Child 1: Camera.
Child 2: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Child 1: So, we are going to be starting it…
Child 2: Yeah.
Child 1: …now.
Daniel Donahoo (digital learning adviser): Children learn through play and, in the world in which they live now, that means some of that play is digital and online and some of that play is offline.
There are a range of simple ways that you can use just the native apps on your phone that help children to use their imagination and to engage in digital play. There are a whole range of different activities you could do with the camera. One really interesting one is you can play hide and seek where you have someone in the family take the camera and go somewhere and take a photo of something – maybe in extreme close-up or from some sort of strangle angle – and then everyone has to look at that photograph and find what the actual object was that was in the photo.
Another great way that you can use the camera app is to take photos of things like autumn leaves or maybe a bug if you find one on the ground, and you can use the pincer grip to activate the magnifying glass function on those photos so the children can get right close up, and you can foster their curiosity and support them to learn by asking them questions about the things that they see when you actually magnify and look at those photos close up.
You could also build children’s literacy and teach them about letters by using the keyboard on any phone. Every phone comes with a calculator app, and a calculator can be used as a game where you’re setting up shops as the cash register, or as the dashboard of a plane.
All smartphones will come with a voice recorder, and you can engage children by having them record their voice or sing a song or even, as they get older, they might want to record a little radio play or something. Children love to listen back to themselves. Older children especially will love to take video of themselves doing little performances. They may even, as they get older, be able to take videos and make their own short movies.
Child 1: Action.
Onscreen text: The Pirate Movie
Child 1: Once upon a time, there were 2 evil pirates that stole a pot of gold.
Mum: Where shall we bury the treasure, pirate?
Daniel Donahoo: Play in the digital world and the non-digital world can really be blurred, but what’s most important is play, and so you can use technology in playful ways with your children to foster curiosity and imagination.
Child 1: That’s the end of our video. Bye.
Child 2: Bye.