From the time they are toddlers, children are attracted to computers. You don't have to blow a thousand bucks on a computer for a 3-year-old (or let him break yours), though. Instead, you can purchase a low-cost learning laptop. These look like real grown-up computers and have working keyboards. They are usually preloaded with learning games and decked out with popular themes and cartoon characters. Many learning laptops are designed for preschoolers and can help teach the basics of letters, sounds and numbers through recognition and matching games.
School-age kids can benefit from certain learning laptops, as well. Children from 5 to 10 years old can progress through various levels to enjoy many math, science, English and Spanish activities.
Though traditional books should be part of every child's life from infancy, you can supplement them with interactive electronic book systems. Suited for kids ages 3 and up, an interactive book system usually comes with a book, cartridge and "pen." The child places the interactive pen on several points throughout the book to have the story read to her or to play learning games along the way. You can buy additional books with cartridges for such systems, which are fantastic to use at home or for long car rides.
Electronic toys can stimulate your child through sight, sound and touch to learn everything from basic counting to historical facts. Electronic toys for little ones also help with fine motor skills and other developmental milestones. Adding a few electronic toys to your child's life allows him to interact and play as he learns new concepts and explores educational activities.
Video games aren't going to go away anytime soon. Therefore, you need to monitor what type of video games your children are playing -- particularly at a young age. Interactive game consoles, such as VTech's V.Smile, combine the alluring video game technology with educational content. Kids can enjoy games that incorporate language, math, music, science, social studies, spelling and more. Handheld learning systems that are similar to traditional portable gaming devices are also available; they're perfect for travel, provide learning activities in a variety of subjects, and help develop fine motor skills.
When children reach high-school age, technology is a big part of their lives. Though you still need to monitor your high-schooler's online activities as well as the content of her games and music, this is the time to consider buying her a laptop or desktop computer. Keep the desktop computer in a common area of your home, where you can keep a watchful eye on your child's online time. A laptop, netbook or iPad could make a perfect gift for your high-school-age child to use for research or homework as well. Though children shouldn't be immersed in electronics 24 hours a day, they can be a big part of their learning experience.
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