Why Kids Need Pencils Not iPads

This is a subject that I am very passionate about. I think kids need pencils not iPads. Some people agree whole heartedly with me and some people would like to see me being burnt at the stake like the medieval witch that I supposedly am. Get with the times Hazel. It’s the 21st Century.

Lets start with the adults.

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When was the last time you wrote a list? Put something on a physical calendar, not the one on your phone? Wrote an address on an envelope? Drew a picture with your child?

Chances are probably not for a while. Do you have a phone book? I don’t mean the digital mobile version but an actual handwritten phone book that sits by the house phone? I don’t. But I remember having one when I was a kid. I remember doodling in it while chatting to my BFF every night after school for hours and hours. In fact I still remember her home telephone number off by heart.

What I’m trying to say is, us adults remember a time when technology wasn’t in our daily lives. Heck, we even remember a time when computers weren’t found in every single home. Dial-up was exciting! Our kids don’t remember those days. All they know is that all big people have a phones, tablets or laptops firmly attached to our hands. What I find shocking is that I know of children at the age of 2 who have their OWN iPads.

Have you noticed that your handwriting has suffered because you no longer have to use it? Or maybe your spelling has flopped to an all time low. Why? Because spellcheck does it all for you. If you don’t know the meaning of a word then you simply Google it, don’t you dare ever use the dictionary.

When we were children we learnt to hold a pencil and write by watching and copying others who were already masters at the skill of written communication. I observed a child in nursery last week try to swipe-right a piece of A4 paper. I sh*t you not. I thought I was imagining it, but I wasn’t. Think about that for a second.

How are our children going to learn the art of writing, holding a pencil and how to glide the pencil over gorgeous smooth paper if parents encourage them to stare at a glowing screen inside?

Kids need pencils not iPads.

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OK, there is the obvious- Kids need to learn how to write. But what if we face a future were no human never has to write ever again. OK, that’s a very very unlikely scenario but the way this world is going and the speed of technology it wouldn’t knock my socks off if it did happen.

But kids use pencils and paper for lots of other things other than just mark making. Imagination, language skills, fine motor skills, colour recognition, self esteem are all developed through pencil and paper. Many parents will admit to letting their child under the age of 2 play on an iPad or smart phone. I admit it, although it is an extremely rare occurrence, and given the choice, I know my children would prefer to sit and draw in their sketchbooks. Not many parents I’ve met can say that.

Too much screen time in childhood has been linked to obesity, depression and aggression. Dangers of too much scribble time? The risk of a nasty paper cut or spending too much money on stationary.

It’s not just drawing lines. Kids let their imaginations run free; horses can be pink, the sky can be green and a car can also transform into a mutant spider that eats giant carrots. These are some of the things my kids have drawn. On paper. My girls help each other during arts and crafts time, they praise each other for their efforts and they admire each others work. Its hard to share an iPad screen. Screen time should not become a pacifier, but a child’s boredom can quickly be resolved with some fun imaginative play. Tipping up a whole pencil case across the floor might make any busy parent’s skin crawl but it guarantees some peace and quiet, and you will probably receive some awesome portrait of you in return.

The education system are wanting far more from young kids. They are expecting the level of learning to be higher than it was in previous years, yet in reality children are not meeting these ‘goals’ and are actually falling behind compared to where children were 10 years ago.

When I was told this during a parents meeting at my daughters first school induction week I scoffed (loudly and embarrassingly at the back of the hall), I was thrown daggers from a few parents.

But, what could be the cause? The only real obvious reason that I can think of is screen time becoming extended for all children in the last few years. Written skills are dropping…because no one writes any more. Minds are becoming numb to the outside world, and parents are spending more time on their own smart devices than playing and teaching their kids. It’s hard as a working adult too switch our brains off. Our ears are fine tuned to the ‘Ping!’ of an email. But will our children’s memories of us always feature a smart phone, rather than fun? I don’t want my kids memories of me to be ones of my head dipped and an illuminous glow highlighting my face.

How to get your kids to spend less time on an iPad and more time drawing

If you think that your child might be spending too much time on an iPad, smart phone or even watching TV, then hopefully after reading the above you will have made a personal pledge to get them to spend less and less time on them (or better still, no time at all!). Maybe you’re concerned about addiction to screen time or you just wish that your child would spend more time trying to write their name.

So, if you would like your child to choose pencils over iPads why not take them to a stationary shop (remember those?!) and let them choose some fun new crayons, pens, sketch pads and their own pencil case. You could always treat yourself to some new stationary too, if you’re feeling inspired.

Talk about the huge choice of what there is to buy and what they would like to create with their new stationary. Let your imaginations run wild! Don’t just stick to pens and pencils, explore the world of sticky-notes (great for teaching kids to read- label items in your home!) funky pencil sharpeners and have fun creating patterns with rulers.

Go home and get creative! You could set up a lovely writing desk in the corner of a room for your child to sit at. I find the living room best for this because it can take the focus away from the TV (turn it off first) and you will always be close by to see their amazing pieces of work. In the summer time encourage kids to get creative outside. The fresh air will help their minds run wild too. This week, we have been drawing frog spawn in nanny’s garden.

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National Stationary Week 2017

From April 24th- 30th it’s National Stationary Week. A perfect chance for you and your children to get some inspiration and get crafty with stationary. Each day if the week is a different theme, and I would love to see your daily creations. I shall be posting a different blog each day per theme and my Instagram will be full of stationary-tastic posts.

On the 26th-26th of April why not visit the London Stationary Show at London’s Business Centre. For more information about the show, what fab things there will be to see and do or even to exhibit at the show, please click here.

7 Days of stationary:

Monday 24th- Pen & Pencil Day

Tuesday 25th- Get Crafty

Wednesday 26th- World Stationary Day

Thursday 27th- Thank You Thursday

Friday 28th- Fountain Pen Friday

Saturday 29th- Signature Saturday

Sunday 30th- Write A Letter Day

Remember, whatever you share use the hashtags #writingmatters #natstatweek so we can see your fabulous National Stationary Week posts 🙂

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*All of the stationary featured in this post, and in any upcoming posts for National Stationary Week have been gifted to me. This post is an entry into the Stationary Blogger of The Year awards*

Extra Curricular: 10 Ways To Boost Your Child’s Learning

Learning is not just about the classroom. Though a considerable amount of desk time is required, there are many other ways to enhance your child’s education. Not every child thrives in a traditional classroom setting, so varying their learning experience is important. Children are constantly learning, in every situation that they find themselves into. Their brains are like sponges and absorb everything that their senses give to them…

Different Types Of Learners

Learning styles can be split into three main areas; visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Visual learners need to see or visualise what they’re learning. They respond well to charts, illustrations, pictures, and colour. Auditory learners use hearing to make sense of information. They ask questions to clarify and benefit from reading aloud. Kinaesthetic learners work best when they are ‘doing’. Using models, moving around, and acting all help this learning style. I have a real mix bag of learners in my house. Willow learns well via auditory, Olive is a kinaesthetic learner, while Ivy is more visual. Myself, I’m a Kinaesthetic kinda gal.

Find out what kind of learner your child is and then tailor activities and experiences to their needs. Don’t focus solely on this style. It’s important to vary techniques.

The following activities will help boost your child’s academic education and allow them to have some fun at the same time.

  1. Toys

    Toot Toot

All kids get hooked on fads at some time or another, and it’s easy to bow to the pressure. But in addition, think about toys that will help them learn as well as having fun. Many companies offer educational toys across a wide range of ages.

We love practicing fine motor skills with beads and train tracks, reading skills with alphabet blocks or artistic skills with Playdoh and craft sets.

 

  1. Money Skills

The National Curriculum includes requirements for Pythagoras, geometry, and trigonometry. Though in later life when your kids come to budget for the first time or fill in a tax return they may be stumped. It’s important to teach kids the value of money from a young age. There are many ways you can do this:

  • Get them a piggy bank to teach them about saving.
  • When they’re old enough, encourage them to open a bank account
  • Provide them with spending money but insist they carry out chores to earn it.
  • Encourage them to save for toys they like, rather than buying them yourself.
  • Be firm about gifts and don’t cave in when they’re having a tantrum in the shop.
  1. Educational Trips

Field trips or educational trips are invaluable. They bring your child’s learning to life, allowing them to experience the things they have read about or learned in the classroom. Schools offer lots of opportunities for day trips or just a few hours out to visit different attractions or exhibits. However, it’s also possible to look for local events in your area. Some of these are mentioned below.

  1. Farms

Bantam Mc Bantamface
Bantam Mc Bantamface

Children who live in towns and cities often don’t have a concept of where their food comes from. They just see it packaged at the supermarket and don’t make connections about how it is produced. With serious issues like climate change and increases in child obesity, it is important that children are offered a healthy, unprocessed diet. Understanding where food comes from can help educate them in this area and encourage them to make healthy choices throughout their lives. Many urban farms are now popping up around the UK, and offer a great opportunity for city kids to visit.

  1. Growing Their Own Food

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    Olive picks tomatoes

Following point four, another way to get kids interested in where food comes from is to encourage them to grow their own. Even if you have a relatively small garden or none at all, you can grow fruit and vegetables in containers. For example, tomatoes and herbs can be grown easily on your window sill. Many of my regular readers will know how passionate I am about getting kids outside and gardening. A child can learn a lot about the world when they have a go at growing their own fruit and vegetables. Read my Top 10 fruit and vegetables for kids to grow in ANY home.

  1. Pets

Family pets benefit children in so many ways. A lot of research has been done in this area, and it has been found that pets can help children develop confidence, trust, and empathy.

We have 2 dogs, 3 cats, 10 chickens and 2 fish. It’s a handful, but the kids know exactly how to help!

Suzie and Poppy
Suzie and Poppy

All pets, whether you opt for a fish or a dog have basic requirements. They need a place to live and sleep, and access to food. Exposing children to pets and getting them involved in their daily care, teaches them about responsibility. Pets like hamsters, cats, and dogs will require additional care such as exercising, changing litter trays, and cleaning cages, etc.

Children often put pressure on their parents to get them a family pet. In the early stages, they are only too happy to get involved. However, after a while, their interest begins to wane. This is the point where they learn about care and responsibility.

Pets are also great for kids who are introverted or shy. They make great confidantes and provide them with a loyal companion. This is in no way a replacement for human contact, but a source of comfort and support.

  1. Museums And Galleries

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There are lots of educational opportunities right on your doorstep. Local museums and galleries frequently host events aimed at young people and families. Exhibits are becoming more child-friendly, with the opportunity to touch and get involved. Keep an eye on your local newspaper for forthcoming exhibitions or join a few mailing lists.

Many museums are free and quite often have special attraction days with extra activities for the kids to do.

  1. Musical Instruments

There are many benefits of learning a musical instrument. For example:

  • It’s a fun and pleasurable experience
  • It teaches discipline and refines organisation and time management
  • Learning an instrument increases the capacity of your memory
  • Playing with others improves social and team skills
  • Playing music improves coordination and mathematical ability
  • Music can help relieve stress
  • It is a great way to boost creativity
  • Mastering an instrument provides a sense of achievement and increases confidence
  • It boosts listening skills

If your child expresses an interest in music, explore your options and find the right instrument together. Willow and Daddy play guitar together!

 

  1. Read To Them

I CANNOT stress this enough! Reading to your children from a young age helps them developmentally and educationally. It’s a great way to spend time together and deepen your bond. Plus, stories are fun, and there’s no better reason than that. Parents who read to their children on a regular basis are helping them with language and comprehension. They are helping them to increase their vocabularies and expand their knowledge and experience.

Willow’s reading level is exceptional. She has been reading and writing for a long time. She only started school in September, but had received a few badges from her Head Master for her excellent literacy skills. It really does give kids an extra boost when you dedicate time each evening reading to them.

  1. Spend Time With Them

The best way that any parent can help their child is to give them their time. Spending time with kids lets them know that they are important and that they are loved. This, in turn, improves confidence and helps them to make connections of their own.

There are lots of ways to enhance your child’s learning experience. You don’t have to be academic or knowledgeable in lots of different areas. All that’s required is spending time with them and having fun, and keeping your eye out for interesting opportunities.