This article was written for the Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop and can also be read on their blog here.
What if we could reimagine the iPad as an augmented reality camera for kids to act out their own stories – a costume box for the 21st century?
You’ve all heard the stats. One in three American kids are obese or overweight and will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lives. After diet and exercise, two of the biggest culprits in this epidemic are TV and gaming – the average 8-18 year-old spends 7.5 hours every day on entertainment media. American kids born after 2005 watch 35 hours of television each week and spend 7 hours a week gaming on phones and tablets alone. Meanwhile, only 1/3 of high-school students get the recommended amount of daily exercise. The correlation isn’t coincidental.
Beyond health, there are some pretty scary social effects too – outdoor play isn’t just good exercise, it’s a great place for kids to practice their “21st century skills” – creating, constructing, and collaborating in the sandbox, the backyard, and the ball-field. Whether it’s assigning rules for kickball or roles in “Cops and Robbers”, communication skills developed through play are critical to child development… though the jury’s still out on mid-frag mom-jokes from frtblster2005.