Apologies for the delinquent postings as I’ve been on Spring Break with my family – mostly outdoors, which given the recent lovely weather, has been the place to be. Speaking of weather….
The ascendance of e-media has dulled the luster of once-treasured pastimes for children: building with blocks and boxes, banging pans, and perhaps most of all – going outside. It has been described as a “vast, uncontrolled experiment,” where a generation of young mammals are removed from what for eons has been their natural habitat and immersed into a new one, their experience largely reduced from 3 to 2 dimensions. In a twist akin to “better living through chemistry,” this artificial environment, because it involves technology, is supposed to be more educational. And despite any evidence that this is so and lots that it isn’t, newer and more portable e-media is developed for them, playing and exploring replaced by expectation of continuous learning.
Nowhere is this experiment/trend more surreal than with programming, and more recently apps, devoted to “teaching” children about the outdoors. Baby Einstein was first, declaring on behalf of Baby Neptune that “even something as familiar as water can be fascinating.” Their huge financial success invited copycats such as So Smart! showing us Outside and Nighttime, Baby Learn Nature for the iPad, and the Vinci Mobile Learning Tablet revealing the Sky, Water, and Adventure.
The natural reply for all of these is: Why not just take a child outside? Let them look up at the sky? Show them a puddle? Their innate curiosity will surely take care of the rest – with learning following as a natural byproduct, not as a purported marketing claim. The real thing is pretty much free, too!
And so, here we are, almost Wednesday and overdue for fun, courtesy of our friends at Productive Parenting. Children – like all of us – are fascinated by weather. Should I wear galoshes? A coat? Mittens? A bathing suit? They are also natural observers and scientists. So rather than plopping them on the sofa in their climate-controlled, indoor biosphere, why not channel their natural senses of adventure and experimentation, and let them be weather-people! So without further ado, Weather Forecast!
Recommended ages: 3 and up (apprentice/intern training is great at any age).
- Problem solving.
- Concept development.
Visit ProductiveParenting.com for more fun, free activities. Share your own, too!