The KneeBouncers store sells a tshirt that says, “My computer has been taken over by KneeBouncers.” It speaks the truth.
There are many educational websites out there, as well as commercial sites tied to items of interest to older children. But toddlers are a bit of a special market, with very simple interests: Bright colors, silly noises, and a simple interface.
KneeBouncers caters exclusively to the diapered set (although their “About” section says certain older children, such as those with autism, also like the site). As of this writing, there are 19 Flash-based programs that are variations of the same theme: Simple, colorful, silly, and easy to operate.
All of the programs can be run simply by pressing any key on the keyboard, and they cycle through a series of thematic animations, either educational (letter, numbers, colors, shapes) or just plain fun (motor vehicles, splashing in puddles, etc.). Some of the programs, such as the piano portion of Music-maker, also respond to more directed input.
Our fourteen-month-old can’t get enough of it. He now recognizes the main menu music, so if we need to distract him from some other task, we can load up the website. He’ll squeal, jump up and down, and come running. Some times he’ll want to bang on the keyboard and watch the response, other times he’s content cuddling on one of our laps while we tap keys. Either way, it’s a sure way to get a smile.