Making Screentime Productive

There are lots of articles that discuss why screen time is bad for kids, and explain how much screen time is good for kids, as well as tools for limiting it. Out-of-school time creates more time for parents and students to argue about spending time on screens.  But according to Mitch Resnick, MIT professor and developer of Scratch, a coding application for kids, it’s the wrong argument to have.  

According to Resnick, “Rather than trying to minimize screen time, I think parents and teachers should try to maximize creative time. The focus shouldn’t be on which technologies children are using, but rather what children are doing with them. Some uses of new technologies foster creative thinking; others restrict it. The same is true for older technologies. Rather than trying to choose between high-tech, low-tech, and no-tech, parents and teachers should be searching for activities that will engage children in creative thinking and creative expression.”

 

With these words in mind, we have some creative ways for kids to spend time with their screens that parents can feel good about. 

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Learn a new language.

Sites like Duolingo provide gamified platforms to learn foreign languages, often for free!   Choose your language and start learning on your computer or your phone. Take advantage of personalized learning, earn points as you go, and make picking up a new language fun. 

Build an app.

Common Sense Media has a list of great websites that can teach kids the skills they need to build their own apps.  Organized by age, the list provides free and pair resources that’ll get your child designing and using their own apps right away. 
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Build a robot.

MakeCrate’s robot kits let kids build their very own robot and send it on monthly missions, or create their own.  Parts and an online curriculum combine to teach both engineering and coding skills in a fun and creative way.

Create new music.

Got a music lover in your family?  Engage their interest with an app that allows them to create their own music.  This list from Red Tricycle outlines some great choices for kids of all ages.  
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Create some art.

Kids who love drawing and painting can combine those skills with some valuable creative screentime using some of the apps on Scholastic’s list of digital art websites.  
MakeCrate engineering and coding projects inspire creative screentime as well.   Subscriptions include projects to create music or build their own games.  Shop subscription kits today!
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