Today’s children grow up in a vastly different technological world than that of their parents or grandparents. While you may fondly recall a favorite storybook stored on your nightstand, many kids today are reading using their parent’s smartphone or tablet. Digital devices are becoming a regular part of a child’s life, and parents should understand what this means for how kids learn and grow.
How are these new devices different from traditional electronics? Unlike passively watching TV or a DVD, reading a book or playing a game on an electronic device is interactive, meaning children can actively explore a story or game through touch screens or voice commands. Interacting through technology can be an enjoyable way for kids to obtain new skills.
Most professional organizations, such as the American Academy of Pediatrics, recommend limiting screen time for children 2 years of age or younger. But, when used appropriately, technology and media can support both learning and relationships, according to a joint statement from the National Association for the Education of Young Children and Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media.
So how does today’s technology help children? Learning math and literacy skills can be fun when embedded into game play, and because many games require creative thinking and problem solving, children learn on multiple levels, and therefore obtain a broader knowledge base. Also, because children can often work together on games, they learn important social and teamwork skills too. It’s always important to keep in mind that learning through digital devices is not meant to replace traditional learning methods – but rather complement them.
Today’s technology also provides a fantastic opportunity for classic authors to participate in the digital space too, reaching a whole new generation of children. For example, the beloved characters and solid values of love, compassion, empathy, caring and sharing emphasized in Mercer Mayer’s Little Critter book series are now delighting parents and kids alike with the launch of a new interactive reading adventure app, “The Trip – Little Critter Reading Adventure.” A 2013 National Parenting Center Seal of Approval recipient, this fun app features the same practical, family-based situations typically presented in Mayer’s books, and now kids can engage with the characters and the story in ways they could not have been done before. In this action-packed car trip, kids can help Little Critter and his family find the right road, fix the tire when it goes flat, and of course play fun games along the way!
Recommended for children ages 3 to 7, this new app offers a balance of fun games and basic preschool learning activities including an inventory-collection game that fosters problem-solving skills; alphabet flash cards hidden on every screen that teach new words; and six educational games reward children with collectible gems that unlock a fun game – all of which makes learning that much more fun! “The Trip – Little Critter Reading Adventure” is now available through iTunes, Google Play, Barnes & Noble and Amazon.
Award-winning author Richard Scarry’s characters, first introduced almost 50 years ago – also come to life in the digital world in a new app coming soon, “Richard Scarry’s Busy Kids: One, Two Three, Huckle Go!” Children ages 3 to 7 will be able to help Huckle Cat and his friends navigate the maze-like course through the busy streets during Busytown’s big and busy race. Much like the books, this app celebrates the joy and humor of learning in everyday life, and includes positive messages for young children.
Parents today have more options than ever when it comes to helping their children learn and grow. Age-appropriate apps based on classic and new books alike are a convenient way to help kids learn new skills and have fun at the same time. Digital devices are here to stay and interactive learning has many benefits – so find a few special apps for your kids and let the learning commence. For more information visit Silver Dolphin Books.