Put yourself in front of the camera and strike a pose! Where did you land? Prehistoric times, the news room, or a video game? The green screen has several worlds for you to imagine. But what is your child learning while they play here?
How does this work? “When I jump in front of the bright green wall, I can look at the TV and be standing inside a school of fish! I wonder why?” This is a great opportunity to talk with your child about how to use technology intentionally. “There is a camera attached to a program that lets us pretend we are playing with the dinosaurs! What do you know about those dinosaurs?” Computers help you every day, why can’t they also help your child learn?
Who can I pretend to be? A rabbit hopping through the pixel forest or an alien walking on the surface of Mars. The opportunities are endless with the variety of screens a child can jump into. As they explore their own wonders about the world and who they can be, your child can consider others which is supporting their social emotional development. "How would a rabbit play because they are shorter than me, they move by hopping, and they can’t talk." Considering these differences supports your child in thinking about others, all during their play.
Bring science into the play, “I wonder why your green shirt is blending into the rocks of the mountain? It makes you look like a floating head!” You can talk about how the green screen works by changing all the lime green color to the background picture, and sometimes other shades too. You can also discuss the different environments and ecosystems you are finding yourself in as you click through the worlds. While your child decides which world they want to be in, you can talk about how it would be different to exist in space, underwater, or high in the mountains.
It is pretty clear that children love watching themselves on the TV, but what purpose is this play, other than fun? Supporting their physical development! They are watching the tv while they jump or squat. This further develops body awareness while having a great time pretending.
Finally, it is an exercise in patience. It is not a normal tablet that allows you to click between images at a moment's notice. The SPARK tablet has a built-in delay and wait time for each picture to be on the screen for a certain amount of time before it can be changed, or the new image appears. This means your child needs to consider what
background to choose next as they will have to keep their choice for several seconds before changing again. This is an exercise in patience and waiting for something they want. There will also be some waiting involved when they throw the green fabric over their head and yell for you to look at them disappearing on the TV.
The green screen will probably pull your child in when they are walking by, or they will get excited to use it again on their next visit. Rest assured, they are not only having fun but learning and growing while they play.
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