Talk with your child about what technology is and how we use it, broadening the definition to go beyond things with screens. Using your collaboration, communication, and decision-making skills, take your child on a scavenger hunt around your house to find technology you use all the time!
- Pen and paper (optional)
- Camera phone (optional)
- Ask children, what do you think the word technology means? If they immediately jump to items with screens, guide them to think about objects (eyeglasses, post-its, pencils, wheels, refrigerators) or processes (the building of the great pyramids in Egypt, plumbing systems, barcodes on items in the grocery store) that have solved problems or made the lives of humans easier. This will help expand their idea of what technology is.
- Tell your child that you are going to go on a scavenger hunt to look for different kinds of technology around the house or classroom.
- Pick one or more of the following scavenger hunt prompts. Optionally, use pen and paper to make a list of all the things you find or a camera phone to take a picture of each thing you find. Let your child just choose things they think are examples of technology first, without questioning the items they pick.
Prompts to choose from:
- Can you find objects around our house that didn’t exist 10 years ago? (smart phone, tablet, smart watch, etc.)
- Can you find objects around our house that didn’t exist 50 years ago? (computer, dishwasher, etc.)
- Can you find things around our house that didn’t exist 100 years ago? (car, toilet, etc.)
- Can you think of any processes we use in our house that are examples of technology? (indoor plumbing, Wifi, getting mail delivered to the house, etc.)
- Can you find things around our house that have helped people solve problems for many, many years? (baskets, bowls, pitchers, rope, etc.)
Try these add-on activities:
- Look at all the objects you collected and see if you can make a timeline of when they were invented. Can you imagine living in a time when these technologies weren’t available?
- What technologies are no longer part of our lives (e.g. VHS tapes)? Make predictions: What are some things we use today that you think we won’t use in the future? What new technologies will be created in your lifetime?
- Interview your grandparents: What is a new technology created in their lifetime? What kinds of technology did you use that we don’t?
- Explore connections between the evolution of one kind of technology (e.g. older phones to smartphones). What about the phone makes it a phone?
- Bring in cassette tapes, CDs, etc. and ask children how they think they work.