Lots of Interesting Stuff for Children to Do on the Computer

The girls are sitting in front of their computers. You know how it is…. they’re probably playing computer games, ‘wasting time’… or are they?
Perhaps they are…

Learn to code interactively, for free. People all over the world are learning with Codecademy. Join in now!

Programming is how we tell computers what we want them to do, like to build iPhone apps, video games, or websites like this one. At Khan Academy, you can use our programming environment to build graphics, animations, and interactive visualizations. If you’ve never programmed before, follow these tutorials to learn how!

  • Making amazing animations at the Scratch website while learning to code:

With Scratch, you can program your own interactive stories, games, and animations — and share your creations with others in the online community.

Scratch helps young people learn to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively — essential skills for life in the 21st century.

Restricting Children’s Time on the Computer : including more about Scratch

  • Making a 3D animation using Alice:

Using an innovative programming environment to support the creation of 3D animations, the Alice Project provides tools and materials for teaching and learning computational thinking, problem solving, and computer programming across a spectrum of ages and grade levels.



Gamestar Mechanic uses fun, game-based quests and courses to help you learn game design and make your own video games!

Learning the Principles of Computer Game Design

  • Creating a free blog with Blogger: Designing a blog, creating blog headers, writing posts, being part of a community.
  • Uploading their latest challenges to the DIY website:
DIY is the best way to learn skills, discover cool projects and meet other awesome kids!

Movie Maker: Your very own movie studio—in one free download

  • .Uploading their movies to Youtube.

  • Watching videos:

classic mini-series and movies, operas and ballets, science and history and travel documentaries, music and art,’ how to’ and so many other videos on Youtube.

  • Editing their photos using the Picmonkey website:
 PicMonkey is a free online photo editor that takes your images from good to glorious with a heaping load of fun.

  • Making collages, or slideshows with their photos, complete with music tracks at Kizoa.

Make slideshows of photos, videos with Effects, Text, Music
Make still or animated collages & Ecards with templates or create freely
Masterly edit photos with amazing filters, effects, frames


  • Making comics and cartoons using Toondoo

 brainstorming ideas, thinking creatively and improving their memories


  • Planning their next NaNoWriMo novel or editing the last one

  • Looking at some famous works of art and adding to their online art collection at Google Art Project
I know there are many more things my girls could be doing on their computers, but they’re probably doing one of the above. But which one?
“Hey girls! What are you doing on your computers?” I ask.
“Playing a game.”
“An educational game?”
“Everything’s educational, Mum!”
I guess they’re right.
Just in case you’re wondering: My girls each have their own computer. We don’t have any rules about how long they can spend using them. However they don’t spend excessive amounts of time online. There’s too much else my girls like to do… running, playing the piano, singing, reading, cooking, craft, sewing, playing outside, talking, listening…
I do feel there is less chance a child will look for every available moment on the computer if their computer time is not restricted. But I’ve heard some children (and adults) get addicted to the computer and, just because this isn’t an issue with our family, I am not going to deny it happens. That would be silly. All children are different and a parent knows her own children, and I don’t.
If you’re interested, I wrote about our family’s computer time in my story Restricting Children’s Time on the Computer.
And if your children are interested, they might like to try some of the computer activities on my list. Most of them are free. It’s always more fun to share passions so you could try them too!

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Comments

    • Chris
    • December 22, 2013
    Reply

    Great tips Sue!
    Pinned.:)

    Thanks!

    SO strange to see flowering, "live" trees out your windows in Dec!!

    Sue, have a Merry Christmas, if we are not ion touch within the next few days!
    It has been a blessing getting to know you this year!

    God bless you and your family!

    xoxoxo
    Love you,
    Chris

    1. Reply

      Thanks Chris!

      This photo was actually taken a few months ago during our winter. It was the only one I could find of someone using a computer! Even in winter most of our trees are green. We have relatively few deciduous trees in our village. That's probably native bushland you can see through the window. The bush backs up to our garden fence.

      I hope you and your family have a very merry Christmas too! I am so pleased you stopped by. May God bless you all! xx

  1. What a gift of a post! (I seem to have gifts on the mind this week … must be the Christmas spirit!) We love using lots of the resources you mention, and there are lots more we haven't come across yet but will definitely be exploring. Thank you, Sue!

    I do have one child who perhaps relies a bit heavily on computer games for his wellbeing. But as he gets older he is beginning to understand that it's a good idea to try other things – on the computer and otherwise. Having said that, he does learn an enormous amount from the games he plays (he's mind-bogglingly good at them too).

    I suggested (not insisted) recently that he try an experiment of having one games-free day a week, just to give him a good long stretch of time to be inspired by and immerse himself in other activities. He found the first week quite a challenge but is open to continuing it.

    C(10), on the other hand, sounds more like your children, moving happily between all sorts of different projects, on and offline. She loves SAM animation and also designs some magnificent structures on Minecraft.

    I hope you've all had a wonderful Christmas week.

    Lucinda

    1. Reply

      Lucinda,

      I am so glad there are some things on this list which might interest you.

      Someone recommended the book, "Don't Bother Me Mom – I'm Learning" by Marc Prensky. The book description begins like this…

      "“This book does a pretty good job of smashing the old argument that video games are harmful to children. Instead, it fills the void with statements showing how gaming can teach advanced problem solving, language and cognitive skills, strategic thinking, multitasking, and parallel processing. All of which are skills vital to survival in the increasingly technocratic 21st century…"

      I have to admit I haven't read the whole book yet but it looks interesting.

      One games-free day a week? I think I could do with one computer-free day a week! Yes, it would give me the chance to look around and be inspired to do other things. I am so impressed your son is open to the idea. I wish I could be!

      My children haven't tried Minecraft. I had a go on an app and couldn't work it out. I fear I am too old to spontaneously see what these games are all about!

      We are having a great Christmas week, Lucinda. I hope you are too!

    2. Reply

      Lucinda,

      Now I feel inspired to finish reading that book about gaming! Perhaps you could write a post about the book when you finish it. I'd be very interested to hear your thoughts and opinions. I'm sure lots of other people would too. It's a topic that always creates a lot of discussion.

    3. I've just downloaded the book to my Kindle – it looks excellent, thanks.

      Yes I could probably do with unplugging now and then, too. But then, computers are so very useful…

      We're having a lovely week too, thanks. Lots of family time, time to relax, and walks under crisp blue skies – perfect!

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