Thursday, February 20, 2014

Playing together: Using ebooks and digital media with young children (Part 4)

Video games can provide great opportunities for parents and kids to play together. Seek out creative, engaging experiences to play together. Today’s parents grew up with video games--seek out games you like to play together.

iPad family game time, via Tim Wilson, Flickr
Alex B., father of four in Berkeley, describes the fun he has playing Minecraft with his 8-year-old daughter Gabriella:
“We have some worlds we build together, and some we each build on our own. When she’s in her world, she has the whole box of Minecraft toys to play with. When we’re in our world together, we collaborate and build the world we both want to explore.”
Gabriella first heard about Minecraft from a friend and needed help from her dad to figure out how to play. When he realized the fun they could have together, Alex joined her in creating a world together: “It’s about imagination, creativity and design.”

At our school library, kids have a great time playing iPad math and physics games together. Interactive math games like Hungry Fish or Operation Math become a fun social learning experience for two or three children doing it together. Simple Physics is a great partner game, as kids work together to build tree forts, bridges and stairs.

When you’re looking for digital media, don’t just replicate offline activities. Try to use new tools to make learning fun. Arcademic Skill Builders is popular at our school because this helps children practice their math facts in a fun, game environment, instead of just using flashcards.

Above all, I've found that kids love playing with digital media together, making their learning and gaming social.

This week, I'm exploring different aspects of using eBooks and digital media. I'll share my thoughts in six parts:
I'd love to hear your thoughts on this emerging field. What engages your kids? What do you look for when you choose digital media for your children?

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

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