it). Needless to say this is not a good way to shut down a computer, but it was all I could do. To this day I have no idea how he did it! My point is there are sites on my computer I do not want the kids to open. Not that there is anything I don't want them seeing, I just don't need them in my bank site, etc.

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answers from Norfolk on

Vi-tech use to have some fun toy computers and they could take a pounding and occasionally were jumped on. Anything with a volume control is great (or put stickers over the speakers to tone the noise down). My husband and I both work with computers, and we don't push our son to use one. He's 11 and using it for school work a bit more each year, and he's got a life time to sit in front of the darn thing. He needs to run and play and get some sunshine and fresh air.

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answers from New York on

Considering we live in an era of technology I say teach/let her use the computer! My 3 year old does quite well on the Disney website which has a lot of teaching games for them. My 12 year old can fix your computer if you mess it up! He started getting computer classes in kindergarden & my 3 year old will to! Since you read to her & she's very mobile & active I say go for it! She will be that much prepared for school!!



answers from New York on

For reading and brain growth, it's really reading to her from books and playing with other children and outdoors which stimulates a well rounded development. Hold off on the computer and read to her an hour a day!



answers from New York on

IMO forget computers now, there is plenty of time for that. Just keep
playing ball, riding big wheel or something similar, swings etc. Just
have fun. Laugh, sing, dance. Life is way too short to be in front of a
computer at 2 1/2. Have a great summer,

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