The LWK Blog: Parenting in a Digital World
One of my two favorite professors, Dr. David Elkind, (the other being Dr. Ralph Barocas) is the world’s leading expert on the importance of play in children’s lives. Dr. Elkind’s recent book, The Power of Play, encourages unstructured, free, and self-initiated play to support imagination and creativity. Dr Elkind clearly outlines the benefits of play in learning about oneself, one’s world, and one’s relationships. Having read many of Dr. Elkind’s previous work, I was concerned that he might consider digital play involving the use of video games, apps, and other technologies less effective or ‘worthy’ than more traditional unstructured play. However, I was happy to learn that this is not the case.
Like our team at LearningWorks for Kids, while Dr. Elkind believes that spontaneous, unstructured play is an essential component of how young children learn, he also acknowledges the potentially siginifcant value of today’s digital play. Dr. Elkind describes children’s involvement with computer and video games as a “mixed blessing.” He notes that many video games promote active thinking and problem solving. Read more
How Your Young child Learns from Digital Play
Preschoolers and kindergarteners need to play. They need to run around outside, pretend and imagine, play with toys that encourage creativity, and even spend some time playing with screen-based technologies like video games and age-appropriate apps. For preschoolers and kindergarteners, play (especially play that helps young children internalize self-control skills) is actually more powerful for future learning than academic instruction. Unfortunately the last decade of education has been marked by increasing calls for testing, ensuring that core-based academic skills such as reading, math, and writing are often taught to the exclusion of opportunities for imaginative, structured, and digital play. Read more
Why Digital Play Is Too Big to Ignore. It's in the Game...or Is It? (Part 3)
One of the most common themes I hear about in my clinical practice is inconsistent learning. “Jacob knew all of his spelling words when we studied them at home last night, but received a 60 on his spelling test’” or “Emma knows where every American Girl doll is in her room, but can’t find her homework in her backpack.” While some of the inconsistencies we see in children can be attributed to motivation and memory, much of it is directly related to difficulties with generalization. Read more