Family Time with Technology
Using technology for good
Technology seems to be taking over our lives as children – and parents – are glued to a screen for hours a day.
A family sitting in the living room using their own devices is not spending real time together. True quality time must include communication between parents and their kids.
Technology doesn’t have to get a completely bad rap, however. If you can use technology to actually bond with your kids, then you have the best of both worlds.
Your kids will be excited to spend time together and you get to make those important memories with them. Here are a few examples of awesome ways to spend quality family time using technology.
Outdoor Movie Theater
There is nothing quite like seeing a movie at a drive-in movie theater. Unfortunately, most drive-in theaters shut down decades ago. Watching a movie outside with your family is completely possible using today’s technology. Most major retailers sell reasonably priced projectors that you can attach to your phone. A simple white cloth hung up in the backyard can become a movie screen.
An even better, less expensive option is to create a DIY projector. Building something together is another great quality time activity for your family. A quick Google Search will result in great tutorials for how to make your own projector with a shoebox and magnifying glass.
The Family Reunions Project allows families to reconnect when they aren’t able to visit because of economic issues. The virtual reality headset allows users to see “360 degree video postcards” of a home or town where family members live. https://www.familyreunionsproject.com/
National Geographic Kids https://kids.nationalgeographic.com/ and Discovery Kids http://discoverykids.com/ websites allow you and your kids to transport around the world together from the comfort of your home computer.
If you can use technology to actually bond with your kids, then you have the best of both worlds.
Technology museums are great weekend or vacation destinations for families. They feature hands on activities for kids of all ages and have some amazing new technologies that are sure to wow your entire family.
The Center for Science and Industry in Columbus, OH, for example, has the Gadgets exhibit, where families can work together to build things and solve problems. You can also watch robots disco dance! https://cosi.org/exhibits/classic-exhibits/gadgets
The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago currently has the Robots Revolution exhibit, which allows families to interact with robots of all sizes up close and the Wanger Family Fab Lab which allows you to use a 3D printer or laser cutting machine to create a special keepsake to bring home with you. https://www.msichicago.org/
The Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, CA has so many awesome interactive exhibits including Cyber Detectives, Innovations in Health Care, Social Robots, and Tech for Global Good. https://www.thetech.org/
If you’ll need to take a road trip to get to one of the technology museums listed above, this can be a great bonding experience for your family with the help of your smart phone. There are many free and low cost apps that will give the history of the area where you’re traveling and any out-of-the-way pit stops you can take to see the world’s largest ball of twine (it’s in Kansas), for example.
The free History Here app is available on iOS and android from A & E Television’s History Channel. The app includes nearby museums, monuments, and famous homes. Your family can also take tours to locations throughout U.S. history, like Atlanta during the Civil War. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.aetn.history.android.historyhere
The free Roadtrippers Trip Planner provides information on interesting sites only known to locals, in addition to great restaurants and hotels. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.roadtrippers