As parents, we want the best for our kids. My wife and I will do anything and everything we can to help encourage and develop our kids to reach their full potential. Oftentimes, this means having them experiment with a lot of different extra-curricular activities until they find something that fits. Since my children are either in elementary or pre-K, we don’t believe that you can meaningfully filter their activities since they got a home run in t-ball. But, let’s face it driving around to numerous extra-curricular each week is exhausting. Since launching Digital Adventures, we’ve had the good fortune to engage with several hundred children to work through thousands of computer coding and engineering design projects. We’ve found that there are a couple of commonalities that keep kids engaged with technology.
Variety is the spice of life
This should be no surprise. But, kids are interested in continuing to pursue topics that there friends also find cool. Our classes are structured in such a way that kids will often be in a group of students that might not even go to the same school. While your kids may already have friends who are interested in technology, if they don’t now is the time for the parents to facilitate those relationships with their peers. And similar to other extra-curricular activities, real bonds are forged over periods of time and shared interest. So, you might organize a play date for your kid and their friends to a First Robotics competition
or the Chicago Student Invention Convention
or the Museum of Science & Industry Robotics Week
. Activities that build upon topics that they are already engaging with their friends will create meaningful ways for them to
Celebrate their inner geek
There has never been a better time to be a geek. For a long time, being a geek was frowned upon or would subject a kid to teasing by their peers. However, the rising popularity of technology as a platform for facilitation has changed the perception of geeks
for the better. Whether it is iPhones or Facebook or Snapchat, technology and tech-entrepreneurs are the modern day superheroes. This emerging cultural phenomenon is not only awesome for providing a safe space for future inventors and innovators, it also means that in general it gives kids more of an opportunity to be who they are. I can remember that when I was a kid I loved taking apart electronics and playing around with our IBM computer to try and understand how it worked. However, I didn’t know of many other kids who shared the same passion for technology. It wasn’t until college when I was with my fellow engineers working on solving problem sets or extracurricular activities like the FutureCar Challenge
that I truly felt comfortable. Thankfully, kids who have a natural interest in technology and engineering can express their interest and be supported by their peers. So, when your kid wants to explain to you how the bitcoin block chain
works, let them. Even if you don’t understand what they are talking about, the more support they receive from those who love them during these crucial development years, the better.
What are some other ways you’ve found to help encourage and support your kids or kids you work with to engage with technology?