Soon, the sound of school bells will come to a close, and that means children will be off for another summer vacation. The question that arises with parents is what to do to keep children occupied. There are heaps of educational and recreational activities that can be planned as a carryover to the next school year. But, this also reflects the need to get the kids out of the house and away from an all day affair with game systems and mobile devices.
There are a host of apps that help build interest in educational pursuits and many of them can bridge that gap between school and summer vacation. One of those is from the Apple operating system that is called, Apps Gone Free. This can be found from the Itunes store and is free of charge. Others can be found at the app store, and it is wise to inform the children that this is the only way for a purchase and not a costly one. There is a list of categories from a drop down list and choose(kids) as the topic.
These apps are a wonderful learning and teaching experience and even though the apps are informative, they can be educational and give the children a sense of exploration. Here are some examples:
- Pancake, cupcake and ice pops- teach children about cooking and nutrition
- Kids puzzle- is a hands on manipulative and critical thinking
- Dentist- prepares the children for their first trip and parents can use this as a learning experience about the problem with too much sugar
- Coloring farm- a slight tap covers the farm with a blaze of colors
- Cardiograph- measure heart rate and parents can check this often and keep a log over the summer and then compare when the kids are in school?
- Convert units- changes settings to the metric systems
Parents may use creativity and homemade/makeshift articles from the home as a gimmick to get the children active and have a fun experience, too. This can be a great way for a rainy day or a quick, learning lesson. Remember not to throw away any articles or equipment, as they can be used in this demonstration as follows:
- Dish towels(old)- slide back and forth on the kitchen floor and what a great way to clean it.
- Towels- toss a safe ball with a partner back and forth to another group or over an object like volleyball.
- Bed sheets(old) – use as a makeshift parachute for arm exercises or just plain fun and place a safe object on top of the sheet and flip it.
- Make paper wad balls- toss into a container at various distances and this can be a great learning experience about cleaning up the house.
- Shoe boxes- use as skates
- Bubbles- add safe foam pipe insulation and try to hit bubbles with the foam pipe and count the hits and then do again, and again.
The new X-Box One is an upgrade from the 360 model, and even though it has features and many upgrades, it does have a mesmerizing effect on children. Parents should limit the amount of time and inspect the games, and if it’s appropriate. The same goes for the Wii system and many electronic/handheld devices, as they seem to lead to a sedentary lifestyle. Parents should join in at times to encourage family-time experiences and another way to monitor what games and activities are on the game systems.
A new trend is the Avenger series of characters that includes Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and the Hulk. There is a series of comics, apps and apparel that may have negative effects on the children, so the parents will have to watch excactly how the children are accessing the games and activities. There are movies out that are depicting those characters in various acts of violence and parents should talk with their children about the difference between reality and fiction.
Parents should meet their children on common ground and explore the possibilites of alternatives that are educational and recreational. Children are learning about all forms of technology at any early age and parents can help with that experience by giving opportunities in the home. In this way, the children can explore alternatives for activity and fun, and the parents can use simple games, gimmicks and no-throways as a positive learning experience.