Computers, smart phones, and tablets have become staples in most children’s day to day lives. While it is easy to see the negative side of this, there are also many benefits. It seems the main component to the benefits outweighing the negatives is whether kids are creating or consuming with technology. Commonsense Media was recently discussing this topic and we thought we’d share.
From Common Sense Media
New Strategies to Get Kids to Create Media, Not Just Consume It
Instead of only watching and playing, encourage kids to make, code, and craft their own content.1/24/2018
During a typical day, kids and teens check out YouTube, watch TV, play video games, scroll through social media feeds, and listen to music. Overall, they’re passive consumers of the content they love — which is fine. But with a little nudging — and the right tools — they can be using that time to build creative skills while sharing their stories, opinions, and ideas.
If they have a story to share
As soon as kids start talking, it’s great to get them to tell stories. For younger kids, encourage them to narrate their activities as they build, climb, and pretend by asking questions such as, “What are you building? Who will use it? Tell me about your adventure!” There are also apps that let kids record their stories as they play. With older kids, some will naturally put pencil to paper, but others take a bit more prodding. For those kids, digital book creation can make their writing process feel more grown-up and tangible. Having a real audience also shows kids that their writing can matter, so tweens and teens can use sites and apps where they can share creations, and they can even riff off their obsessions in the form of fan fiction. Finally, if your tween or teen has strong opinions about issues or interesting people in their lives, they can use tools to document and share those stories, too.
- For younger kids: Toca Life: School, Diary Zapp, Me by Tinybop; Storybird
- For older kids: Write About This, Book Creator, Scholastic Kids Press Corps, StoryCorps, We Are Here DIYdoc
If they have a directorial vision
For kids who love to watch television and movies (spoiler: Most do!), it can be exciting for them to get in on the action. When they’re younger, kids love to combine their toys with storytelling, which is not unlike directing a movie. To share those stories, they can play around with animated storytelling apps that let them record a mini-movie with movable characters, props, and settings. As they get older, stop-motion animation might be more their jam, and there are apps for that, too. And if you’d prefer tweens and teens to not have their own YouTube channels but you want to encourage the fun of making videos, there are tools that let kids record, edit, and share in a more limited way.
- For younger kids: Toontastic 3D, Lipa Theater: Story Maker
- For older kids: Goldieblox and the Movie Machine, SKIT! Kids – Video Maker, VidMaker – 3D Moviemaker for Kids, Magisto
If they have an inner artist
When your kid is naturally artistic, it probably won’t take much prompting to get them to draw or paint. But sooner or later, they’ll want to expand their horizons. If your little kid loves to color, give them more inspiration with apps that introduce famous artists. Older kids who don’t claim to be artists but love superheroes, comics, or manga can create their own cartoons with panels, dialogue balloons, and unique characters. Even emerging fashion designers can find a tool to help them express their inner Versace. Of course, for tweens and teens, there are more advanced digital drawing and painting products to create sophisticated designs.
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