Teaching kids to get around without technology

While we can remember a day when we weren’t glued to our smartphones and devices, our kids have never known life without them. However reliant we have become on these pocket-sized encyclopaedias, acquiring the life skills to get by without technology is imperative, because there will be times when technology fails you. You may lose your phone, it may run out of battery, or the network goes down. Plus, the literacy and cognitive benefits of thinking for yourself are countless. Here are some simple ways to switch on your kid’s analogue brain.

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Memorise important information

Remembering every phone number isn’t so important nowadays, but it’s vital for kids to know at least one of your numbers. Make sure they learn your phone number and their home address, and write a list of key phone numbers and pop it on the fridge.

Get oriented

While the GPS is amazing for getting us from A to B, it’s terrible for keeping us oriented. Try giving them a map on the school run, so they can follow the route. Show them which way is north, south, so they can find where they are and point out significant landmarks to identify routes on the way.

When you go to the supermarket, ask them to remember where you park the car and then guide you back there when you leave. This will get them into the habit of paying attention to their surroundings and remembering context clues, such as next to the escalator or near the big tree. Put them in charge Next time you go somewhere that may have a map—such as an amusement park—give it to them and let them make decisions. When it’s lunchtime, have them check the map and see what your options are. If they want pizza, they can direct you to the pizza place. Or, better still, visit your local library and get a Story Seat map then go on a hunt across the Sunshine Coast to visit all 10 Story Seats.

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Verbalise what’s happening

If you do have the GPS on, rather than mindlessly following the snaking blue line, chat about which way you are going. Have them read out the road names, whether it’s left or right at the next junction, and is the car going north or south, for example.

Get tech-free at home

There are plenty of ways to become an expert on a topic or explore the world, without reaching for a device. Here are 10 great books to get you started, and all are available to borrow from the local library.

  • 10-Minute Projects: 65 Projects You Can Make in a Flash; by Sarah L. Schuette
  • Survival for Beginners: A Step-by-Step Guide to Camping and Outdoor Skills; by Colin Towell
  • Gardening for kids: 35 Nature Activities to Sow, Grow, and Make; by Dawn Isaac
  • 100 Adventures to Have Before You Grow Up; by Anna McNuff
  • 100 Things to Recycle and Make; by Fiona Hayes
  • 100 Backyard Activities That Are the Dirtiest, Coolest, Creepy-Crawliest Ever!; by Colleen Kessler
  • Our Wonderful World: Explore the Globe with 50 Fact-Filled Maps!; by Kalya Ryan
  • The Animal Atlas : A Pictorial Guide to the World’s Wildlife; by Kenneth Lilly
  • History Atlas: Heroes, Villains and Magnificent Maps from Fifteen Extraordinary Civilisations; by Thiago de Moraes
  • Ocean Atlas: A Journey Across the Waves and Into the Deep; by Tom Jackson

For these resources and more, head to your local library or visit www.library.sunshinecoast.qld.gov.au

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By Angela Sutherland
After spending many years hustling stories on busy editorial desks around the world, Angela is now mum of two little ones and owner/editor at Kids on the Coast / Kids in the City. She is an atrocious cook and loves cutting shapes to 90s dance music. Angela is the editor of Kids on the Coast - a free family magazine whats on guide for Kids: things to do, school holiday fun and free activities for kids... Fun attractions, family food & travel, kids health & wellbeing, kids parties venues, parenting, pregnancy & babies, guide for parents. Servicing Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and beyond, Kids on the Coast is an online guide for parents with kids things to do with kids, schools and education and lifestyle news located on Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast & Brisbane, QLD.

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