Friday, August 22, 2008

Computer games for tots

Well, the weeks since William was born have been been pretty quiet. We've had some out-and-about times and some quiet home times too. During those home days I have heard one thing over and over again from Elijah: "Mamma, can I play the computer?" Now, I guess I shouldn't be surprised with a husband who loves gaming and forum-reading and other computer-related activities (and a Mum who blogs :)). But I have been feeling a bit guilty about him sitting and playing. If it were up to him, he'd do it for hours on end. He absolutely loves the stories and music and games it provides. After he's had his computer time, he is happy to do other things for the rest of the day. I limit it to a maximum of 1 hour a day. Usually it falls in the morning, between morning tea and lunch. It still feels like a long time, but for him it actually goes fast and he still has a bit of a fuss when it's time to get off!

On the up side, I guess it is less passive than watching tv. And he's learning lots of things. Mouse control, left and right, using the arrow keys for directing characters around, letter / number recognition, even reading some words such as 'play', 'start', 'exit', and 'loading'. (I'll walk in and he'll say "It's just loading, Mamma"!). I guess this busy time with a newborn is a season, and playtimes together will get easier again. I still do try to have one long playtime with him each day, as well as outdoor time and of course stories, meals, cooking together, bathtime etc etc. I'm thinking "out loud" as I type. Maybe the computer gaming isn't so bad. ........ :)

If your little ones are interested in the computer, I highly recommend the Reader Rabbit software series, as well as the cbeebies website at which is FULL of fun activities which are easy for children to work through on their own. Always make sure you are nearby if your child is on the internet however, as they may accidentally deviate from the webpage. Also, the child should be at eye level with the screen and not too close to it either. Every 10 minutes or so, have them hop up and have a little stretch and look around the room too. And like with all fun activites, give them a 5-minute warning when their time up is coming, and have another activity such as a play outside or lunch ready to transition into.

Any other websites to recommend?


Heather said...

We have Reader Rabbit also, and Bee loves it. She too can play on the computer for hours. has links to lots of different web sites for kids, both fun and educational. Bee likes to play the interactive math games, and also Art Detective.

Renata said...

Zai & Ellie both enjoy - a maths sight with simple activities. We have one Play & Learn children's bible game that they also enjoy. It's amazing how early they learn computer skills these days. Zai's class even has laptops coming in a few times a week (one per child mind you) - I remember when we had one computer for the whole school to use (mind you that was probably 20 years ago!) It sounds like you spend lots of time with Elijah, so don't feel guilty about a little computer time.


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