Introducing children to technology is important as it helps them understand the world around better, satisfy their curiosity and inspire creativity. It is even more important nowadays in the age of computers and machines, when super fast progress requires young minds to understand not only the laws of nature, but also the laws of automated production processes. This modern and fascinating world constantly needs young talents, creative and open-minded individuals who will be able to keep revolutionising the reality as we know it. To do so they need to be introduced to technology in a fresh and equally creative way that will allow them to understand scientific principles behind production processes, and use their own reasoning and creativity to experiment with the world and to come up with new ideas and solutions.
Nowadays technology is more often understood as the final product in a form of computers, tablets, mobile phones or game consoles. But technology is also about how things are made and how they work.
Here are the 5 most Effective Ways of introducing Kids to Technology
using the principles of Active Multi-Sensory Learning:
1. Factories/ Museums/ Production Lines – there is no better way to learn how things work or are made than by witnessing the whole process yourself. For children it is always super exciting as they often do not realise what is hidden inside those many things they use everyday or the toys they play. Check your local town or area to see if there are any places where your child may see production lines or machinery at work. Some companies organise open-days for visitors or even special days for children when they not only will be able to see, touch or turn on/off things, but they may also be able to participate in hands-on workshops or special educational activities.
- the Chocolate Factory in Sicily, Italy,
- the Gingerbread Museum in Torun, Poland,
- the Aloe Vera Cosmetic Production Factory in Fuerteventura,
- the Canary Islands, Science Museum in London, UK,
- Harley Davidson Museum in Pennsylvania, USA
2. Dismantling Things – children absolutely love dismantling things just to see what is hidden inside. This way children can discover how individual parts work together to form bigger elements and then even more complicated mechanisms. It’s a great opportunity to observe how things are logically interconnected. Being able to dismantle something part after part and bit after bit reveals in reverse the whole assembly process. Normally children are not allowed to see inside sophisticated or Hi Tech objects when they are still functional. But being able to use them after they stopped working is not only a fascinating adventure revealing what is usually invisible, but may also spark many why and what questions. Dismantling things is also a perfect activity that supports the development of children’s fine motor skills as unscrewing, picking small parts and sorting them out require a great precision. Example things that you may give your child to dismantle: old or malfunctioning CD players, kitchen equipment, radios, TV sets or even computers and laptops. To protect your children form harm unplug or cut off the cords, remove old batteries and sharp metal or plastic elements.
3. Experiments – technology also refers to things that are fully or partially handmade. Great examples are plantations where the production process starts with soil preparation and finishes in a factory where for example juices are extracted from plants and cosmetics or medicines are made. At each stage of production there will be some activities which still need to be performed by humans, such as plant pruning, weeding, adding ingredients or mixing substances, etc. Experimenting with various substances and materials help children learn about their properties, how they behave when mixed up, and what changes they undergo when exposed to various external factors. Children love experimenting and such activities provide excellent opportunities for Multi-Sensory Learning and encourage spontaneous creativity.
4. Documentaries – there are many excellent TV programmes, shows or documentaries that illustrate in detail production processes of various every day objects. You will be really surprised how much your kids can learn just by watching such programmes! Just set your TV on one of the ‘How It’s Made’ episodes, wait until there is an interesting object presented and share your own surprise with your child by saying ‘You won’t believe what I’ve just seen? Did you know what they stuff teddy bears with? Just have a look!’ Once your child likes it, they may want to include such programmes into their favourites.
5. Apps and App Books – thanks to multimedia apps your kids can learn a lot while doing what they like best – playing. There are many apps to choose from that introduce children to production processes. They’ll show how things are made, allow your child to repair or construct things. Look for the apps that encourage logical thinking and creativity as your child will have more fun and the whole experience will be more meaningful.
If you are interested in a specific aspect of technology such as assembly lines and you want to show your kids how they work, you may take a look at Safari Toy Factory by Harold Hammings. Your kids will be able to see parts of toy wild animals move on a conveyor belt. Their task will be first to identify correct pieces of a toy animal and then put them together. Once it’s done a claw crane collects the toy and moves it to a huge wooden box. As the game doesn’t show what happens after that, you may encourage your child to try to predict the next steps. This may be a great follow-up activity and may spark some “why” and “how” questions and encourage your child to think and use their existing Knowledge and Understanding of the World. You may just talk about it or ask your child to draw the next steps including the package design for each toy. Perfect places to see fully operational conveyor belts are airports, supermarkets and sometimes shopping malls.
Get Safari Toy Factory for FREE on AppStore
Find the best ways that work for your child and have fun to learn with them. You will be surprised how much there is still to be discovered and that there is nothing better than doing this together with your kids!