Archive for the 'video games' Category

Thoughts about “Screen Time”

I wanted to share with you comments taken from The National Association for the Education of Young Children’s newest postion on “screen time (tv, computer, Iphone, etc.) .  In addition to “visual concerns”, my colleagues and I have also been concerned about the possibility of carpal tunnel syndrome in younger adolescents as it results from repetivite motion as well as the impact of the motions on our children’s grow plates.  Here are those comments from NAEYC:

Suggested recommendations for Screen Time:

—Under age of 2: no screen time

—2 to 5 years of age: One to two hours of TOTAL screen time per day.


—Eye fatigue, advancing nearsightedness, eye dryness
—Childhood obesity
—Irregular sleep patterns
—Focus and attention problems
—Impact on socialization/language development recommends 20 (every 20 minutes take a break) 20 (look at an object 20 feet away) 10 (look at that object for 10 seconds) for children to reduce the chance of “computer vision syndrome”.  Check out their website for great tips!
Your thoughts?

Basic Questions When Choosing a Game: Tactile/Proprioceptive

Our Tactile (touch) and Proprioceptive (knowing where our body part is in space based on reception from our joints and muscles) are extremely important to motor development as well as handwriting!  You can see how these work together by closing your eyes.  You still know whether or not you are sitting or standing or moving even with your eyes closed!

For handwriting to be automatic the motor memory for letters must come through these two sensory systems.  Try this:  Close your eyes and write your name!  Hopefully you did well! You visualized the letters, wrote them, and then received feedback through these two systems as to whether the letter was formed correctly or not.  If we had to rely solely on our visual system to give us feedback as to whether or not the letter we wrote was correct, handwriting would be  very slow!

1. Can the playing pieces be placed in a bag?  If so, have your child reach in the bag without looking and find the piece you requested.  Then place it on the playing surface.  Example: Cootie: place several body parts in the bag.  When a child rolls the dice and must choose a body part, have them reach into the bag to get it rather than just picking it up off the playing board.

2. Can drawing or writing be added to the game?  If so, can the child do the symbol with his eyes closed?  Ex: Match 7:  This game is alot like Connect 4 only the tiles have numbers on them.  If a child places a tile with the number 2 on it, ask the child to write the number 2 with his eyes closed.  If he can, he gets another turn.  If he writes it incorrectly, allow for an extra turn after you gently correct and demonstrate how to do the number the right way.  Be sure and use LARGE movements for writing.

Have fun!  I would love to know what your favorite games are!

Video Game Caution

Fine motor skills such as holding and moving a pencil, buttoning buttons, tying shoes require our thumbs to touch the tip of our index  and middle fingers.  Our thumb has to rotate downwards to do this, using smaller muscles of the thumb.  Many video game controllers require the thumb to move sideways rather than rotating downward (unless using a stylus).  It’s important to encourage other activities to develop this downward movement which helps holding and moving a pencil more efficiently.  Some ideas would be: using a strawberry huller or toaster tongs to pick up small objects or snacks (adult supervision please), lacing, sewing or beading crafts for older youngsters, tearing paper, peg games, board games with smaller pieces (adult supervision please).  Try to balance out the time spent with video game controls with  activities like these which require downward movement of the  thumb.


Handwriting Questions

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Alphabet Soup: Fun Activities to Stir Your Child's Interest in Letters by Lyn Armstrong O.T.R