What if, instead of turning the computer off during the week, I turned it on, but with a catch: no watching. No playing. Only creating. They could program with Scratch or Alice, the simple languages that allow kids to build games and create and move characters. They could use painting or drawing programs or create movies or cartoons for as long as homework and bedtime and sports allowed. How would I feel about screen time then?
So how do all us well-meaning parents find these creativity gold mine apps? I’m not entirely sure. But I did recently stumble on this round up of websites that promote children’s creativity. And this is also an excellent post written by an occupational therapist who works with special needs children. She writes that she initially believed, “everything [her children] needed to learn, they could do so through play, their daily experiences, and interactions with the people in their world. What I hadn’t realized (and obviously do now), is that the iPad does not replace any of these things, but can be a fun way to further explore and explain my children’s world”. I highly recommend you check out the full post in which she offers up an extensive list of apps, 10 practical use tips, and effectively demonstrates how the iPad can be used to extend learning experiences.
I want to be clear, I’m still very much in favor of limiting all types of screen time and I still believe that interacting with their world is the best way for young children to learn. But I’m also coming around to the idea of the iPad playing a role in some of that limited screen time. What do you think about all this? We’ve gotten so good at sharing with each other around here lately and I’d love to keep it up. What (if any) restrictions do you put on screen time around your house and are there any kid apps you swear by?
UPDATE: Sometimes when I write blog posts, I forget you guys don’t actually know me in real life and I skip ahead of myself a little. To clear up some of your confusion – until very recently my stance on screen time was very limited TV (2 – 3 hours/week) and no apps at all. Reading the article above simply made me feel comfortable beginning to hand over my iPad for even more limited amounts of time to be used with very specific types of apps. I certainly don’t believe that creativity is best fostered by computers or that technology needs to be present in our preschools. I hope that clarifies where I’m coming from. But I really didn’t write the post to try to convince you of my way of doing things anyway. I wrote it to say I’m still figuring it all out and to start a dialogue about the topic. To that end – keep conversing and thanks!
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P.S. In case the exceptionally observant amongst you are wondering – C isn’t watching Top Gun in the photo above, it’s a Mighty Machines episode.
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