Digital literacy is such an essential part of early childhood learning.
In 10 out of 10 instances, your child would have been lunging toward your phones, remotes, and tablets even as a baby. 8 out of 10, you would have gotten them toy phones and toy remotes thinking it to be the perfect solution. 10 out of 10, they would have rejected it for the actual device, and the toys are now gathering dust in a corner.
Technology is an ever-present, fast-growing, and fast-changing part of our kid’s childhood. As much as we would like to see their attention diverted from screens, it is easier imagined than practised. Additionally, all the worries a parent has regarding the introduction of technology in their young child’s life, like their safety, privacy, and physical and mental health, are entirely valid. But a healthier approach in this scenario is to take charge of their digital literacy.
The impact of technology on children is many and well-researched. It, thus, makes sense to befriend this crucial aspect of growing up in the current generation. One way to do this would be to introduce technology early and safely while setting boundaries. Such an approach will build a healthy relationship between technology and your child. It will also secure the immense benefits of technology on child development.
Technology for kids
As parents, you tend to research a lot on the right way of teaching your children, right? You look up everything relevant, consider the advancements, and do an in-depth enquiry about what’s progressive. And everywhere you see, you find the word STEAM being associated with early education. What is STEAM education?
S for Science
T for Technology
E for Engineering
A for Arts
M for Mathematics
In the realm of STEAM education, where you can find relevant curriculum ideas for the other subjects, the definition of what technology is for kindergarten can still be somewhat vague. Technology is a vast field. By nature, it is constantly evolving and fast-changing. Thus, condensing technology for kids in a simple manner—that appears relevant to early learners, is easier to understand, and builds strong foundation skills—is the need of the hour. And we can do this by practising simple technology activities for kids.
Technology is already prevalent in the environment the kids are growing up in. Not just inside your homes, where kids are regularly interacting with smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, smart speakers, and every modern gadget imaginable, technology is also being integrated into classrooms. Kids are now in the era of smart classrooms with digitized green boards, projectors, and video-based curriculums.
You cannot build strong foundations of a subject in your child without introducing the basics of it. The benefits of technology on child development can only come into effect after children are taught how to navigate technology safely. We believe that children should be provided with ample opportunities to interact with technology. Device safety, internet safety, navigating touchscreens, and introduction to keypads are all necessary knowledge of technology for kids. Children need to be functional in the subject before delving further into concepts.
Since technology largely dictates the working dynamics of this modern world, it only makes sense that kids catch on early. Additionally, the learnings from technology are many. Technology opens up so many prospects to learn, create and innovate. All of these skills aren’t restrictive. They are skills used in various areas of life for their betterment. Technology presents the opportunity to build patience, enjoy, and adapt to changes.
And yet exposure to gadgets alone isn’t what technology for kids should be. It is the spirit of inquiry about how technology has developed, has since evolved, and can be innovated further. This curiosity should be the true purpose of exploring the role of technology in early learning to properly examine and determine what technology is for kindergarten and how best to implement it.
The impact of technology on children can be beneficial in the way it is available to them for building curiosity, a sense of wonder, a spirit of discovery, and patience. Not just in what technology is, but rather the why and how of technology.
And to build that spirit, here are our suggestions for some of the most liked technology activities for kids!
Augmented Reality-based activities
One of the best ways for children to explore the elements of modern-day computer technology is through tech-driven, Augmented Reality inspired toys, games, and apps. The kind of exposure that we at PlayShifu strive to provide in multiple formats and according to the varied interests of your growing child. Let them explore a world of learning built on AR with our Orboot globes. The Orboot range of educational toys enables children to explore facts about the planets Earth and Mars in 3D. Orboot Dinos helps them interact with 50+ dinosaurs and learn about their habitat. All of this is possible with a host of AR-tech that’s been used to design these experiences that are being acknowledged as one of the best augmented reality-based activities by parents and educators worldwide.
Constellations with a torch
A fun and engaging way to teach about the fundamentals of lights, making constellations using a torchlight is a great technology activity for kids. You’ll need a torch with darkened reflectors. Help your child cut a few circles from a thick sheet of paper according to the circumference of the torch. Now trace different constellations on the paper and help them poke holes on the paper where the stars are traced. Darken the room, put the torch on, and focus it on a wall. Now place the circles with constellation patterns on them on the face of the torch. The dark part will cover the light, escaping only through the poked holes and forming constellation patterns on the wall.
If your child is delighted by this light play, you can introduce them to Tacto Laser, which is full of fun technology activities for kids that teach them all about the physics of light using interactive figurines: mirrors, prism, laser beam, and flashlight. This fun board game enables them to explore the principles of light on their own, as they reflect beams of light using mirrors or split them into 7 different colors on screen using the prism figurine to solve puzzles.
Here’s a technology activity for kids that teaches them about structure, support, and balance, and you probably have everything required sitting at home. Building blocks! Get your little one building towers using blocks, objects, legos, and magnetic tiles, and let their imagination loose. Building towers is a great activity that teaches them about spatial distribution, building solid foundations, and maintaining balance. It requires focus and perception to link everything just right, to build play structures they are proud of.
The next step in using technology for this spatial education is Plugo Link. It is a set of magnetic building blocks that drive on-screen games, as children use the blocks to construct, design, and stack. Plugo Link boosts design thinking and spatial reasoning skills with its 300+ puzzles and challenges and multi-sensory experience.
Switch to coding books
Like coloring, activity, and puzzle books, some of the most relevant books you’ll find these days are coding books. Coding is a language, and like all languages, the earlier it is introduced, the better it will be picked up by your children. When searching for a technology activity for kids, coding is one with incredible impacts on learning. Coding teaches reasoning and logical analysis to children. It teaches patterns, algorithms, sequencing, branching, loops, and more. All these learnings help build critical thinking in your child, which they will use in other parts of their lives. There’s a range of books in the market to start your kid’s coding early on.
As you focus on building early skills through offline coding activity books, there’s also the fun and educational world of Tacto Coding to dive into. An interactive game set that teaches the basic concepts of coding using visual, hands-on methods. Children can get an understanding of what loops, sequencing, I/O, and selection are with the help of storytelling and real-world elements. A fun way to make children think and visualize code before they learn how to write it.
Integrate technology into everyday learning
Familiarize your child with technology on a routine basis because lives have become highly tech-driven, so why not channel a positive impact of technology on children? Many research-based technological tools are available today that solely focus on early learning. These toys and apps have been designed to engage young minds and enhance their learning capabilities. Many of them take pride in being multi-sensory toys. There are apps built to engage the minds in multiple ways and develop foundational skills.
You can use AR-powered toys to teach your young children the alphabet and spellings, math, or about Earth and its 1000+ facts. The choices are endless, the possibilities amazing. You’ll ensure mindful screen time, safe digital literacy, and a fun way of befriending your kids with technology.
Adopting technology for kids: a growing concern
As parents, you will consider the pros and cons of everything for your children. The same is the case with technology activities for kids. Like everything else, this topic also comes with its pros and cons that need to be considered. With care and consideration, the benefits of technology on child development can be encouraged. The most significant benefit would be the child’s awareness of the environment they’ll be growing up in.
The decision to include technology in the everyday learning of your children is a big one. It is sensible to introduce them to technology as they grow up because this is the world they are born in and will grow up in. Familiarizing children with their environment is a necessity for their healthy growth. It prepares them better for their future, teaches them skills relevant to their times, and provides them with beneficial opportunities to advance.
In our everyday lives, we surround ourselves and, therefore, our children with gadgets and services based on some or the other form of technology. Even bringing up the baby, we surround them with technology like baby monitors, white noise machines, ambient lighting, and more. We need to consider how much technology has made our lives easier. And this becomes another reason to support early technology learning for young children.
It sure is in a parent’s nature to worry! To wonder what’s good and bad for their child’s overall development. The question about whether they are directing their children towards the right course or not. As parents, you are bound to come across multiple types of research, opinions, and advice. You would be grappling with technology, screen time, exposure to the internet, and digital safety every day.
Then why not tackle the challenges head-on and include technology activities in their early learning curriculum? Let’s take charge of their digital and technology knowledge building from the beginning, so they are comprehensively trained and educated in the field. They can safely manage it as they grow up. Let us know your thoughts on including technology in the early education of your children in the comment section.