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Digging into ways to keep your kids entertained and learning? These are tips for helping kids find great content (specifically for elementary school aged children) from a teacher, behavior specialist and mom!
Thank you toGoogle for teaming up with us to sponsor this post.
One of my favorite things to do when working as a school administrator was to give parent seminars about technology for kids….we covered not only technology rules but how to use the technology as a resource. Lydia is a HUGE space, stars and all things NASA fan. Lately? We’ve been traveling to the stars via video, astronaut read alouds, and hands on activities…….and I’ve discovered a TON of new activities that I didn’t know existed (we’ve even been tracking the cycles of the moon each night before bed)! I firmly believe that technology is amazing and as parents, we can use tools to put the right boundaries and supports in place so that it is a positive place filled with inspiration and fun activities for our kids (especially the younger ones). From museum tours to read alouds to craft projects…..there is some AMAZING quality content for kids out there. It’s just a matter of FINDING it!
Interest-based screen time
These are the top things to consider when finding appropriate and engaging content for kids. These are the same questions and reflections we use in our house, and what I'd highly recommend for kids under the age of 10 for when screen time is calling but you want to make it purposeful…
What are your child's interests? Do they love yoga? Craft projects? Learning about science? The goal will be to find activities that enrich interests they already have.
Are you looking for activities that encourage offline play? The good news is that the internet has it all. But knowing what you're looking for will help you make some decisions.
Now…..once you've narrowed down what you WANT out of your child’s screen time….the question is…..how to find the best content. And this? The best solution I've found.
Finding the Best Content with Google Kids Space
EKKKKK, this is my favorite suggestion, and the newest addition to our family's screen time approach. Spoiler, it's a game changer. Google Kids Space is……exactly what it sounds like, a tablet experience for children with a library of recommended content based on interests that kids get to choose. It has apps and books handpicked by children’s education and media specialists, and videos that help kids find new ways to play and learn. It’s all the excitement of discovering new content from Google Play and YouTube Kids, with built-in restrictions and Family Link parental controls.* In a time when kids are turning to devices and screen time more than ever……this is PERFECT for families and specifically for families with kids ages 5-9.
We’ve spent quite a bit of time exploring Google Kids Space, and I’m IMPRESSED. You will set up Google Kids Space with your child, and be sure to watch while they set up their avatar. The Google team was especially proud to share the avatar library they created. There are 1000s of combinations for your child to choose from as they create their character including a diverse range of skin tones, hearing aids, prosthetic limbs, a TON of hair colors, and clothing and accessories from cultures around the world.
Since Kids Space recommends content based on Lydia’s interests and age, I like that she always has something new she can find to keep her interested. And let me tell you, the content Lydia sees is SPOT ON.
There are four components to explore.
PLAY: The Play section is filled with apps and games from Google Play that are approved by teachers and children’s education & media specialists. Google even worked with a team of expert advisors to create a rubric of what types of apps they should recommend. The apps are developmentally appropriate, fun and engaging…..this is a great tool to let your child have some freedom in choosing games while still being able to guide their experience and content choices. Parents can decide to approve each app if they want to, and set more parental controls remotely, with the Family Link app from Google.
READ:A library of e-books, that the teacher side of me loved because…..audio is available, as well as word tracking. And since Google Kid Space is available in multiple languages, this is a great way for bilingual families or second language learners to access literature in multiple language options. You can change the language in your device settings.
WATCH: This section is filled with engaging videos selected from YouTube Kids. Lydia has done movement videos, yoga classes, dance videos, all aimed at her specific interests…. a great active option.
I hope that this helps you to navigate finding quality content for your kids! Any tips or tools that help you? Questions about Google Kids Space? Leave them in the comments!
* Kids Space requires a Google Account for your child. Parental controls require the Family Link app on a supported Android, Chromebook, or iOS device. Books and video content not available in all regions. Video content subject to availability of YouTube Kids app. Books content requires the Play Books app. Availability of apps, books, and video content may change without notice.