Technology has been both a godsend and a headache to parents. Prolonged hours of video gaming, television hours, and phone activities are being blamed for children spending less time jumping, running, and playing around. So, parents are divided between two categories: at the end of one scale, some parents embrace the advancements of technology while others choose to remove technology completely.
However, as the children continue to grow up in a world where technology plays an important role in learning, it has become increasingly difficult to separate them from it. Sure, you can still have a contractor build a basketball court for the kids, but you can’t stop the kids from playing basketball online (and have them learn from it).
Fortunately, there are many ways we can use technology to get kids moving through. Technology need not be the enemy of the parent. It could be an ally. But how?
While fitness trackers like Fitbits are designed for grownups, there are trackers made for kids. Most fitness trackers for kids are designed to help the kids track their physical exercise in a fun and engaging way. Most fitness trackers, however, are more suitable for children around seven years old and above. These trackers often sync to a mobile application via Bluetooth or the kids can use it on their own.
If your child uses a tracker linked to an app, these trackers often come with a parent portal so you can track your child’s progress, as well as set challenges for them (and give them virtual rewards). These trackers also come with a children’s portal to let the kids see how they’re doing.
The kids can also use their fitness trackers to compete in physical activity challenges with their friends or to learn new skills across different sports.
Think of it this way: it’s a combination of treasure hunting and orienteering. Geocaching is an outdoor activity where you use mobile apps or GPS coordinates to find containers, also called ‘geocaches,’ that other kids have hidden. To add to the fun, there are more than a thousand geocaches in the world.
You can take your kids out to search for geocaches in the neighborhood. Just make sure that when you find one, leave it where you saw it so other people searching for it will find it. You can just look at the “treasure” and leave it intact. You can also replace the cache and its contents with similar valued items.
Caches are usually small but interesting things that have a low value, comparable to toys or little tools. These items are perfect for slightly older kids.
Photography Scavenger Hunts and Home Movies
Many people would agree that movies can be boring, especially if you’re filming them from one spot. With more affordable digital cameras and mobile phones available in the market, it’s easy to make home movies on the go. You can use a spare phone at home and let the children commandeer their videos, encouraging their creativity.
Have them create a story or plot or you can also have them take a video of everyone doing their stuff at home. This gets their creative juices flowing. It can also be a team project where you can have your family go back over the footage and edit it later. Help your kids plan out these videos by giving them themes or other activities they can include in the film.
Exercise with YouTube Videos
If parents can use YouTube to exercise at home, so can the kids. YouTube is also full of videos that get the kids moving. Children’s workouts on YouTube are often 25 minutes that take children through different games. Most of these videos are also designed to increase your child’s endurance and strength without exhausting them or boring them out. The best part: you don’t need equipment and you can do the workout with your kids.
Plus, many of these videos are made according to your child’s preferences. Yes, there are Disney princesses workout videos online, too!
Technology’s Not Always a Bad Thing
Technology need not be the Enemy Number One of the parents who want their kids to excel physically, mentally, and emotionally. Used properly, technology can benefit you and your children with the following:
- Greater independence. The resources on the Internet offer greater access to early education. Children can easily do their projects without stepping into a library. That’s not to say that we don’t need books. The Internet can support the information already seen in books.
- Stronger social interaction. Social connections online build a sense of community for the kids, especially with the children that share their interests.
Don’t chuck out that phone just yet. Instead, let technology be a tool to help your child become successful.