We have had the iPad for almost two years now and to say that Shantanu can use it well is an understatement. He is addicted. He can spend almost an entire day playing games and watching videos on Youtube on it. How did it come to this and who’s responsible? ME ME ME!
It started we me showing him around the workings of the tablet. I downloaded a few educational apps on it, drawing, colouring, tracing alphabets and numbers and puzzles. I was trying to be the über cool mom who taught through technology. Being an instructional designer, I have to promote learning through technology, don’t I?
Within a couple of days, he got the knack for using it. Soon he started mastering most of the apps, drawing, tracing, colouring, he did it all. Memory and puzzle games – he cracked it all and I realised I had a very intelligent kid. Soon, he started needing the iPad the moment he got up, during his breakfast, lunch and dinner. Even the bed time stories were read, heard or seen on the iPad.
After a few months, he figured out how to search for games in app store and came up to me to download them. Thankfully, I had made the downloads password protected and he couldn’t just download anything with a tap on the screen.
Now, almost two years since we have the iPad, he hasn’t played most of the games on iPad. The day starts with Youtube and ends with Youtube. Octonauts, cbeebies, mickeymouse clubhouse, chip and dale, tom and jerry runs on it throughout the day. And I realised that he hasn’t picked up a paper yet, not touched a pen or pencil. Real puzzles and books are a thing of the past. Books and blocks are gathering dust and I have turned my four-year old into a couch potato just like me. Horror!
A couple of months ago, the iPad stopped working miraculously. It was another wake up call. We didn’t get it fixed for many days to break the habit. Der aaye durust aaye. Post summer, we started going to the library regularly. I now get him a lot of real hard copy books where he can touch the pages, smell them (if at all) and feel them. It’s already late but he has finally taken a liking to listening to stories (thanks Donaldson for her awesome books). Going to the library is a fun activity and we like to stay there for a couple of hours and read out some books there.
After some frantic search on the internet I found out many interesting sites for kid activities. Education.com has loads of activities that you can try out at home – arts, crafts, writings, tracing, numbers – you name it. You can see the step by step procedure to complete any particular craft or artwork. I use it regularly now for creative inspiration.
worksheetfun.com has dozens of worksheets. Capital small alphabets, numbers, math, reading, writing, shapes. All you need to do is print out the sheets. The schools here don’t stress much on writing. It’s much more laid back compared to the schools in India and I use this one to try to keep up with the extensive curriculum we have back home.
uk.ixl.com/ and readingeggs.co.uk/ are paid sites but they do offer some free stuff and it’s absolutely brilliant. Readingeggs is a great source if you want to teach your kid how to read and Shantanu is always excited to “start reading” now. It has some nice animations and repetitive exercises for memorizing phonics and word patterns. uk.ixl focuses on maths – counting, comparing, long and short, inside outside, sizes, positions etc.
We had some great activity time at home and am happy to have broken that tablet addiction.