Husband gave me a Kindle for my birthday last month. Yes, I’m a little behind on that, being a writer and all, but I’ve been attached to my hardcovers. Until I “got” the hook of instant gratification for any book you want. It’s a great thing.
A couple days in, five year old Daughter pulled the Kindle from me and started touching the screen. She tapped here, she tapped there. Nothing happened. She looked at me perplexed.
“It doesn’t work like that, honey. You have to push these arrows and then this button to go somewhere.”
I’d lost her on “push.”
Good news, she doesn’t want to mess with my Kindle.
No, “Please can I watch videos?” as she begs to watch the home movies I’ve filmed on my Blackberry Storm.
No, “Please can I watch shows?” to view downloaded episodes of Max and Ruby on my iTouch.
No, “Please can I play on the computer?” where she secretly watches teasers for Tangled over and over again.
No, “Can I play Talking Tom?” on Husband’s iPhone.
Even the Wii moves when you hold it.
And while the TV is just a lazy old flat screen, it can still entertain and mesmerize in the best no touch way.
But worst of all has been her fascination with and adoration of the iPad. Because this one has it all: movies, home videos, pictures, games, animated books, piano keys, guitar chords, bowling alley, you name it! Each time she explores it, there’s a new app to discover. Sure, the iTouch and iPhone have many of these apps. They’re just much smaller. The iPad does it all at the right size.
But, alas, we limit her time on these things. Many friends of seven year old Son’s received iTouchs for Christmas and Hanukah last year. Some of Daughter’s did, too. And while I know my children are headed for a heavy texting, iChatting, Facebook future; I’m just trying to slow it down a bit. Trying to protect their time for self-propelled imagination. Hoping their desire to create will burn at least at a low flame for their whole lives.
So, with all these devices around and desire to use them, it’s refreshing that my kids spend more time doing one thing at home more than anything else: they draw. That’s crayons or markers on paper. Flat, white paper, usually with Husband’s old Powerpoints or spreadsheets, or earlier drafts of my novel, on the flip side.
Son draws baseball games, basketball games, soccer games, baseball players, specific plays, scores, well, you get the picture.
Daughter draws princesses, castles, mermaids, hearts, friends, characters and the like.
Years ago, a wise friend suggested that I put a children’s craft table in the kitchen. She said it had kept her two sons entertained every day. Bingo. It has worked like a charm for us. The table is their size, the supplies easily accessible, and all they need is a little imagination and desire to create something out of nothing. Amazing how naturally this comes to them.
So, in our house, the lowliest of pads rules: paper. You don’t just touch it or flick your finger to the right. You squiggle and scribble and ponder and plan and then tack it up on the wall or give it to someone you care about.