A screenless world?

One of our grandsons speaks very naturally, and in a normal conversational tone, to Alexa. He growing up in fast-changing world I struggle to understand.

But I wonder about the long-term impact of digital tech on our five grandsons, as they grow up in a world of mixed realities, when offline and online morph together, and virtual reality and physical experiences merge.

Will all this tech help these little guys be more caring and compassionate? competent and efficient? happier?

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Trending this summer

Kid’s summer camp registration has skyrocketed in specific areas. Trending:

Mindfulness, meditation, stress-reduction and anything that hints at “calm.”

Gaming: building video games and sophisticated IT camps that focus on specific skills including storyboarding and game testing.

Creative arts including clay animation, cooking, print making, film making and anything related to music.

More than downsizing

Minimalism has hit the toy box.

Millennial parents might be able to avoid the toy clutter that has plagued generations of moms and dads. Some aren’t merely doing the annual downsizing that happens before birthdays, but re-thinking the types of playthings they purchase.

Open-ended toys, that trigger imagination and creativity, can automatically limit the number of toys that are actually “needed”
to stimulate play experiences.

We’ll see if this minimalist shift is still as strong in December…

Kidult playgrounds?

This spring, I’ve seen more parents sliding and climbing at playgrounds than ever before.

Some of that is due to dads who really enjoy fatherhood and want everyone to know it, which is fine.

But there’s true delight on the faces of parents as they squeeze through slide tunnels and pump sky-high on swings.

I’m convinced some moms and dads are trying to recapture the fun of childhood.

The appy world of kids

As apps devour phone space, the use of apps for children is increasingly being addressed by tech educators.

Actually, the whole topic of media engagement among kids is going far beyond screen time, dealing with topics that include virtual reality games, interactive robots and artificial intelligence. Privacy continues to be a theme throughout realtime conversations on the ground between parents and kids and among researchers.

Educators continue to look for ways that developmentally appropriate apps can bring together children, their peers and their families. We’re on the front edge of a new wave of app engagement.

Toys that teach more

I’ve been encouraged to see a twist in the buzz-phrase, “Play with a purpose,” that has been embraced by parents and teachers.

STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) toys are still popular. But a new layer has been added onto many playthings. An increasing number of toys are teaching kids how to make a difference.

Common themes are kindness, helpfulness and courtesy. If this generation grows up with these virtues, there are additional reasons to be optimistic about the future.

Alone no more

Social media has effectively reduced the feeling of isolation that was previously common among new moms.

These new parents use apps and social networking platforms to seek potential playdates, set up in-person meetups and locate other moms with mutual interests.

Researchers say only 18% of moms think it’s easy to have successful friendships while mothering, but social media certainly
makes it easier.