Digital Designers

. October 31, 2019.
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Creative ways techy kids can express themselves

Concerned about the amount of time your kids are spending on video games? When boredom strikes, give your digitally-charmed youngster a project that enhances their technical skills while also fostering their creativity.

Write a digital storybook. Introduce your young storyteller to storybird.com which features illustrations that kids can use for story inspiration. They can write and design picture books, long form stories or write poetry. Other sites include InkSpire.org, which encourages youth between the ages of 14 to 29 to share stories with others, and BookCreator.com.

Draw comic strips. The Strip Designer app enables kids to take pictures of their artwork or upload photos to create their own comic strips, play with fonts and filters and write dialogue in speech balloons. Check out the family friendly MakeBeliefsComix.com, a free site that provides writing prompts for kids, comic strip templates and suggestions for family activities. Younger children might like Superhero Comic Book Maker and Princess Fairy Tale Maker available at duckduckmoose.com.

Create a digital photo book. Ask your kids for help in putting together a photo memory book of your family’s vacation. Have them include captions of the places you visited, the things they learned, and short anecdotes. Walmart, Picaboo and Shutterfly offer templates for photo books.

Play with music. From Garage Band on Mac for older kids to CreatingMusic.com for younger ones, turn kids on to playing around with pitch, tone and rhythm. Also, check out Incredibox and Fun2Think.

Build a family webpage. Many kids love to play with coding, design, photography and writing. Help your child design a free family website using platforms like uKit, WordPress, Weebly, Wix or Squarespace.

Direct a movie. Kids love to play with video. Show them applications like iMovie (Mac), which gives them an opportunity to choose templates, edit, add audio and share their short films. Slo-mo and Timelapse are also fun video features on many smartphones. On Timelapse, my kids like to record themselves cleaning up their room. They get a kick out of going back and watching the process in fast-forward.

Record an interview. Interview a grandparent, parent, sibling or another relative using the audio record function on your phone, computer or iPad. Not sure what to ask? Check out StoryCorps.org, which offers an app with suggested interview questions.

Create a digital slideshow. On your next family trip or vacation, provide your child with an inexpensive digital camera. Upload the photos and create a slideshow with music, transitions and creative fonts. Check out smilebox.com, iPhoto, or Movavi.

Start a blog. Help your budding artist, writer or photographer start a private family blog where they can share their work with family and friends. If your child likes to cook, suggest she take photos during each step of the cooking process and post her recipes on the blog.

Snap a photo a day. Using apps like “Photo 365” or “Everyday app”, have your child take a photo of a specific subject like a tree, a seed that they plant, their puppy or kitten, a sibling or take daily selfies. Then watch the subject in quick time lapse to see how it changes.

As always, ensure that your kids protect their identity and location while online. Unsure about an app or online platform? Check out CommonSenseMedia.org.