So you want to help your kids become proficient with technology, but aren’t sure how to do it? Contrary to what some may believe, you don’t need to buy expensive gadgets or educational games in order to integrate technology into your child’s learning regimen. All you need is an internet connection, and a whole world of educational opportunities becomes available!
In this article, I will be outlining some great ideas for internet projects you can do with your children. Aside from being good exercises in internet proficiency, they’re also quite practical! Most of them can be adapted for classroom use as well.
- Idea #1: The How-To Project. Does your child have a favorite dish? Why not have them research the recipe on the internet, and then (with adult supervision, of course) cook it? Or maybe they’ve always wanted to build a bottle rocket, or learn how to make balloon animals. For almost any educational endeavor you can imagine, “how-to” information is readily available on the internet. You can generally find lists of materials/ingredients, step-by-step directions, and even instructional videos/pictures for those visual learners. The possibilities are endless!
- Idea #2: Plan a Trip. Your kids probably have a list of places they’d love to visit. New York City? Disney World? Grandma’s house? Having your children plan out a road trip to a series of interesting locations is a great way to introduce them to Google Maps. You can ask your children to look up the distance between locations, as well as approximately how long it would take to get from each location to the next by car. Have them figure out in which order to visit each location so that you travel the shortest overall distance. This is also a great opportunity to incorporate some math lessons. (“If New York City is 1200 miles away from Orlando and our car gets 30 miles per gallon, how many gallons of gas will it take to get there?” or “How long will it take us to get from San Diego to Nashville if we drive at 60mph the entire way?”) Who knows—maybe you can even take the trip once it’s been planned out!
- Idea #3: Create a Website. Every child has something they’re passionate about—whether it’s baseball, dogs, books, or even video games! With a little bit of creativity and research, your child can turn that passion into an informational site on the web. On paper, have your kids plan out the design and structure of their website, as well as what information they want to include on it. Encourage them to choose a subject on which they will need to do some research, and have them do that research on a free, online encyclopedia like Wikipedia. There are many free web hosts that are geared towards children and don’t require the user to know any coding. One such example is Doodlekit, which allows parents to easily monitor their children’s websites. If your child is interested in learning some beginner HTML, there is a great beginner guide located here.
There are countless ways for parents and educators to incorporate the internet—and technology in general—into learning. What are your ideas?