Technology and under 5s - Page 2

How can I support my child’s use of technology?

  • Remember that whatever the medium, your child will benefit and learn most when you take an active interest in what they are doing and take part with them.
  • As with TV, young children have a lot more to gain from new technology with an adult to help them explore, interact and reflect on their experiences.
  • Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a tech expert, you can learn along with your child.
  • It is important to ensure that any content that children access is age-appropriate.
  • Listen and watch stories together when they are using a touch screen, as you would read a book with them. Talk about what they have seen or heard. Ask them to make up ‘what next stories.
  • Take photos and make books, printed and electronic, about things your child has done.
  • Play matching games on a computer, take turns but don’t go overboard on winning!
  • Play going to the supermarket and ‘scanning’ the goods with a pretend scanner or download and app to do this.
  • Scan your child’s first attempts at making marks on paper and keep a digital record which will show their progress.
  • The best digital activities complement or inspire physical play, rather than replace it. For example, letter-tracing apps can be part of a range of ways that a child learns the alphabet.

Useful resources:

BBC Learning - Early Years Foundation Stage

  • Have fun watching Alphablocks and playing their online game or find out how you can help your child learn to read using phonics on the Alphablocks Grown Ups site.
  • Get Squiggling Letters is a new show and game on CBeebies where children can practise their letter writing. Learn the shape of the letters and put their skills to the test in a 'Letter Quiz.‘ Children can now practice their letter writing using their fingers to shape the letter on a mobile or tablet device.

Nosy Crow
Smartphone owners can hear more stories read aloud through Nosy Crow’s innovative ‘Stories Aloud’ series. These are print books that include a QR code on the inside cover that you can scan using a QR code reader (free to download) which will then play an audio track of the story read in a British child’s voice. Our favourite title is Goldilocks and Just the One Bear by Leigh Hodgkinson, but there are several others available. We also like this publisher’s Red Riding Hood and Bizzy Bear apps for younger children.

Many young children love sharing printed picture books, and families can enjoy this experience on-screen too. One of our favourites ways to do this is the Me Books app (iOS, shortly on Android), a free app that gives access to a virtual bookshelf of high quality popular children’s titles (whole texts, many of which have already proved themselves in the paper bestseller charts) which cost between 69p and £1.99 each. Along with looking at the words and pictures (presented exactly as they appear in paper format) at the touch of a finger, you can also hear a well-known actor or personality (there’s everyone from Benedict Cumberbatch to our favourite, Adam Buxton) read the story aloud. More adventurous families can choose to record and save their own version of the story, complete with sound effects for the illustrations.

You Tube
You Tube isn’t all about cats falling down slides - you can also ‘watch’ lots of lovely picture books read aloud by visiting channels run by top children’s publishers such as Walker Books. One of our favourite ‘book films’ is the classic We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen, and you will usually find links to other popular titles on the suggestions bar. Note: always supervise young children when exploring the internet, to ensure content is age-appropriate.

A parent's guide to television

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