Technology is all around us, all the time. Even at the preschool level, there are endless resources and tools available to teach technology. But did you know that there are ways to use technology in your classroom without screen time? Learn how you can recycle old electronics to free play and encourage problem-solving in your childcare center.
Recycle old technology by reusing it in the play area of your class. Old flip phones, home phones, or any outdated phone could make for a great toy for playtime. Be sure to remove anything harmful from the phone, such as the batteries, before putting them in your play area. The children will bring these outdated phones back to life as their imagination sees them as the latest and greatest gadget. Their imaginations will run wild as they pretend to call, text, and even snap photos on these phones. Even outdated cameras and video cameras could be utilized during free play. Adding technology in this aspect of play allows children to explore it without being absorbed by it.
Teach children good technology habits through free play. Children are known to mimic what they see around them, so it is important to show and practice good technology habits. If a student calls you during free play, have a conversation with them but end it with “Ok I’m going to go read a book now” or “I’m going to play on the playground”. Ending the conversation and moving onto another game may encourage the student to do the same. If students are trying to talk to you, make sure they put down the technology to have a face-to-face interaction. Remind students to also be gentle with technology so they don’t damage their pretend cell phone. This is especially important if you have children working with actual technology in the classroom. While these habits are small, they are still important to teach at any age.
Allow children to explore technology by taking it apart. Gather outdated devices that you would not mind if it gets taken apart. As mentioned before, remove any pieces that could be dangerous such as batteries and other small components. Provide screwdrivers and anything else needed to disassemble the pieces and watch as children begin to take it apart. Taking the object apart also challenges the student’s problem-solving skills. Students are not only discovering the insides of the device, but they are also practicing and fine-tuning their fine motor skills.
Using outdated technology and prompting children, can lead to imaginative free play and encourage engagement of problem-solving skills.