Tech the Halls and Transform Screen Time to Sharing Time
Gifting technology to a child during the holidays can be a terribly exciting experience. However, being chastised by well meaning relatives or friends about “too much screen” time can suck the joy right out of this thrilling time. Technology is woven into our everyday lives, and we parents have been bombarded by advice on a healthy balance of screen time in terms of quantity, such as limiting screen time or that kids today get too much screen time.
At BridgingApps we focus less on technology in terms of quantity, but on quality – that is, how we use technology with our children who have special needs. If used effectively and intentionally, we have found that it can be a fabulous tool for inclusion, engagement, creativity and sharing.
Music is the perfect way to bring people together during the holidays, whether it is cooking together, guiding a playdate with friends, or simply enjoying downtime together. Using music-specific mobile device apps can turn screen time into a holiday sing along or dance party creating priceless family memories. Let the sharing begin!
By Google, Inc.
Viewing Christmas songs on the YouTube app is a fun way to get everyone in the holiday spirit. Many feature a sing along version with words captioned at the bottom and animations to engage family members of all ages. We always recommend an adult be present to monitor children while using the YouTube app.
Pandora – Free Music & Radio
By Pandora Media, Inc.
Pandora is a radio app that can be used to create personalized audio stations for listening to your family’s holiday favorites anytime anywhere. So, whether you are gathered around the Christmas tree or traveling, your family can enjoy.
by University of Victoria
We love CanTunes, it allows individuals with cognitive and/or developmental delays to play music independently without the complexities of typical play, stop, pause, and shuffle buttons on regular music operating devices like a CD player or boombox. It has been used with children with cognitive disabilities, fine motor challenges and low vision. CanTunes promotes independence, builds confidence and reduces the need for constant adult or caregiver monitoring.
By Brendan Kirchner
By Khan Academy
By Enuma, Inc.
By Avaz, Inc.
If you are interested in searching for more holiday apps, creating your own list of holiday apps and sharing them, please go to BridgingApps.org. BridgingApps, a program of Easter Seals Greater Houston, is a community of parents, therapists, doctors and teachers who share information about using mobile devices with people who have special needs.
Tara Rocha is the Digital Content Specialist with BridgingApps and mother of four young children.
Cristen Reat is co-founder of BridgingApps and a mother who found success when using a mobile device with her children who have special needs.
All share a passion for mobile technology in education.
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This post originally appeared on our November/December 2015 Magazine