Friday, 6 January 2017

New Years Resolution - Stay Active with Tech

It's great when you can look back on resolutions set the year before and feel a level of satisfaction that you have done something worthwhile. Last year I wrote a New Year's resolution post and resolved to do 3 things in 2016...

  1. Find and play / work with a techie friend

    My family has really benefited from being friends with Tracy's family, whose a whole lot more techie than us. We've made projects together and they inspired us to try some things of our own too. As a family we've also benefited from joining a local coding club once a month and meet other families exploring coding and digital making.
  2. Overcome my fears of tech

    I'm definitely still on a learning curve here, but I know a whole lot more than I did a year ago. It just shows what a bit of research and trying things can achieve. I can actually understand some computer code now!
  3. Make techie things with my family

    As a family we've become much more aware of how technology works, and so we are more likely to try make our own electronic toys, or design personalised characters to be 3D printed. Having a better idea of what is possible, helped us make more things using technology. We're particular proud of our drawing machine, Sam Labs racer and electronic circuit canvas bug pictures.
Although our achievements are not earth shattering, we have actually implemented these goals throughout the year.  I still think 2016's New Year Resolutions are very relevant for this year.

So what's our new goals for 2017?

Perhaps a good place to start in view of the ever expanding digital age, dominated by screens and devices, we must make time to reconnect with nature and keep our bodies active. My kids love being outdoors and being active, but I know if I let them get stuck in front of a screen, they will be reluctant to leave the sofa.

Tech doesn't just have to be a passive, indoor activity for families.

Get Help from a Virtual Assistant

We acquired a new virtual assistant over Christmas (Amazon Alexa) and discovered a brilliant 7 minute workshop skill to get us moving and active as a family. It's particularly useful if the weather is miserable outside and you don't fancy a wet and cold outdoor activity. The kids love it and we all get involved. As it's only 7 minutes, you can do it several times in the day, especially if it's going to be an indoor type of day!

Alexa also works as a brilliant activity tracker in our family. The kids are able to set their own timers when using devices, to remind them to take breaks or swap devices or take turns.

Fly a Drone

My brother came to stay over Christmas and brought with him, his racing drone. It's a cool piece of kit, that encouraged us all to venture out to the park and have a run around. The drone wasn't suitable for my kids to fly, but they loved watching it and running after it. The on board camera, also captured some great moments of us playing together outside.

Take Robots Outside

Tracy's kids have a Sphero Ollie, which is an ideal outdoor robot. If it's hard to tear the kids away from their tech, encourage them to take the tech outdoors. The batteries will soon run out and then you'll be out and about to play, run and enjoy the fresh air!

Outdoor Tech Toys

Last year we did see quite a few new tech products come on the market to encourage kids to get active with tech outdoors. Products like Hackaball, a programmable ball to catch and throw outside, and Technology Will Save Us Mover Kit, a wearable device to programme games and activities, encourage kids to create things with tech specifically to use outdoors.

Track Activity with Wearables

Talking of wearables, there are loads of options here. Fitness trackers, like Fitbit or Garmin, can motivate kids to stay active as they try to reach specific targets and earn badges. There's even a Pokemon Go wearable, and we all know by now, you need to do a lot of outdoor walking to play Pokemon Go!
There is no need that your kids love of tech should stop your family from staying active and having fun outdoors!

Happy New Year and wishing you achieve your goals for this year.

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