When the Girls are Away, the Little Boys Play (on their HP TouchSmart PC!)
Maya went off to school today with the usual peck on the check for mommy and ominous but sweetly delivered warning to her younger brother…”Don’t touch my stuff!” As if words are going to make a difference to a 3 year old boy with a goal…which in Elijah’s case is to collect all the wireless mousse in the house (they look just like Zhu-Zhu Pets!) and play on Maya’s new PC! He slips his little pajama’d butt into the desk chair and clicks all the powered-on mice buttons to see what will happen. The HP TouchSmart 310 PC doesn’t mind. Then he ever so sweet calls over his shoulder, “Mommy, I wanna pop the bubbles…” How can I say ‘no’? He wants to play Bubble Wrap, a simple but genius and highly addictive touch app on the HP in which you see how many bubbles on the wrap sheet you can pop in a given time. Who doesn’t love to pop bubble wrap?
After a few rounds he switches over to another favorite, touch app, Tap Tap Bear where you have to tap the head of bears that pop up but avoid accidentally hitting the little girl. Elijah has ideas of his own and tries to convince the HP that the game should be “Hit the Girl” without much success…
So he decides to draw instead, using the Paint It! Touch app which has a number of great brushes, colors and affects to keep kids and adults creatively entertained for hours. You can even edit and adorn photos that you import but Elijah is more interesting in creating a fireworks display of colors and then spinning the paper on the screen….
Where computers, smart phones and tablets are concerned, it is very tempting to take the standard parental stance…the one we use for the coffee pot and the Blu-ray player….”Careful, Don’t Touch, That’s a grown up toy…not for kids…it’s expensive, it’s delicate, it can break….” but there is a world of experience that is shut-down for our children when we say ‘don’t’…
Getting small kids on computers and other multi-media devices, in conjunction with (not instead of) traditional teaching, sharing and knowledge transfer techniques helps open their world of reference and prepare them for a life and a lifestyle where technology is integrated into their daily experience… to be used and appreciated so go ahead and touch! The HP TouchSmart begs to be used, to be explored, to teach through hands-on experience and wrong turns (launching Turbotax instead of turbo race cars…) that can be easily backed out of. The TouchSmart is an affordable durable and highly flexible computing experience, appropriate for any age.
I even like it for members of the older generations who are less familiar with computers and typing because it is intuitive, encourages a fuller range of motion through the use of the mouse, the keyboard and the touchscreen, and 3 year old Elijah can easily show his grandmother how to open an app and 7 year old Maya can show her how to find a find a website, google something like a chocolate chip cookie recipe or the show times for Harry Potter 5, or send an e-mail to an auntie’s smartphone to invite the cousins along.