Last week, I found 4 great ways to use technology to move kids outside. In the Northwest, our summers are also filled with rainy days. When everyone is stuck inside, sometimes you need a little screen time.
One of my biggest frustrations is watching my kids surrounded by all this amazing technology and doing nothing with it. Sure, they watch YouTube videos and play games but they could be doing so much more. This week, I found some rainy day activities to move kids from consumers of technology to creators.
Instead of playing game, kids can create a game with Kodu, Microsoft’s game creation lab for kids. Kids can build games on the PC or with the XBox. Kodu is pretty easy to use. I needed to watch the tutorial but my kids dove right in and started clicking around. It has lots of tools so kids can create different terrains and design challenges. Once they are done, kids can choose to share their games with other kids on the Kodu website. It is free to download to a PC.
Below is a tutorial on how to design a game with Kodu by Stuart Ridout.
Last summer, we enrolled in Codecademy. We started off with great plans to build an app but lost momentum. This summer, we are all trying out Scratch. Scratch, from MIT media lab, is a visual programming language where kids snap together pieces of code to design their own creations. As they snap and unsnap blocks of code, they learn basic programming like creating loops and manipulating variables. With Scratch, kids can create stories, drawings, music and animations as well as 2-D games. Scratch is free and kids can share their creations on the Scratch site.
Minecraft is an online game that allows kids to build whatever they want using a variety 8-bit blocks. Kids may opt to build monuments, fight monsters, or engineer circuits. The game has two main modes, survival and creative. In creative mode the player has unlimited materials and the ability to fly. This makes it the perfect mode for creating elaborate structures. In survival mode, the player must first gather materials before they can build. In both modes, players can choose whether to fight a variety of monsters; it all depends on their preferences. Kids can play solo or with others. My kid loves this game. My one caution is some kids may want to extend this game from a rainy day to every day. The game is available on minecraft.net for $26.95.