I noticed something today while spending time with my nephew and niece (ages 10 and 8). Our day goes smoother without electronics. Trust me, I love me some iPhone and Chromecast and all kinds of technology. I think technology is awesome and fun. But I think something has to be said for the case of playing vs. the iPad mini.
My nephew and niece were having a fabulous rainy day. We live in St. Louis and are in the middle of a summer rain streak here. We had found some activities inside to keep us busy. My niece opened up her new paint mixing set. Her and my nephew created different colors and thought up creative names for their new paints. Some of the names include "hot tamale" and "bright sunshine". There was a small dispute over who would name which colors, but all in all they were having fun.
Then I did it. I found the iPad charger. My nephew plugged in and started playing online games, leaving his sister in the dust with her dead iPad. A small argument began. It started with arguing over who would get the charger, then about my nephew not playing with my niece. The two of them were bickering back and forth until finally I told my nephew that we needed to take a break from the iPad. I told him the break just had to be 10 minutes to let it charge. Luckily, he soon forgot about the iPad and got caught up in planning the show with his sister again.
Just for everyone's information, the show was fabulously creative. It began with formal wear and a slow dance to "Beauty and the Beast", including my 10 month old daughter. The middle number was "Baby Baluga" which featured my nephew swinging my daughter in his arms while she smiled and laughed. There was a costume change for the finale, from formal wear to bath robes and slippers, and the kids free-styled some hip hop to "I Got A Feeling". They performed for my sister the second she got home from work. They were so excited to show her what they created.
Without knowing anything that had happened earlier in the day, my sister says to me, "you know, I think they actually play better without their iPads". I laughed because she completely read my mind.
I think from now on we will be using the iPad Mini as a last resort. When we have exhausted all other options of play, maybe we will plug in for a little while. But playing wins. Playing definitely wins.