To continue kicking off the month of February with guest posts and parenting resources, here is another amazing article about how to keep our kids' screen time productive during this rainy, cold season! Visit Jenny Wise at specialhomeeducator.com for more creative ways to parent!
Do you find yourself pulling your hair out every time a storm rolls in? Between sports, trips to the park, and running around the neighborhood with friends, we’re pretty good at keeping our kids active and busy when the weather is nice. But despite their treasure trove of toys and gadgets, our kids inevitably end up driving us crazy with complaints of boredom every time it’s too cold or rainy to go outside — or worse, they spend their day in front of the TV or latest video game console, and we get major parental guilt.
There’s no reason that rainy days need to be a waste or put your sanity at risk. But if you’re going to keep everyone happy when they’re stuck indoors, you’ll need to plan ahead. These are some favorite activities for rainy, snowy or otherwise blah days.
Today’s kids seem to come out of the womb knowing how to use smartphones, tablets, computers and every other tech innovation that hits the market. And as parents, we’re in a constant battle to limit screen time and persuade our kids to do something other than play video games. But what if computer games could teach our kids valuable skills?
That’s the idea behind Scratch and ScratchJr, a pair of free apps that introduce kids to computer programming by letting them create interactive animations, stories, and games. Created by MIT, Scratch is more than fun — it’s a way to foster creativity, logical thinking and basic programming concepts in children.
Online music lessons
Nothing beats the way kids’ faces light up when they’ve learned to play a new song. But playing an instrument isn’t just great for kids’ self-esteem, according to Time magazine, it also boosts their brain power and improves school performance. Rather than chauffeur your kids to yet another extracurricular, sign them up for online music lessons so they can learn and practice from the comfort of home. The only downside is that you have to listen to their trials, so you might want to skip the big brass instruments and drum sets in favor of something quieter.
Of course, you’ll need to buy an instrument before signing up for lessons. While there are a lot of cheap student models on the market, many are of such low quality that they never sound quite right. Rather than buying the cheapest instrument you can find, consider renting or buying a higher-quality instrument secondhand to give your child a chance to fall in love with the hobby. Music & Arts points out, “If you buy an instrument, you’ll have to decide whether to go new or used. Either way, the instrument needs to be easy to play, durable, repairable, and have a warranty.”
Your kids can become world travelers from the comfort of home with some creative geography games. You can make up your own game by letting kids choose a country on the map and then sending them on a quest to answer a list of questions you’ve devised. Depending on your children’s ages, you might ask them to look up basic details like the capital city, spoken languages, and greetings. Or, for older kids, have them uncover details of the country’s founding and explore its roadsides using GeoGuessr. If you don’t have the time to devise your own geography scavenger hunt, you can find a list of great geography-themed games online at Kid World Citizen.
It’s not easy to avoid screen time on dreary days, especially when you have things to get done. But screen time doesn’t have to mean wasted time. With a little legwork on your end, you can keep your kids’ brains growing with fun and educational online activities like these.
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