The allure of technology is undeniable. Beginning in infancy, babies play with sound, light and pixelated movement. Even though the American Academy of Pediatrics discourages the use of screen media for kids under two, ride a bus or peek into any waiting room and you’ll see 2-year- olds totally engaged on a smart phones and tablets. In fact, according to a 2020 Pew Research study, more than one-third of parents with a child under 12 say their child began interacting with a smartphone before the age of 5.
To tech or not to tech?
While many studies warn against too much tech, too early for kids, numerous studies also extol the learning benefits of gaming and technology. The truth probably lies somewhere in the middle. We have crossed the digital Rubicon. Kids need to be comfortable---and competent---using the latest technology. But they also need to be able to communicate face to face; enjoy physical play; build reading and writing skills; and learn how to navigate real world situations. Play is the way kids learn. Ideally, you need to offer your child a mix of online and offline play experiences.
Balance the play!
For very young children, it’s relatively to mix physical play into their day. Screen time is often quiet time. But by the time they’re in elementary school, tech is hard to resist. It often takes a smart parent and great product to entice kids to turn off the tech and get physical. Shay Chen, the founder of Flycatcher Toys, realized this as he watched his own children gravitate to technology. His mission, when he founded Flycatcher, was to merge traditional and digital modes of play, incorporating state-of-the-art technology into familiar play patterns, nurturing creativity, physical skills and emotional intelligence.
Using a drawing projector for kids.
In 2017, Flycatcher introduced the smART Sketcher® Projector. This first-of-its-kind drawing projector for kids made every child an artist by “magically” turning photos from their own mobile devices into easy-to-trace sketches. It also included themed cartridges and writing and spelling activities, vetted by educators and consistent with national curriculum standards. The updated smART Sketcher 2.0 improves upon the original drawing projector for kids with improved hardware, new content, and a sturdier base.
“Our drawing projector entices kids with endless possibilities of using your own smart device photos, but it also gives them the physical benefits of writing and sketching. It’s the perfect melding of online and offline play,” says Chen. “The drawings they make and the stories they tell about them nurture creativity and emotional intelligence. And best of all, it’s fun to use!”