Kids today are growing up with very different childhoods to their parents. One of the major differences in generations is the presence of technology in children’s lives. While their parents might not have grown up with the internet, kids are growing up with a host of gadgets at their fingertips. It’s understandable that parents can start to worry about how much their children use technology. It can seem like they’re spending all their time indoors, passively consuming media instead of being outside, engaging with the world.
But technology doesn’t have to mean TV that turns their brains to mush or video games that desensitize them to violence. Gadgets can be educational too. Not just by teaching facts and skills, but by making kids more confident and thoughtful. So don’t ban gadgets from your house completely. Instead, consider these games and gadgets that your child can engage with and learn from.
Gadgets that exercise your child’s brain come in all shapes and sizes. One of the simplest ways to get them thinking is with iPad games. Whereas you once would have needed lots of boards and dice to play games, now all you need is a tablet. Play chess, checkers and tic-tac-toe for a modern twist on traditional games. For some even more up-to-date games and lessons, there are new games and gadgets too. For example, Dr. Kawashima’s Brain Training was an extremely popular game for the Nintendo DS. You can get games that involve puzzle solving, fact finding and even fine motor skills. By choosing video games carefully, you can make sure your kids are learning and not just playing passively.
Some gadgets and games can be excellent for boosting your child’s confidence. They can help kids to come out of their shell and be more confident in body and mind. For example, a kid’s karaoke machine may not look like much, but it has a whole lot of potential. Singing along to a karaoke machine can improve singing and music skills, for children who love to perform. You might find that you have a little performer who you never knew existed, until you gave them the chance to express themselves. Singing is also great for diction if you have a child who needs a bit of help with their speech development. And on top of that, karaoke can help with learning to read. It makes reading more fun and often only one word comes onto the screen at a time, making it easier to take in.
It’s nice to get outside for a bike ride or to kick a ball in the garden. But when that’s not possible gadgets and games can get the kids moving just as much. It started with simple dance mats, where kids could play a game involving light patterns. Then it evolved to Nintendo Wii games, where the games console’s sensor picked up movement. And now you can use Xbox Kinect, as well as many other gadgets that detect the movement of your body. It’s easy to get kids moving when they can do anything from playing tennis to having a dance-off.