Kids today are being introduced to technology at very young ages. It’s amazing to me when I see babies that are just learning to walk, playing with and looking at pictures on their parent i-pads. They know how to touch the screen and get results. Children as young as three have better mouse skills and computer knowledge than a lot of adults. Is this okay? Is introducing technology too young causing our children to be less creative, and imaginative? Is it one of the leading causes of childhood obesity? Do our kids have less patients today because they’re not used to having to “wait” for anything? Everything they want, need, or have to have is at the click of a button. In my opinion, the answer is yes. Don’t get me wrong, technology is here to stay, and kids must be able to use it to succeed in life and in school. Computers ans smart boards are in nearly every school and children as young as kindergarten are using them on a daily basis.
Most gadgets are now small enough to take with you in the car, on trips, to doctors offices, etc., which allows for a calmer, quieter, occupied child. This is good. However, I believe that children, especially older infants, through elementary age, still need the good old fashioned toys that don’t require batteries, or outlets. They need puzzles and board games and books. They need to build, and knock down, they need to touch and feel, to create, dream, and imagine. Sure, kids can very easily learn shapes, colors, numbers, and letters technologically. But children can’t learn to climb, or jump, or balance, they can’t learn to catch or throw, they don’t learn to share, or cut paper using a computer or playing a video game. Cause and effect, and logical thinking are best learned by actually “doing”, not by clicking and dragging and watching a computer screen do the work for them.
Remember being a kid, and turning sticks into wands, or swords? Looking up at the clouds and seeing what “animals” you could find? Or turning that big box your parents new appliance came in, into a rocket ship, or secret hide away? Remember making mud pies and splashing in the rain puddles? It just seems that kids don’t do much of that anymore.
Kids are getting lazier, their imagination and creative nature are being lost, they have no patience, and get irritated if the computer runs a little slow, or they’re phones die, or OMG, the electricity goes out because of a storm! My kids think that is a fate worse than death! They literally don’t know what to do with themselves! They honestly get on the phone and start calling friends to see if their power is on, and if they can go to their house! Yes, my kids are not immune to technology either. My kids are 19, 15, and 11-all boys! They are amazing, wonderful, great, handsome, all that, but also, they are typical of today’s generation of kids.
These kids are out future, and they need a little help. We as parents, are so busy today. So many duel incomes, or single parent homes. It is way easier to stick your kids in front of the tv, or let them play video games, then it is to interact with them, or clean up after they have made an enormous mess with their legos, or play dough, or glitter. But they need that. They need a good start. One of the things I think we can do is to keep the technology at bay for the first few years of our children’s lives. Limit it until it’s absolutely necessary that they need it.
There are so many amazing products out there that will help your child grow and develop and gain the skills they need to be ready for this vast, amazing world we live in. Toys like blocks, shape sorters, and legos, cars and trucks, baby dolls, costumes, play kitchens and tool sets, push and pull toys, trikes, bikes, and balls, to name a few. As well as toy drums, horns, and keyboards. All of these toys foster a sense of learning, be it educational or developmental. Many help with cognitive learning, nurturing, or fine and large motor development.
Mastering a puzzle is a great and fun accomplishment for most of us, young and old. Puzzles certainly can teach all sorts of things, depending on what kind they are. Peg puzzles for small children can teach anything from animal recognition to colors, shapes, numbers, and letters. More advanced puzzles are great for cognitive learning, logical thinking, spatial relationships, and problem solving.
Books, well they’re pretty self explanatory. Reading is crucial. I tell my kids that no matter where they are in life, they will, without fail, have to read something every single day. Whether it’s a street sign, the tv guide, instructions, or a text, all of these things requires reading. Then we have things like board and card games. These teach a vast amount of skills, depending on what type of game it is. Other than the obvious things like numbers, counting, colors, and reading, they also teach children patience, how to take turns, and how to win and lose gracefully. When a child is having fun, and doing something they love, they don’t even realize they’re learning anything.
We need to sit down and play a game, read a book or take a bike ride with our kids. These types of things are great bonding and family time experiences. I personally don’t feel like the shoot ’em up video games my kids play lead to a great bonding experience or wonderful family memories!
I have been working on what I feel is an incredibly neat web site for the last 4 months or so. A site that I am extremely proud of. It is called Coolcreativekids.com. I have around 200 or so items, including toys, games, puzzles, books, science kits, musical instruments, and more. None of the items are electronic, and a very few require batteries.