Posts Tagged ‘
Thursday, April 19th, 2012
Earlier this week, I promised some posts on new and exciting products I discovered at the Sandbox Summit at MIT. It turns out, the one that grabbed my attention most is actually more “exciting” than “new.” It’s the Double Fine Happy Action Theater game for the Xbox 360 game console, and it was released in February of this year.
Click here to see a video trailer for the game, which allows multiple players to transform their living rooms into balloon clouds, fiery lava fields, or bubbly seascapes. It’s not educational in any traditional sense of the word. It’s just plain fun for the whole family.
At the Sandbox Summit, Microsoft’s educational design director, Alex Games (pronounced GAH-mes), presented the trailer as an example of what can happen when learning is approached through the lens of play. The game is an example of how parents can “co-view” a piece of technology with their children, interacting on every level, and developing skills from physical fitness to quick decision-making.
According to Games, the co-viewing aspect, combined with the fact that the game takes place in a family’s living room, as opposed to in an invented, remote video game world, make it just the type of thing families should look for when choosing how to spend their leisure time…if they want to spend more than just a few minutes together as a family.
“We’ve moved toward really fast-paced, bite sized experiences, very similar to what is happening in social media,” Games said. But when it comes to learning, “there are certain things that it takes time and patience to develop.”
Image via http://marketplace.xbox.com/
Add a Comment
Monday, April 16th, 2012
Over the next few days, you’ll notice some different types of posts here at PNN. Your intrepid blogger will be attending the Sandbox Summit at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology to hear what psychologists, educators, and entrepreneurs have to say about this question: What is the relationship between technology and play?
The Summit’s website describes its mission: “Play is how kids learn. Technology is an enticement. By creating a forum for conversation around play and technology, Sandbox Summit strives to ensure that the next generation of players becomes active innovators, rather than passive users, of technology.”
Stay tuned for what I anticipate will be fascinating insights, research, and ideas from the experts at the Summit, as well as some tidbits and sneak peaks of the newest, coolest techno toys around.
Ready to play? I sure am!
Image: Play button, via Shutterstock.
Add a Comment
Monday, April 9th, 2012
Nearly half of three- to five-year-old children do not have daily outdoor playtime with parents or caregivers, according to a new study published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. The study collected data on 9,000 families, and found that though mothers took children outside more often than fathers, half of the children did not get regular outdoor playtime at all.
CNN.com has more:
“There’s a big room for improvement in how parents prioritize their time and what they’re doing in the time they’re spending with their pre-school children,” said lead study author Dr. Pooja Tandon of Seattle Children’s Research Institute.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children play outside as much as possible, for at least 60 minutes a day. Physical activity is not only good for weight control and preventing childhood obesity; previous research also suggests playing outside improves motor development, vision and vitamin D levels.
“There is evidence that play – just sort of the act of playing – is important for children’s development of their social skills and their peer interactions,” Tandon said. “Being outdoors affords children an opportunity to play in ways that they may not get to when they’re indoors.”
Researchers suggested that families address outdoor time with child care centers or preschools their children attend, or work with community groups and friends to devise creative ways to incorporate more outdoor play into kids’ routines.
Image: Empty playground, via Shutterstock.
Add a Comment
Wednesday, March 7th, 2012
A new 15-year study shows that the ways parents play with their children at age 2 has a direct correlation with how well they perform academically throughout their school years. Researchers from Utah State University’s department of Family, Consumer and Human Development (FCHD) followed 229 children from low-income families. Mothers, fathers, or both parents played regularly with the children, and some of the children also received Early Head Start educational experiences.
The study isolated four types of play that had a direct effect on later academic performance:
- Encouraging and engaging in pretend play
- Presenting activities in an organized sequence of steps
- Elaborating on the pictures, words, and actions in a book or on unique attributes of objects
- Relating play activity or book text to the child’s experience
The role of each parent also was a factor. The researchers looked at two different family types, those who lived with biological fathers and those who didn’t. They found that in both these family situations, children perform better academically when mothers teach more during play with their toddlers. When live-in biological fathers teach during play with their toddlers, they make an additional positive contribution to their child’s 5th grade math and reading performance.
Image: Mother and daughter playing with blocks, via Shutterstock.
Add a Comment
Thursday, October 27th, 2011
The words, “Go outside and play” have long been known to encourage healthy behaviors in kids. But a new study suggests that outdoor play may have another benefit–it may reduce the likelihood of children being nearsighted (“nearsighted” means kids have trouble seeing objects at a distance).
The Boston Globe reports that the study, presented at the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s annual meeting in Orlando, found that every hour a child spent playing outdoors reduced his or her chances of nearsightedness by 18 percent. Further, nearsighted kids were found to spend an average of 4 fewer hours outdoors than kids with normal vision.
The Globe reports:
Does this prove that playing outside leads to better vision? Not by a long shot.
After all, it could be that kids who have trouble seeing faraway objects prefer to be in smaller confines indoors. Or perhaps kids spend more time staring at computer screens and reading books when they’re not playing outside, which means they’re not using eye muscles required to focus on distance. Two of the studies reviewed found that wasn’t the case, but others didn’t examine the correlation.
One Chinese study — published after the analysis was conducted — found that boosting outdoor time in 40 nearsighted elementary-school-age children from a few hours per week to 14 hours per week resulted in a greater decline in those needing glasses at the end of two years compared with 40 of their counterparts who didn’t increase their outdoor time.
“Increasing children’s outdoor time could be a simple and cost-effective measure with important benefits for their vision and general health” said review stud co-author Anthony Khawaja in a statement. “If we want to make clear recommendations, however, we’ll need more precise data.”
(image via: http://old.tehrantimes.com/)
Add a Comment