Media use doesn’t have to mean just sitting quietly in front of the TV or wiping away spellbound on a tablet. Media can do so much more! With them, children and also adults can get creative, learn new things and experience something together. Small media projects can be implemented with children of kindergarten and elementary school age without much time or technical effort.
A conscious and healthy approach to media is important for living well in our digitalized world. Media projects contribute to this by promoting media literacy – not only in your child, but also in you. Your child will learn to use media in different ways. With them, children can be creative and express themselves. They learn to use it as a tool. In media projects that don’t have to be purely digital, children learn in a very practical way how media work. Sometimes children understand better than adults how something works and so they can teach you too. Media projects are teamwork, which is why they also promote social learning. And last but not least, everyone can have fun together and be proud of a small media product at the end.
Every smartphone has a digital camera, which is why most parents always have them with them. So it’s not at all costly to do a little photo project in between. Your child learns to look closely and can discover details in its environment. When it looks through the display itself, it perceives the world differently than when it stands in front of the camera. When taking photos, your child learns how to use media technology independently for the first time: Where is the shutter release? How should the camera or smartphone be held? etc. In photo projects, you can also get creative together by finding very special photo clippings or subjects, or making collages out of photos. Stories can also be told with photos.
We describe two photo projects in detail – in our article Making media yourself – On the road with the photo camera. At knipsclub, kids can upload their photos and share them with others.
For kids aged four and up who love storytelling, we recommend the app Puppet Pals (free, iOS only). Think together a little story incl. texts and act them out on the tablet, on a virtual stage. In the app there are different backgrounds and figures for this. The figures are simply moved with the finger on the screen. When your child speaks to it, the character can also say something. If the record button is pressed at the beginning of the game, the scene and your game will be filmed. At the end you can look at the work together. Learn more about the app in our tool description.
Have you been on safari with your child? You don’t have to travel to Africa to do this. Even a walk in the woods or in the park around the corner lets you explore exciting things – and only with your ears! If you or your child hears a particular sound, try recording it on your smartphone using the dictation app. At home you can listen to all the recorded sounds. Do you remember what was what? Such a listening walk trains the ability to listen carefully and to concentrate on something. If your child records the sounds themselves with a smartphone, listening pen or similar, they will also learn how to use media technology. The project is suitable for children from 2 to 3 years.
In our article Listening projects with children you will find even more ideas for media projects around listening. By the way, if your child likes to listen to audio games, you can make your own audio game box together from a few things for your smartphone. Our instructions explain how this works.
Producing your own animated film is a little more involved. But also the is child’s play thanks to apps such as Stop Motion Studio and iStopMotion. All you need is a smartphone or tablet and a few game pieces. Read more in our tutorial Making media yourself – animated films and stop motion.
Good teamwork is especially important in a film project like this. Your child can get creative by making up stories or crafting the movie set. It also learns about the tricks used in film and television and that not everything is as it appears on screen. If your child feels like it, he or she can even publish the film, for example on the safe children’s platform JUKI.
Media projects can be a wonderful community experience for the whole family. Dare – because it’s usually not that time-consuming. Once you have more practice, you can tackle larger projects together. Have fun and success!
It is important that you accompany your child into elementary school age when using media, whether creatively and productively or for relaxation. This is the only way it can learn from you and turn to you with questions.