January 21, 2011

7 Jason Kottke Parenting Tips You Can Use Right Now

Wow, a couple of days of single parenting is apparently all it took to unleash Jason Kottke's inner uber-dadblogger. He's been en fuego recently with the highly useful tips. [Apologies to my ad guy for not turning this post into a 10-page slideshow]:

7) The kid loves baking anyway, but the How Croissants Are Made video now the kid wanting to go to France. Her French teacher is from Paris, and I must say, the kid has an insanely good accent: khwa-sanh.

6) Last week he sent me a link to Best Bathroom
, an iPhone app with a [supposedly constantly updated] directory of the best bathrooms in New York City, as designated by their team of city bathroom walkers. The app does not yet appear to track changing table data. Personally, we're in neo-post-toilet training mode, so our priority is proximity.

5) An even more essential-sounding app is Precorder, which continually caches and dumps several seconds of video and saves the few seconds before you hit record, so you won't miss whatever precious moment you're trying to shoot. Oddly enough, the inspiration for the app, a Planet Earth shark attack making of video, is one of our kids' favorites.

4) So it's unsurprising she was transfixed by the trailer for Human Planet.

3) Tiger Mom is laughing to my face, I know, but one of the biggest failings I feel as a parent is not exposing the kid to enough good video games. As it stands, we have to ration her 15-minute laptop sessions on nickjr.com's crappy, no-losing! Flash games with mind-numbing encouragement from characters I hate. So I wonder if World of Goo on the iPad is the way to go?

2) The writeup for Doug Block's new documentary The Kids Grow Up sounds awesome and depressing.

1) And the number one Jason Kottke Dadblogging Post of The Week is: Cameras for Kids. He has a detailed writeup about giving their 3.5yo son Ollie an older, grownup digital camera instead of buying some crappy, dumbed down "kids camera."

I couldn't agree more. A few Christmases ago, my dad wanted to buy the kid a camera, and we were hesitant, but she took right to it and takes great care of it. And it's fascinating to see a little bit how she sees the world. Jason's gone the extra step and set the camera to auto-upload to flickr.

Maybe it's time to organize a kid photography group exhibition.


Wow, I wrote to him this morning about the Cameras for Kids piece. I've been singularly unimpressed with kid's cameras, and wondering if I should give a cheap regular camera a shot.

Nice that you highlighted this, but is giving a kid a "real" camera really that amazing? My 3yo has been using our old Canon s70 for a year now, and it's been fun watching her go from taking extreme, full-flash macro shots of the wall to composed shots (i.e. pictures from a reasonable distance where everything is in focus and one's entire head is visible). I'm impressed that she can get into and out of the picture review mode and that she keeps her fingers out of the way of the flash too. Want your kid to shoot with a real camera? How about picking up a used one on craigs/ebay/etc.? For $$ less than those F-P cameras, you can have something worth playing with.

Amazing? probably not. And it is definitely turning out to be more common than I'd have thought.

Plants v. Zombies on the iPad would be the way to go for your first time gamers.

It has lots of amusing content and zombies are slow. It ramps up gently, just right for kids figuring out how to handle new challenges.

Watch out, though, it's turned a lot of kids in our neighborhood into Plants v. Zombies zombies.

I can't count the number of times when my kid randomly started playing "zombie" with some new kid at the playground that their parents turned to me and said, "Oh, do you have an iPad?"

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