by Leslie Campos
We have all been in a position where our kids were bored, but we were too exhausted or tied up with adult responsibilities to do much about it. Unfortunately, the weather doesn’t always cooperate, and we can’t send them outside in the rain, excessive heat, and snow. So, what’s a parent to do? The answer may be just as close as your children’s computer and TV screens.
A Healthy Relationship with Technology
Before you let your kids loose on the internet, it’s a good idea to establish rules. Having a healthy relationship with technology means setting a few limits. And, as a parent, you’ll want to keep up with what your kids are doing online. If your computer is older, you may need to invest in a newer model that delivers both the power to run their favorite programs and enough memory available so that you can use apps to block undesirable content. Although this can get pricey, you can usually find coupons and promotions from computer makers, including companies like Lenovo, that can help you get the best deal for your budget.
As promised, here are some of the most affordable, educational, entertaining, and engaging ways kids can put their screen time to use.
Coolmath Games is a staple in classrooms across the country. It is a completely free resource with fun and entertaining games available to help kids enhance their mathematics skills. If you are interested in signing up for an ad-free experience, membership is only $5.99 per month.
Prodigy is another website that focuses on teaching children math. However, it is set up much like an adventure game, where children collect tools and characters as they progress. The site is free to use, but memberships are available starting at $4.99 per month. For this price, your children get unrestricted access to the entire Prodigy world and can fully customize their arithmetic adventure with additional in-game rewards and hundreds of accessories.
Kids from toddler through eight years old will thoroughly enjoy the 9000+ activities available on ABCmouse. The website, which has won the Teachers’ Choice Award, Parents’ Choice Gold Award, and Mom’s Choice Gold Award for its expansive curriculum, is free to try for one month. After that, it is $9.99 but is accessible on smartphones, tablets, and desktop devices.
Google Earth is an underutilized opportunity for children to visit anywhere on the globe. They can explore Antarctica, stroll around Easter Island, or get a Street view of everything from London to Luxembourg — all from the comfort of home!
For kids that like to read, there is an unbelievable number of resources for free ebooks. In addition to those on the link provided, talk to your child’s librarian, as many schools also provide access to books via the district’s online library. And if you are an Amazon Prime member, look into the Kindle Lending Library.
Some days, kids don’t want to interact, they want to sit back, relax, and watch TV. Skip the mindless cartoons and tune in to things like Wild Kratts and Brain Games. Both of these shows — and many others — are appropriate for even the youngest members of your family but feature plenty of wit and wisdom that will keep even a work-weary parent interested.
While technology is not a substitute for one-on-one time with your child, it can give you a break on the days you need it most. However, do not let your children have unlimited access to games and television. Do your research, and point them in the direction of any of the above resources. You never know, they may just learn to love math, reading, or science, which they can explore again and again from the comfort of home.
Image via Pixabay