This is what you look like if you balance on a gym-ball, at your computer desk with two under three year olds balanced on your knee. Feel sorry for me, its hard keeping a two year old balanced as he enjoys something on the screen, whilst his little sister strains for the keys.
Its a rather apt picture though, as Heart FM and Windows are running a campaign to encourage parents to show children how easy it is to use their computers creatively. They have enlisted some girl band called The Saturdays (I’ve not even heard of them personally, until now, but then I am 34 and OLD) to launch the campaign and have an awesome website full of competitions with prizes and everyfink. You can visit it here at this competition link.
Lets make this clear, as most of my readers know, I have two children; A boy aged two and a bit and a baby girl, now 6 months. Obviously, my experience of computing with them is a little bit limited. However, the whole thing did get me thinking, as me and the hubby like to use our computer a lot. As I’m sure you can tell. Being the sort of person always worried about what the future will bring, I am quite keen to encourage the kids to be IT whizz kids and computer geeks. Lest they turn into strange teenage faddy weirdos and keep me up all night worrying about their antics. I like my sleep.
So, with the future in mind, there are a few things that I do on the computer with the kids. And, yes, inevitably, they do all involve considerable amounts of interaction. No, I don’t get any peace, even in my sleep, I’m worried about something.
Picture the scene, cream carpet, tasteful blue furnishing, flat screen monitor computer in the corner of the lounge. Harassed woman with toddler and baby on her lap, balancing on a gym ball whilst sitting at the computer. The conversation between me and child; usually goes like this:
Me; “No, put my pen down! No! That’s the off button, no don’t press that, arghhh we’ll have to start again.”
Child; “He, he me, me me ME! LET ME!”
Me; “Not that one”
Child; agaaaaaaaajutiul;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;; – that’s the pressing of a lot of buttons. In fact, so many that about 4 keys actually fell off my work laptop and had to be sort of wedged back in. I hope no-one with sticky fingers is using it whilst I’m on maternity leave.
Can I give you a tip? Don’t try blogging with a child (specifically a pre-schooler), on your lap.
But what actually do we do on the computer? Surprisingly, there are a vast number of things that take up a fair amount of time and hold their interest well. Great for me, it means I don’t get driven mad by Fireman Sam for the millionth time. Although, as we visit this website you can’t have it all!
To summarise and provide a handy little resource for parents;
*We spend hours and hours on the Cbeebies website, printing out pictures of Bob the Builder, trying to do some of the simple games and singing along to the songs.
*We look at this little cartoon SamSam which has an un-believably catchy theme tune
*We play this tractor game
*We play lots of these Fisher Price Games
*We press buttons/ keys on the keyboard, just for the hell of it. 6 month old baby Fifi just loves the noise. She gets all excited and her legs flail about randomly.
*We end up with about 15 different windows open and mummy gets a bit confused
And finally, we get bored and spend the time bouncing up and down on the exercise ball that I sit on instead of a chair! There you have it, computing with a pre-schooler. Don’t be shy, it can be done.