It amazes me how fast kids can pick up the pattern of a video game. My boys weren't allowed to play digital games until the age of 6. Even that is a stretch since they only play on the weekends while I clean the house. The natural urge to play is what we wanted them to fully experience as kids. Seeing if the sun is out or if it's warm enough outside so we can go to the park warms Mr. Forever's heart every time. But what happens when they notice mommy on the computer. Clearly I'm not gaming, but their curiosity fixates them on how they too can explore the digital matrix.
Since we were opposed to video games it took some careful planning to ease them in. ABC Mouse was their first experience with a computer. A colorful website that helps reading comprehension, enforced counting and fun school games. Although this didn't last too long, they were hooked. Finding the balance between learning and pure play was hard, but we were determined not to cave. Nick Jr. provided fun math games with their favorite characters and occupied them for more than 30 minutes. Not too bad for a 6 year old.
Now moving into 1st grade we heard it all. Since by now he was the only one who never seen a playstation, Xbox or gameboy he was beginning to itch. I'll admit, we caved but in our defense a WII was the only system Santa was allowed to bring. Games that required physical movement were preferred and he had to play fair with his little brother. Delaying his exposure resulted in good clean appreciation. They play, they learn and they move.
Interesting enough, the challenge to keep them off of it was effortless. Since they were not use to gaming, they easily can put it away when offered to go outside or do something hands on, such as a good ole' board game. Digital kids were not something we ever wanted and glad we didn't raise.
My two boys do recognize that I work on a computer and that the games they play should teach them something, so they settle for the iPod occasionally and keep me company as I pound my keys. They especially like to see that whatever I am writing about involves them. It's a pretty dope concept if you think about it. I get to share my interest with my kids and in rare instances tell you all about it. I call that a Win-Win.
Here are a few sites that they enjoy while keeping me company. Please feel free to suggest more!!