While it’s important for parents to be mindful of their kids’ screen use, set healthy boundaries, and limit their online interactions, it has to be said that computers and other digital devices are not inherently bad for children. It’s true that the virtual world can be a scary place even for adults, with the number of data breach victims in the UK being on the rise, but that’s just one side of the coin. With proper supervision and good cyber hygiene habits, the digital environment can provide numerous opportunities for kids to learn, develop their skills and have tons of fun while doing so.
We can’t deny the fact that we live in a digital world, and that means it’s crucial to educate children on how to navigate the virtual realm and use it for good. Some screen time can actually be beneficial for your little one, as long as they are engaging in activities that are adequate for their age and follow a clear set of rules and a strict schedule.
So, we’ve rounded up a list of online activities that will get your child acquainted with the digital world in a way that’s both educational and incredibly entertaining.
Online story time
Children love to listen to stories, but let’s face it, you don’t always have the time or energy to read to your kids in the evening. Fortunately, you don’t have to as the internet has made it possible for you to access a wide range of online reading programs and podcasts and have your children listen to their favourite stories, from classic tales to modern-day anecdotes, whenever they’re in the mood.
Many of these storytelling apps and programs also come with visuals or light-up words that can support your children’s reading journey. That’s a great way to instil a love for books and reading in your kids from a very young age and nurture their creativity and imagination.
Virtual visits to the zoo or aquarium
Going to the zoo and meeting the members of the animal kingdom is a dream come true for most children. But when an in-person visit is not possible, there’s always the possibility to visit them virtually and explore the grounds from afar.
Most zoos and aquariums these days have opened their virtual gates, giving both adults and children the chance to take online field trips and enjoy a unique experience regardless of their physical location. Kids have the opportunity to walk around the zoo as if they were actually there, see their favourite animals through webcams or Zoom meetings, find out a ton of interesting information, and engage in a series of fun activities.
Exploring the world from home
Seeing animals at the zoo virtually is a great way to get your kids acquainted with wildlife, but you know what’s even better than that? Watching animals in their natural habitat. Wondering how that could be possible without traveling the world? The answer is simple: all you have to do is access explore.org, a platform that offers live footage from different corners of the planet.
Explore provides a portal to various locations around the globe where cameras are set to monitor the local wildlife. So, whether your kids want to explore the Amazon jungle or go elephant-watching in South Africa, they can do that with just a few clicks.
Online museum tours
Let’s get back from the wilderness and dive straight into city life. And what better way to discover a new city than by visiting a few museums? The world’s largest museums used to be off limits if you weren’t able to travel to where they are located, but digitalisation and access to the internet have changed all that.
Now your kids can walk into the greatest museums on the planet while they’re sitting in their rooms. From the British Museum in London to the Musée d’Orsay in Paris, or the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, many of these institutions offer virtual tours that let viewers explore some of the world’s greatest collections. Just make sure your kid is old enough to appreciate this kind of experience, otherwise, it might get a little boring for them.
If it would be possible, kids would love to play together all day long, but things like distance and timing can pose an issue and ruin their playdate plans. When you can’t have kids play in person, the next best thing is to organise a virtual playdate for them to meet and spend time together, even if it’s through a screen.
Regular online playdates can help children connect with other kids their age and build friendships, while also getting familiarised with the use of tech devices, which is a skill that will help them later in life. You might think that virtual platforms limit children’s possibilities to play, but you should never underestimate a kid’s imagination. We can assure you that a few minutes into the virtual playdate they’ll already have a long list of games lined up that will keep them entertained throughout the session.
Taking a dance class
Kids have a lot of energy, so as a parent it’s important to encourage them to move around and be physically active. But physical activity is not exactly something you’d associate with the online world, and yet the two can actually go hand in hand.
You can sign up your kids for online dance classes and have them burn all their energy learning steps and choreographies from professional dance instructors. This is the type of activity that the entire family can enjoy and we can guarantee your kids will be thrilled about it. As you can see, the online realm offers plenty of opportunities for kids to enjoy themselves, learn new things and stay active. All you have to do is pick the ones that interest them the most and have fun together.