Play and theme-based learning with our children

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Technology Trumps Trains

H (my son): "Mom, when you were four years old, did you ask your mother very nicely if you could play with the iPad?"
Me: [internal giggle] "When I was four years old, there was no iPad. In fact it's only been around since you were a baby. Can you imagine that? What would you play with if there was no iPad?"
H: "The iPhone!"
Me: [external giggle] "But what if there was no iPhone or iPad? What would you play with then?"
H: "My toys, I guess. But I'd rather play with the iPad."

Of course, my son still does love to play with his toys. He's an especially avid train fan, and will spend hours setting up various tracks, trains and collision scenes. Sometimes the whole family gets in on the train play.

His favorite drawings are trains, especially really long ones when he has the drawing space to pull it off (Too bad in the picture, I cut off the top-secret algorithms on the white board ;-)).

I've seen it happen before with our older cousins' kids, and knew it was coming, and wonder if our time is here too. Have we reached that age when technology trumps train play?  Are the gaming/video devices now the most seductive thing in the room?

This day in particular, he'd been relentless about asking for the iPad. The day before he spent far too long on it. I was at my new job (more about that later), and hadn't set a rule with the nanny about how long he could play on the iPad after school. Plus he figured out how to turn off Airplane Mode, so instead of playing his mommy-sanctioned educational games, I found him watching YouTube unsupervised when I got home. Oi! (Interestingly, he was watching Looney Tunes, and then asked me if that was the cartoon I used to watch as a kid. Not so bad. Though I haven't checked the history...)

When he finally gave up asking for the iPad this day, he thoroughly entertained himself by looking at books, drawing, and yes, setting up more train tracks. I'm glad I held my ground. After all, it is my job to set the limits and boundaries, and that's just what I'll keep doing.

How do you handle use of those seductive devices in your home?

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