Helping Kids Bridge the Virtual World and the Real World
Although computers are a powerful educational tool, too much of a good thing is never a good idea. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents limit children's screen time to one to two hours a day. In our house, the rule is 60 minutes during the week and 90 minutes during the weekend of either TV or electronic time. When the timer goes off, the screens go black.
While having a clear cut rule is important, that doesn't mean the transition is always easy. The beep of the microwave clock has often triggered tears, pleas, and even bribery attempts. I've found that using the last few minutes of screen time to print out coloring pages and activities really helps children to transition back from the virtual world, often providing a valuable educational activity.
These free offline activities are everywhere on the web. Crayola has dozens of cute coloring pages, and educational sites like Kidzone let you print customizable tracing pages. But more entertaining sites that your children may be more drawn to, such as the Cars 2 promotional website, also have wonderful free printable activities. The Cars 2 site alone provides activities that promote:
TEAMWORK and SOCIAL SKILLS with these road trip car games.
With just one click of the mouse, your printer will be spitting out a wealth of exciting activities that will get your child off the computer without a fight. Just be sure to bookmark your favorite activity download websites for easy access the next time you're gearing up for a dinner out or an out of town trip. Having a few of these printable activity guides in your purse can be a lifesaver.