Creative Ways Techy Kids Can Express Themselves
Including Digi-Bridge's #STEAMSummer
Sick of the amount of time your kids are spending on video games this summer? When boredom strikes, give your digitally charmed youngster a summertime project that enhances their technical skills while also fostering creativity.
» Write a digital storybook. Introduce your young storyteller to storybird.com that features illustrations that kids can use for story inspiration. Subscription-based monthly writing challenges can help boost a child's literacy skills. Young authors can choose to keep their work private, publish it to Storybird's public library, share it on social media, email it to friends and family, or print off the books for special keepsakes or gifts. Other sites include inkspire.org, which encourages youth ages 14 and older to share their stories, thoughts and ideas with others, and bookcreator.com.
» Draw comic strips. The StripDesigner app enables kids to take pictures of their artwork or upload photos to create their own comic strips using the site's comic book template. They can play with fonts and filters and write dialogue in speech balloons. Make Beliefs Comix, created by Bill Zimmerman, provides writing prompts for kids, comic strip templates and suggestions for family activities. Younger children might like Superhero Comic Book Maker and Princess Fairy Tale Maker that are designed for kids who aren't writing yet. When they're finished creating their story, they can record it and play it back.
» Direct a movie. Kids love to play with video. Show them applications like iMovie (Mac), which gives them an opportunity to choose templates, edit, add audio and share their short films. Slo-mo and Timelapse are also fun video features on many smartphones.
» Record an interview. Interview a grandparent, parent, sibling or another relative using the audio record function on your phone, computer or iPad. Not sure what to ask? Check out storycorps.org that offers an app with suggested interview questions.
» Create a digital slide show. On your next family field trip or vacation, provide your child with an inexpensive digital camera or smartphone. Have them upload their photos to your computer and create a digital slideshow with music, transitions and creative fonts. Check out Smilebox, iPhoto or Movavi.
» Snap a photo a day. Using apps like Photo 365 or Everyday app, have your child take a photo a day throughout the summer. Choose a specific subject like a tree, a seed that they plant, their puppy or kitten, a sibling or take daily selfies. At the end of the summer, watch the subject in a quick time lapse. How does the subject matter change over the course of the season?
As always, ensure that your kids are taking appropriate personal safety precautions to protect their identity and location while online. Unsure about an app or online platform? Check out commonsensemedia.org.
As the mom of two sons, ages 11 and 13, freelance journalist Christa Melnyk Hines is in thick of navigating technology use in her home. She is the author of “Happy, Healthy & Hyperconnected: Raise a Thoughtful Communicator in a Digital World.”
Through #STEAMSaturdays and the newly introduced #STEAMSummer intensive programs, Digi-Bridge is equipping 21st-century learners with the tools and skills they need to succeed in a digital world. #STEAMSaturdays are 90 minutes of hands-on Lego Robotics where participants are taught basics of block coding, while building with Legos. Each week, participants build robots with motion sensors, tilt sensors and other accessories. Courses are held in Ballantyne, Davidson, South Park and uptown Charlotte. Digi-Bridge offers #STEAMSummer Intensives that are week-long, half-day camps that follow the #STEAMSaturday model and are lead by K-8 educators. Three #STEAMSummer sessions are scheduled beginning the week of July 22 in South Park, the week of July 29 in Davidson, and the week of Aug. 9 in Ballantyne. Digi-Bridge also offers special events, such as Daddy/Daughter Code-Ins at Google Fiber uptown. Learn more at digi-bridge.org.