Working Wednesday

Here’s a funny thing to call “work”

Has anyone else thought of it this way: that screening your child’s toys and trying out iPad games is serious work for parents?

This has been tough for me, I’ll be honest. Not so much the physical toys–even as I child I’d always been fairly discriminating with what I wanted–but the iPad games. I want to I want to look at it from both my and my son’s perspectives. After all, for all the warnings against kids spending too much time in front of various screens, I want his screen time to be both fun and beneficial.

Take the toy trains, for example. My husband bought toy trains and multiple tracks for the two of them to play with. They started with small builds until their track collection grew and the layouts became more elaborate.

I wasn’t too keen on the toy trains at first, after all, he was barely 2 years old and those things are meant for kids at least 4 or 5. But one evening, I was observing him and I noticed the sudden improvement of his gross and fine motor skills. He manipulated the trains  through the tunnels (yes, the trains run on batteries but it amused him more to push them around manually) and stepped over higher levels of track with little trouble within two months after they’d made the purchase.

It’s been a little over a year since we’ve had these trains and tracks and here’s the next level of learning it has brought.

This was Monday’s build. From the top:

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And from the side:

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I was busy breastfeeding Kian when my husband brought this build to my attention.

“Look at what Llew did,” he said.

I got up as soon as I could and looked. This intricate build was my son’s latest masterpiece. He’s apparently been learning from my husband’s work. (Which will be a bit more for tomorrow’s discussion.) All my husband did was to complete the circuits so he could properly close each line.

“I noticed he would just choose one line when I build the tracks,” my husband said. So, to encourage his creativity, Llew had been given freedom to start the tracks and dictate how the lines would run and then his dad would close the circuits for him.

Our little 3-year-old is now a budding train track builder.

The next job is the iPad games. How can you even tell if the purchase will be worth it? I have no idea. I already made one regretful purchase: a storybook series with too many silly songs. But usually the purchases have been good.

It’s unfair sometimes how the trial versions do not give a sneak peek into the full capacity of the game. Endless has a full series of words and sentences with cute monsters and loads of opportunity to learn. The preview was excellent: it gave a great idea how the game would be. That storybook? Not so much.

Sometimes you can be fooled by the looks. So far it’s been trial and error for me. Any tips from anyone out there?

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