Friday, August 3, 2007

Learning is so much FUN!

If given the choice, my boys would play video games indefinitely, leaving only to make occasional bathroom visits or stick something edible in their mouths. Fortunately, they have a mom who keeps close tabs on the gaming situation. They are only allowed to play on the weekend, and then it's only for an hour (yes, I'm pretty harsh).

I would love to hear from some moms out there who struggle with this same situation--video game fanatics!

I have figured out a way for them to scratch that electronic itch without turning their brains into a thick gray soup. My 9-year-old son has a Leapster, and absolutely loves it. None of the kids own a handheld video game system, but honestly, they don't even miss it when they have this groovy gadget. He and his 5-year-old brother play on it constantly and have NO idea that they are actually learning something. Leapfrog also has all of the cool names that kids identify with--Disney princesses, Sonic, Ratatouille, Batman, you know the rundown.

Another option that we have found is to keep a lot of learning software available in the house. I give them about thirty minutes a day to do computer, and the kids always head for the Jumpstart programs. I purchased them for homeschooling, but the kids play it every chance they get. Knowledge Adventure has some great titles that all ages can enjoy.

I'm totally digging it, and it really helps battle the video game monster. So what do you moms do? Let them game? Replace them with learning toys or software? Let me know because I'm always looking for some great ideas!


Rae Pica said...

Hannah, what are your thoughts on yesterday's news story about the "Baby Einstein" and "Brainy Baby" DVDs? That's the one about the study showing that among babies ages 8 to 16 months, every hour spent daily watching these kinds of programs translated into six to eight fewer words in their vocabularies as compared with other children their age.

I know it must have come as a surprise to a lot of parents, who've been told by Madison Avenue that these "educational" products are essential to a child's optimal development. But it's actually completely congruent with the "real" research showing that babies learn best through the use of ALL their senses. And as far as language development is concerned, researchers at 14 universities discovered a major link between children's language interactions with adults and their intelligence, academic success, and emotional stability. But according to TV-Free America, children spend an average of 1,680 minutes per week watching TV and only 3-1/2 minutes per week in meaningful conversation with their parents!

By the way, congratulations on setting such strict limits. I know a woman whose mother actually took the TV out of the house every summer! That woman and her two little girls are now part of one of the most physically active families I know!

Hannah Keeley said...

I often wonder about all of the "experts" that tell us moms to stick our babies in front of the television...personally, I think our babies learn best through real contact. The battles with television will come soon enough. We don't need to encourage it while they are babies, do we?

My theory is that sometimes moms just want to have a little validation behind using the television as a babysitter.

I would probably not even have a television if it weren't for my husband, who is a sports nut, and of course, every Friday night is family movie night here. Charades only goes so far.

You sure do sound like you've got your head on straight. More power to ya, mama!

Mom-E said...

Eh- for every study that says tv/games/etc. are bad, there is another that says they're good. IMO it's all an issue of *moderation*.

For us, DH and I are gamers (World of Warcraft is our current fave) our kiddos are too little to get into gaming yet- but when they do, it will start with educational games with time limits (DH and I have time limits- our children will too LOL) Work and family time come first. If ones household responsibilities aren't done- one doesn't game. Family time is also top priority. We plan to carve out a specific amount of time that we spend together as a family- no screen-time. Preferrably at the park or otherwise outdoors- but something fun and exciting. (Board games, hide-and-seek, pretend play, paintball, arts/crafts... Whatever strikes our interest.) After that is said and done- if we want to play games- peachy ;)

Tawnja said...

Being paraprofessional in the Educational field, I agree that there are benefits to gaming.
Although we haven't used it yet (its a Christmas present) I bought the family a Wii, and will incorporate it into our family game night (play it together once in awhile as an alternative to board game or puzzles). I like the idea that we can all play, and that it makes us active (to a certain extent). We also have Leapsters (my daughter's is pink) and I love them as do the kids. Like all contoversail things it is all in how we present it ans in moderation.

Eileen said...

I didn't know what a favor my husband did for us by keeping our children off video games/computer games till recently. (Many of his co-workers described their teen children's habits of coming home from school and then isolating themselves for all of their free time with video/computer games, and he resolved that that would never happen in our house). I used to want all the "educational" software, etc., but now realize what a blessing it was to stay away from it all when our oldest children were little. Now, when we wanted to introduce higher level educational software (aka somewhat dull), or boring spelling drills on the computer (much better than me quizzing them every day!), they jump at the chance to use the PC.

For another interesting perspective on computer usage, check out "Preparing Sons..." by Teri Maxwell and her husband, at They have a very conservative Christian view that permeates their thinking and writing, some who read this might want to know that before reading their work. They basically allowed no entertainment with their computer, don't have a TV, but allowed their children to learn computer programming languages. Or to use drawing and art programs. One of their boys wrote a college level textbook at the request of a publisher as a teen, because of his in-depth knowledge. Their oldest daughter has authored a number of novels, and helps them with their family business in many ways. They have managed to rear sons who have had many marketable entrepreneurial skills, enough to purchase homes outright before marriage. How sweet is that, marriage without a mortgage?

Paz123 said...

Great source of software at Knowledge Adventure store....