The market for educational apps and games for children is a multi-billion dollar global industry, predicted to grow over the next ten years. A recent Australian survey found 4-5 year olds spend 2.2 hours each day on a screen, and much of that is on apps and shows that promote themselves as being educational.
I’ve had a few conversations with parents recently about these apps,
‘They’re going to school with a real head start’ one Mum told me, ‘one that I certainly didn’t have.’ But if you talk to teachers you get a different story.
Higher numbers of children with speech delays, children who find it increasingly hard to concentrate and play imaginatively. Most will tell you to forgo the educational apps and instead invest your time in something simple. Like taking a walk, drawing a picture, cooking or planting something together.
There’s so much learning that happens in these simple activities. Take gardening for example. There are endless opportunities for language development outside, talking about plants, bugs and birds in a constantly changing environment.
And numeracy too—counting and measuring, discussing size, height and changes over time.
And every visit to the garden is a scientific investigation into the ecology on which we depend. There are wriggly worms, and buzzing bees, and even the invisible components of soil and sun that allow plants to grow into something that then, helps us grow.
Even if you live in the city, a potted plant on a windowsill or a visit to a community garden will spark the same rich learning.
And best of all the garden reminds us of some important values, that we are all at risk of forgetting when we spend too much time inside. That waste is unnecessary, that generosity serves us better than greed, and that we all have a role to play in creating a greener, brighter, healthier future for our planet and ourselves.
Also, swipe to see the kids, with their garden hero @costasworld
who we stumbled across at Launceston airport last week. He was completely lovely and they haven’t stopped talking about it since. So thankful to him and the many others working hard to inspire the next generation to love this wonderful earth. 🌿🌏😍