Trading one obsession for another.

We all know how it goes, break one bad habit and you have to replace it with something else.  I’ve moaned and whined before about the amount of TV and movies J enjoys watching.  They keep him calm, so I don’t complain too much.  I’m just really picky about what he is allowed to watch.

For Christmas he received a Leap Frog Click Start computer.  He really has enjoyed playing this and earns about an hour of computer time either when he gets home from school or after a nap after school (IF I can get him to take one.)  the only downside to this is, we have it connected to the main TV and it is in the living-room.  So we usually let him play before any of our show are on.  J comes by his TV addiction honestly or possibly genetically.  the only difference is, we prefer NEW shows, not the same thing over and over.

Okay, so over the past year or so, we have introduced him to a few simple games on the internet.  fisherprice.com  was our first site, they start as easy as press any key and something will say peekaboo, surprise or a silly noise.  then we moved on to their alphabet games and animal sounds.  Most recently he has been playing the imaginext dinosaur puzzle.  I’m pretty proud of that one.  He does a better jigsaw with a mouse than with his hands.  Then we moved on to sesameworkshop.org  Again we started simple with Elmo’s keyboard-a-rama (press any letter or number and Elmo rewards you.)  He quickly moved up to Snuffy’s safari which takes gentle mouse manipulation.  Last night he decided to explore more of the games.  I was so proud of him as he normally sticks to the favorites.  I think he played 90% of the games on the sesame website.  the games have a nifty feature where you can click “replay” or “next game.”  He did keep going back to a couple of new favorites but also trying new and variations as well.  He did all of this with me sitting across the room from him. 

All of this is made possible by the fact that we cleared off the extra desk and set up the computer we thought was dead (so we bought a new one) and then later revived it, so now it is the kids.  I don’t feel guilty about my 2 and 4 year old having for all intents and purposes, their own laptop.  when I was a very small kid, my parents gave me computers as well.  I had a “portable” commodore.  Well it was my dad’s but I spent a lot of time on it as he used the desktop.

Okay so, one website that is ideal but we have stayed away from in the past because it was just one step above his skills and he needed a lot of parental help is nickjr.com.  especially the Go, Diego, Go! games.  Well tonight after he had spent a bit of time on sesame street (side note: your kids do not have to still be watching the show to enjoy the games, mine don’t.) he asked for nickjr.  Diego Safari rescue.  I cringed, but decided to give him a chance.  Once it loaded, if it doesn’t do it right away, go back and then click on the game again (sometimes it stalls) I sat down to help him.  Part of the game is to copy a drum sequence (like the old Simon Game).  It took a few times for me to remind him to say the pattern out loud.  Then I left the room to encourage some independence.  I kept hearing “I did it, I won!”  *Warms my heart*  Next thing I know he is touring the games section and playing all kinds of new games WITHOUT MY HELP.  I think he played a little over 2.5 hours tonight.  At least I know he was engaged for that amount of time and not zoned out on a movie.  Or worse, ignoring the movie and fighting with his brother.  When J is at the computer, Little J either “helps” over the shoulder, or just goes about his business with something else.  Little J does get computer time while J is at school, he doesn’t play for very long anyway though because he is still on the beginner, no mouse needed, games.

During the school week I limit the computer time to an hour, but on a lazy weekend when he just might be learning something, I think I’ll let it go.  Especially if it means I won’t be hearing monologues repeated from the movie du jour. Or incessant screaming and crying from the toddler/preschool wars of ’08.

Some sites we frequent, but not this weekend, so not mentioned in the blog: http://www.mostlymommies.com/games.html this is a compilation of many other games site, and even a easy peasy game for learning mouse control.  Mostly Mommies introduced us to another of our favorite games/reading site Story Place.  Each theme includes a story, game, printable, and additional reading suggestions.  Try our favorite theme Crocodiles for fun game of 5 Hungry Crocodiles.  Unfortunately the game isn’t random, but J loves it.

*This was not a paid post, just sharing some favorites with my peeps.

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6 comments on “Trading one obsession for another.

  1. Pingback: Pages tagged "trading"

  2. Thanks for the great site info! I was just thinking the other day that I really need to get the little ones on the computer some. They are both very interested in it…. sounds like you did a darn good thing letting him explore the computer, mom!

  3. I remember being so excited when Maizie was able to play more games on the computer. Now she navigates the Net, installs games and blogs with some assistance. For her the computer is a strength so I encourage it as much as I can. It is certainly a skill she will be able to use in the future. M is pretty good at stopping when it gets to be too much. She will be obsessed for a day or two and then not play it for days. So, I just let her follow her natural rhythm. I am kinda like that too with the computer. M loves Nickjr too. We have never done the Sesame site. I will have to check that one out. Thanks for sharing these sites.

  4. Another great site for kids is Starfall.com. Great for pre-reading and reading skills. My son also likes pbskids.org and noggin.com.

    I think the computer is a great skill for these kids and well-worth the risk of obsession. We limit the time, too, he’s still young, but I love that he can find his way around his favorite sites with no assistance. And Starfall is really helping us get over a hump with the reading.

  5. TC loves the computer too but he needs a lot of assistance still. I encourage him to “read” or look at books and draw a lot because he can do those independently. (he really can’t read yet though but he thinks he can!)

  6. Hi!
    I’m MostlyMommies’ web mommy. Thanks for linking to us!
    I’ve been working on updating all the games and reviews as I now have #3 who is 6 months old. My other two are 6 and 8 so I’m developing pages for those ages as well. If you have a moment, I’d LOVE some help developing a page for children with special needs and need some websites to recommend. If you have ideas for such a page, I’d appreciate a quick note to let me know.
    Glad you enjoy the games page!
    Jennifer
    http://www.mostlymommies.com

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