Technological devices are now an integral part of everyone’s lives. Everywhere you look now is a mobile device and its more often than not in your child’s hands. They expertly swipe up, down, left and right and seem to know how to use your devices better than you do. If children are uneducated in the use of these devices, they may feel like they are at a disadvantage when they start Kindergarten.
So, is all this technology okay for our children and in childcare? Within reason, YES!
Many parents resort to apps and media to entertain, educate, and sometimes distract them from destroying a restaurant while waiting for a meal. But with star ratings, recommendations, and a plethora of apps, how do you feel confident you’ve chosen the right thing.
There are many benefits of exposing your children to modern technology;
Children can follow objects on the screen and actively engage in the activity. This skills is essential when your children go to ‘big school’ as it assists with writing, drawing and even reading.
Literacy and numeracy skills which promotes School readiness
When finding apps to download onto your smartphone or tablet for your child, consider how meaningful or educational the activity is. It must provide the opportunity for the child to gain necessary skills for school. Reading games, sight words, spelling and math games are all fun and educational and enhances their numeracy, literacy, spelling and comprehension. These games should encourage higher order thinking skills and applied learning which develops problem solving skills.
There are many interactive games that encourage multi-sensory engagement. Children can develop skills in art, music and media using their imagination and creativity. There are apps for almost anything such as making their own book, learning to play piano or colouring in.
Connectedness to the world
Children that live in remote areas may never go to an aquarium or a zoo, however with technology they can search and access various exciting things that under normal circumstances would be near impossible to see, hear or learn about. Children then begin to understand the world is a vast place that stretches far beyond their home and school.
So what should we look for when choosing what apps to download for our children?
The app should be age and developmentally appropriate – ask yourself, “is this skill something my child would be able to get the hang of?” remember children enjoy being challenged, too easy and they may get bored, too hard and they may give up.
Educational and entertaining, who says you can’t have both? If you can engage a child’s interest and they are having fun, then they are learning at the same time. Challenge their curiosity and imagination and encourage them to create something new.
Children are sponges and will imitate what they hear and see. Make sure that positive language and role models are used in the apps you download, games that convey simple messages and model positive social lessons on sharing and turn taking. Avoid applications and games with violence or inappropriate language.
Look at the demo videos, do some research, test the app yourself, ask other parents what their children are playing. And remember, there’s nothing they love more than learning something new with you.
Here is a few apps that we’ve found children are loving at the moment.