Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My Electronically Self-Taught 4 Year Old

I really never thought I'd be writing a post like this. I used to believe that electronic toys were not the God-sent wonder toy companies would have us believe they are. Sure, I let my kids play with them occasionally, but I never really bought into the so-called educational aspects of some of these toys.

And now I have changed my tune, at least a little bit, all because of a 4 year old boy and a $15 birthday gift.

Alex is a daddy's boy and loves to mimic whatever dad is doing. When my husband would work on his laptop, Alex would pull out a toy a cash register and pretend like it was a laptop so that he could do work too. So when we spotted a toy laptop when shopping for his birthday present, we knew this would be the hit present with Alex. We really didn't even pay attention to what it did, we just knew that it was a laptop that Alex could use to pretend to be like his dad.

After all of the presents were opened, Eric and I looked at the laptop a little closer. It had lots of games that we knew were way too advanced for Alex. The box listed it for ages 5-13. We were okay with that though. After all, this gift wasn't about the games you could play on it.

But within the first few days, Alex really started to take an interest in the games. At first, he would need one of us to help him figure out which keys to press to even start a game. He soon mastered that though and began to play on his own. As the days turned into weeks, we began to notice that Alex was no longer just pressing buttons. He was actually playing the games, and he was actually getting correct answers! More than just a random one here and there too.
Since he began playing these games, he has learned to recognize every letter of the alphabet in upper and lower case. He knows all of his numbers. He also can put letters in alphabetical order, fill in the missing first letter of a word (he usually scores 100% on that game), and rearrange letters to make a word. He really has figured it out.

Eric and I are so impressed when we watch him play. We had no idea this would happen. But it sure is fun to watch him play and to see his pride when he gets an answer correct.

Now don't get me wrong, I am still pretty much anti-electronic toys. I think a bucket of blocks and boxes of books are the best learning tools out there, second only to just living life. But I no longer mind admitting that an electronic toy really can be educational. It certainly has worked for Alex!
You can find more Works For Me Wednesday over at Rocks In My Dryer.


Pmom@Chocolateandgarlic (Angela),  12:42 AM  

You didn't give information about the name of this laptop toy or where you bought it! Inquiring minds want to know!

Jennifer 1:59 AM  

Great idea! What store did you get it at? I looked it up online and didn't find it.

Sherry 12:23 PM  

My son received a Hotwheels laptop several years ago and had all kinds of educational games on it. He loved it!!

Memarie Lane 5:08 PM  

I was the same way about videos. Then someone gave us a set of Leapfrog videos and my kids have learned so much, so quickly from them. Now we do almost all of our homeschooling on the internet.

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