With the advancement of technology comes new ways for us to learn and grow, but there is most definitely a downside as well.
We become much more tech-savvy at a young age, while risking leaving behind our ability to be patient, or even bored. We risk being innovative with our surroundings, being one with nature, and learning important life skills, for social, survival, domestic, and other aspects.
Whether in a restaurant, shopping at the mall, or relaxing at home, it’s hard not to find parents AND kids both on their phones, iPads, and other devices. Our digital age, with even news limited to 140 characters, and conversations that occur fully through the use of emojis, it is no wonder our attention spans have shortened.
In fact, one study by Microsoft Corporation discovered this digital lifestyle has made it hard for us to stay focused, so much so that the human attention span has shortened from 12 seconds to 8 seconds within only a decade.
The spark of gadget use has infiltrated our homes, work environments, and schools. As adults, we have the choice to not only change our habits, but our children’s too, to ensure they do not become another ADD or ADHD statistic, subject to prescriptions, allow their education to suffer, lose out on necessary human interaction, and learn the life skills that allow humans to flourish independently. Even more alarming is that screentime may be making kids moody, crazy, and lazy.
While it may not seem feasible to simply cut kids off cold turkey from what they already know, perhaps a better approach is to shift their interest by using the digital space they reside in. Putting more education into their gaming and screening may be what’s needed to offset the seemingly mindless activities many kids these days take on to pass the time.
The following options are a glimpse of the ways in which we can start changing our children’s lives for the better, while ensuring they take advantage of the continuous and incredible advancements in technology.
Root is a robot that kids and adults alike can use to draw, erase, play music, and explore its world. With more than 50 sensors and actuators, Root opens up the world of coding to many age groups and experience levels in an interactive way. The robot uses the magnetism of a whiteboard to drive on walls, making activities cooler, more fun, and more social.
In no time at all, Root can be used to create a maze or a racetrack layout, and then, in seconds, it can change its environment right back. Kids can even share their programs with others around the world, since whiteboard surfaces are the same everywhere. Root is also capable of working with paper if whiteboards are not an option.
The founders of Root set out to make coding accessible for learners of any age using everything from robots to apps to curricula to allow people to immediately make and share interactive coding lessons.
“We believe robots are the best way to engage in the journey of learning how digital stuff really works. Our promise is to make learning this way as easy as opening an app,” a statement on their website says.
Root is great for teachers as well, as it’s very easy to use in a classroom setting, and can be used to create fun games and coding challenges with their students. There’s even an app for Root that has both simple blocks as well as full text coding languages.
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Maybe you meditate yourself, and you want to know how to teach your kid, or maybe you simply want to help your child become more self aware and present. Meddy Teddy is your guy! He’s a totally posable teddy bear that teaches kids meditation and yoga!
He’s incredibly soft and equipped with a cute pair of white yoga pants. Due to his flexible interior frame, Meddy Teddy’s interior can do just about any yoga or meditative pose. This will help to visually explain yoga and meditation poses to your kid in a way they can enjoy and relate to. His cute, calm expression also makes him a great cuddling companion, too.
It’s no secret anymore that scientific studies of the impact of yoga, meditation, and mindfulness teachings on young minds show it can improve self-control, reduce anger, anxiety, and depression, increase self-esteem, and even boost academic performance, learning, and memory. All the more reason why Meddy Teddy can be a great option for your child.
Chrysalis is an astoundingly illustrated story for both kids of all ages as well as adults to learn more about and take advantage of power of meditation, mantras and mindfulness in a fun and engaging way.
With the constant amount of pressure to be on all the time, yet the growing concern of attention span issues, anxiety, depression and stress not just in adults, but in kids as well, this may be the perfect way to discover the beauty of self awareness, and the need to slow down and be mindful of what serves and doesn’t serve you.
The reader is encouraged to practice numerous relaxation techniques and emotional learning as they make their way through the book. The idea of finding inner peace can sometimes seem intimidating, especially for children, but this book does so in a unique, colourful, and passive way.
“The main narrative follows the story of a brave young warrior monkey tasked with protecting the all powerful violet lotus from the tyrannical Kunga, a power hungry gorilla who intends to use the power of the lotus to reign supreme over the kingdom of Soluta,” an overview of the book explains on their website. “On the surface the narrative offers up a colourful palette of characters, scenarios and interactions that drive the reader to the final showdown between the warrior monkey and gorilla. The stories subtext metaphorically visualizes the journey that each living soul must endure in order to harmonize each of its energy centers before experiencing ultimate enlightenment.”
The graphic novel will expand further, with plans to become a massive seven level open world experience, and even more MMO development down the line. The music in the game is even tuned to 528hz!
With these types of learning tools and games, children can explore themselves and their abilities without getting lost in the distractions available to them today.
The Little Soul and The Sun by Neale Donald Walsch
What is essentially Walsch’s infamous novel Conversations With God transformed into a heart-warming short story, The Little Soul and The Sun explores reincarnation, duality, oneness, and the beauty in finding lessons within every experience.
The story starts off with a dialogue between a very young soul and God. The Little Soul is curious about its identity and even though it knows it is The Light, it wants to experience what it’s like to feel light. God compares the Little Soul to a candle that is one of millions that lights up the Sun, and without the Little Soul’s bright candlelight, the Sun wouldn’t be the Sun.
To satisfy the Little Soul’s curiosity, God creates darkness. God tells the Little Soul not to fear darkness because ultimately, it is an illusion, that which we are not. Since the Little Soul can’t remember ever experiencing darkness, God explains, “It is a great gift, because without it, you could not know what anything is like. You could not know Warm without Cold, Up without Down, Fast without Slow.”
The Little Soul decides that in order to satisfy its desire to feel The Light, it needs to experience forgiveness; however, it has nothing to forgive. God explains that everything in creation is perfect, there is not one soul that’s better or worse than another because they are all equal in their perfection.
A crowd of souls gather around to listen to their conversation. Then, the Friendly Soul emerges from the crowd and volunteers to come into the Little Soul’s next lifetime to give it something to forgive. However, the Little Soul is confused as to why the Friendly Soul would voluntarily become “dark and dense.”
The Friendly Soul responds, “Because I love you… you have done the same thing for me. Don’t you remember? Oh, we have danced together, you and I, many times. Through the eons and across all the ages have we danced. Across all time and in many places have we played together. You just don’t remember.”
In return, the Friendly Soul asks for a favour, requesting the Little Soul to remember who the Friendly Soul really is, a beacon of light and love. In the moment that the Friendly Soul does something perceivably unforgivable, the Friendly Soul will have been pretending so hard that it will forget what it truly is. The Friendly Soul asks the Little Soul to remind it of its inner beauty, The Light.
The story ends with God smiling at the two souls and saying, “Always remember, I have sent you nothing but angels.” This tale is a beautiful reminder of what we truly are; The Light. We are all the same and duality is merely an illusion, one that can teach us invaluable lessons.
Have any other great tools for teaching kids mindfulness? Please share them in the comments below!
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