I believe we’re extremely lucky to be able to raise our kids in the digital age. They have a wealth of information at their fingertips which most of us could barely have dreamed of when we were at school. While we spent our toddler years trying to push square wooden blocks into triangular shaped holes, our kids are learning through interactive, toddler friendly apps on our (or more likely their own) tablets.
Kids today have not only greater access to information than we had, but more opportunities to immerse themselves in their learning. Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean spending a fortune on more sophisticated digital devices. The beauty of immersive learning is that all it takes is a little imagination and a little structure. You don’t need to invest in a fancy VR headset to immerse kids in learning. As we navigate spring and head into the summer there are a range of different ways in which our kids can immerse themselves in learning outside of school. A balanced diet of different activities helps our kids to develop a love of learning and a sense of confidence and independence.
Let Them Play Video Games
Many of us feel a bit icky about video games. Those of us who were avid gamers as kids likely heard all the usual objections about how video games would rot our brains, distract us from our school work or teach us unwholesome and degenerate behaviours. While video games have their drawbacks, they are in fact a useful learning tool. They encourage critical thought and problem solving skills while also teaching our kids empathy (we learn to assimilate the feelings our main character experiences) and the idea of consequence (in the Telltale games, for instance, the choices we make in the game influence the game’s story).
Children have a natural affinity for dramatic play. Look in any playground and you’ll see kids acting out scenarios and creating characters which are different from themselves. Perhaps this is why we grow up loving scripted drama in TV and films. Role play exercises are a great immersive learning experience for kids that very often require just a little preparation, some basic props and some creative costuming. Here are some ideas to get you started.
For older kids, the role play experience can be taken to the next level by visiting an Escape Room. There has been a massive rise of these in the last couple of years and they are a fun, engaging and slightly scary experience. The players are locked in a room and they must muster all of their creative problem solving, teamwork and logic skills to escape in a set time limit. They can play with friends or as a family. Either way it’s a lot of fun and a great immersive learning experience.
As the sun becomes a more regular presence in our lives (we hope!), nature rises from the ground to meet it. What better way to engage your kids in the everyday magic of the nature on their doorstep than to take them on a nature trail? Aside from getting lots of good exercise and mood boosting interaction with nature they can learn a lot more about local plants and wildlife. This is one of the things I was most excited about when we moved to the West Country last year, and we’ve not been disappointed yet.
Book learning will always be important in education, but with so many opportunities available to us, we owe it to our kids to make their learning a little more immersive and interactive.
Immersive Learning and You
With tech becoming such a huge part of our lives and our kids’ lives, I’m interested to hear how you feel about the place of tech in your kids learning. I mean, I’m sure we can all agree on the benefits of outside play, role play, and all the other traditional forms of learning. But what about tablets, VR headsets, and all the other modern tech available to them?
So are you a total tech avoider when it comes to your kids? Or a tech trailblazer who believes tech forms an integral part of our kids learning? Or a middle man, maybe? Because there’s always a middle ground 😉 let me know in the comments, or tweet me!
What are your thoughts on modern tech and the role it plays in our kids learning? Should they be totally banned from the iPad, or they an integral part of modern learning?
I genuinely believe that our kids will be screwed without a fundamental understanding of modern tech… 👶
— Aleena – The Blog VA (@Mummy_Mama_Mum) 9 May 2018