Many of us are fascinated with technology. (Just think of the long lines to get the latest iPhone.) Technology is an everyday part of our lives … and the lives of the children who we parent and teach.
Children learn by mimicking what they see around them … I’m sure many of us have seen the toddler who picks up a block and starts talking into it like a cell phone, or the preschooler who pretends to “scan” the food as she plays grocery store.
Adding some technology tools into children’s pretend play is relevant – they live in a multimedia world. But, early educators who do not have the funds to bring in the latest in high-tech gadgets can still incorporate some technology elements in very low cost ways. (Think tag sales, craig’s list … a teacher’s paradise!)
Consider adding some of these into your dramatic play area, block center or writing areas:
- Adding machines or calculators
- Old typewriters or keypads
- Old rotary push button or cell phones*
- Voice recorder machines
- Microphones or karaoke machines
- Watches or timers
- CD/tape players, books on tape
- Old cameras or video cameras
- Old computer keyboard or mouse
* Be sure to remove cell phone batteries, otherwise cell phones can still dial 911, even if there is no service plan!
Here are other ideas from some of our blogger friends to add technology into pretend play:
Repurpose old or outdated laptop/computer for children’s use – Children can use simple programs like MS Word or MS Paint – just let them type and practice using the mouse! (see post on PreK+K sharing blog)
Build a pretend computer for play – Use a box and old keyboard to make a pretend computer for dramatic play.
Make pretend iPhones for literacy play – Make “pretend” technology gadgets that children can use for pretend play, letter recognition and pre-writing skills. Children can imitate technology use that they see every day.
You can also see other ways to incorporate technology into your lessons and experiences – by adding them into your teacher “toolbox”!
What are some other ways to incorporate low-cost technology elements into children’s play?