OK, here’s my concern: yes, BallFallDown is open ended, but it’s still basically “screen time”. I read this NYT article on kids and iPhones and noted that much of the complaints from child development experts come from the fact that the interaction is between the child and the computer, not the real world.
This made me think about the comments we’ve been getting from our beta-testers with kids, who invariably commented that they were playing with BallFallDown together with their kids. Outside of games like checkers and tic-tac-toe, the games I’ve seen on the iPad don’t really encourage interactive play between kids, or adults and kids, and definitely not free form play. So I think we’re onto something. I may be biased, however.
It’s also my hope that BallFallDown will actually encourage parents to get real marble runs and other toys so that they can play together. By the way, the beta testers without kids loved it as well!