Dylan Tweney

Tablet toddler test.

A Tablet PC, with its direct stylus-to-screen interface, is ideal for toddlers. Just make sure you keep the spray bottles hidden away.
Dylan Tweney 1 min read

I took home a Gateway Tablet PC this weekend to test it out. With its built-in WiFi connection, the tablet makes a pretty decent Web-browsing and reading machine: I could stretch out on the couch, for instance, and read the latest WSJ while holding the tablet on my lap at any comfortable angle. Or on the front porch. Nice.

But the real killer app for the Tablet PC, as far as my daughter is concerned, is Sesame Street. Age two and a half, Clara is already very familiar with this Web site and its many, Flash-based interactive games. (I’ve had “Chicken Dance Elmo” drilled into my brain from seemingly infinite repetition — and don’t even get me started on the SoCal surrealism of “Make-A-Monster.”) With an ordinary computer, she needs to sit at a desk with a grownup who can work the mouse for her, since she doesn’t yet understand the mouse-cursor connection — a fairly complicated piece of hand-eye coordination.

With a tablet, though, she can click on things herself, just by tapping on the screen with the stylus. She mastered this in short order. Many of the games on the Sesame Street site ask her to click on various things, and there are immediate results when she does — things make noise, the monsters respond by talking, colors change, etc. What’s more, we could sit on the couch instead of at a desk. This is a plus since she frequently wants to hop down onto the floor to dance along with the music from the site.

The only potential disaster happened when she grabbed a bottle of cleaning fluid her grandfather was using and started to spray it onto the screen. Yikes! We stopped her in time, fortunately.

The Gateway tablet is a test unit from the Mobile PC labs. Would I pay $2300 for one of my own? No way. But bring the price down, and make it a bit more durable, and you’ve got a pretty good toddler computer.

More from Dylan Tweney

A Zen family vacation

A Zen monastery isn’t the kind of destination you’d typically think of taking the family on vacation, but that’s what we did this summer. I got up very early one morning in late June, shoveled the 18 year old and the 12 year old into the car, along with some basic camping gear, and drove […]
Dylan Tweney 8 min read
Santa is real.

Santa is real.

This year I took the kids shopping with me on Christmas Eve. I gave them $60 each: A twenty to buy a present for their mom, a twenty to buy a present for their sibling, and a twenty to buy some stocking stuffers for the other three members of the family. “You’re going to help play […]
Dylan Tweney 2 min read


Subscribe to my newsletter on writing & storytelling

Great! You’ve successfully signed up.

Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.

You've successfully subscribed to Dylan Tweney.

Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.

Success! Your billing info has been updated.

Your billing was not updated.