What on Earth can we do with our Earthlings and their devices? Maybe a lot. Here are a few online resources that spark offline activities that get my stamp of approval and why.
1. Get creative with how-to draw videos offline.
What It Is: Creative how-to drawing videos (this is beyond making putty) for example Cartoon Club on YouTube.
How We Found It: My 7-year-old son cracked the code on this one. He started watching how-to-draw cartoon character videos on YouTube.
Why We Like It: The artists speak and direct viewers through each stroke of the pen. A child can follow along in a few different ways. They can pause the video when needed. They can piece together the shapes into the final image. The repetitive output and building of pen control and scale drawing can influence their creative ability. These videos can inspire their own freehand drawings and definitely boost their confidence.
2. Use ASMR videos (autonomous sensory meridian response) to calm down as a family.
What It Is: ASMR videos provide calming sound effects. For example, a video could feature someone using an old microphone to create satisfying sound effects such as tapping, the sound of pencil on paper, the sound of wrappers opening, or other effects (see soap cutting). According to Psychology Today, “In a set of studies conducted by Poerio, Blakey, Hostler, & Veltri, (2018) it was found that watching ASMR videos increased positive emotional states only in people who experience ASMR. They also found that ASMR was reliably associated with physiological markers including reduced heart rate and increased skin conductance.”
How We Found It: Search up ASMR read about it and add content that you trust to your child’s YouTube favorites.
Why We Like It: It’s a lot of pressure for guardians and siblings to be the sole source of personal stimulation for our kiddos outside of school. This kind of entertainment offers stimulation that supports their curiosity. They may become more aware about their own responses to things in their environment. And it can give them the space to have interpersonal experiences untethering them from us.
3. Try Simply Piano by Joy Tunes or other music apps to be inspired by music on- and offline.
What: Simply Piano by Joy Tunes or other Music Apps
How to Use It: We sometimes use music apps as part of our child’s free or transition times like before bed, after dinner, after school, or in the morning. My kiddos finish school then it’s 30 minutes of reading followed by 30 minutes of Simply Piano before they move on to other activities.
Why We Like It: Because music is a form of cultural currency! Think about how many songs you know that other people around the world know. Now imagine you are in Ghana humming a tune and a perfect stranger starts to sing along. Boom! A connection. Are my kiddos going to be musical prodigies from using this app? No, however, I want them to gain an appreciation and have the ability to grasp the concept that music is made up of notes, what the notes are, and to build confidence and learn through play with sound. I love that Simply Piano uses songs that my kiddos know either because of radio play or because I introduced them. I often find them singing along as they play.
Online Safety Tips
Online safety relies on informed consumers. There is no app to fully protect our children from the social risks, the knowns and the unknowns, of internet use. There are however some great basics to follow and always I recommend have a generic email address for use with Apps, sites, and games. This way the clutter is not populating an email address you rely on for trusted communication sources such as your workplace, your family, and friends.
Also, if you can afford it, use the paid version of the app. Nothing in life is free and our Data is top dollar in this data-driven economy so protecting your data from the pool of collection occurring behind the scenes is key. We are the only thing standing in front of our kiddo’s identity and the internet. It is very much our job to learn what works to ensure we can shield them from identity theft as they grow towards adulthood. I encourage you to learn more from these recommended sources: