If you are a parent or grandparent, or work with youngsters, you may be concerned about the amount of time they spend at computers. After all, the Internet can be dangerous, and sitting at a screen for long periods can be unhealthy and unsociable. But a short spell of selective, adult-guided computing can be highly valuable to children. Both the computer and the Internet offer fabulous opportunities for learning through fun. Here are a few examples.
Drawing and coloring programs, such as Paint, let you sketch the easy way. The vibrant tones shine out attractively as you whirl your virtual pen or brush around, and if you make a mistake, no problem — t he click of a button will undo it. Children can learn about color combinations as they mix and dab, and develop their drawing skills, free of paper, pens and clutter.
By clicking onto the computer’s sound recorder, children can record their own voices. They might have a story to tell, a song to sing or a joke to say. Whatever it is, they can play it back and hear how they sound; it’s a fascinating experience and a great way into performing. But why stop there? An inventive child will love experimenting with other noises and sound effects.
Typing on a computer keyboard can be interesting for a child, especially with all the text-enriching accessories available. They can play about with fonts, sizes and colors, and experiment with highlights, bold and italics, developing their presentation skills with every click.
The Internet holds all the information a young fact finder could want, and there are plenty of safe, child-friendly websites to visit. With adult guidance, a web-search can be a valuable journey of discovery. Recogniz ed, established sites such as Wikipedia, National Geographic and Google Maps can produce treasure troves of information in attractive, accessible formats.
As children develop their Internet skills and learn to dip and delve, they’ll discover the wonders of online research. A search for one item will lead them to others, opening up ever more vistas. In this way, a youngster can quickly become height=”auto” an expert in a chosen field.
Some kids love languages, and what better way to practice speaking and listening than through an online learning game? They’ll find a vast choice of languages and associated challenges to choose from.
An online calculator can provide lots of educational fun for a child. There are plenty of styles to choose from, including big, chunky ones that make funny noises when you click on the numbers and icons. Budding maths stars will also love the number challenges and maths puzzles available.
Most children like pop music, and for some, that’s the only type of music they encounter. But many youngsters have the natural capacity to enjoy other forms of music too, such as classical, folk, jazz and different ethnic styles. A guided search on a music site such as YouTube will open up a thrilling array of music to listen to. The “Top 10 ” listings of the different categories will serve as a guide to the most stirring and uplifting tunes. Children who learn musical instruments will be motivated by watching and listening to an expert in the field.
A computer camera offers a great incentive for acting. In a relaxed setting, such as bedroom or living room, children may reveal surprising talents. The unobtrusive camera and play-back facility will encourage them to keep up the interest and develop their dramatic technique.
These are just a few of the million-and-one ways children can benefit from the home computer, while having a great time too. A helping adult hand and eye will ensure a safe and fulfilling adventure every time — and some healthy outdoor play in between.