My son’s back in Russia with his mom visiting the family. I figured I had to find a way to engage him in meaningful discussions online to maintain his English. He’s now 5 and needs more fun things to stick around on skype for more than 5-10 minutes. Here’s what has worked so far quite successfully:
- Online multiplayer games: http://worldofcars.go.com. He’s excited about this one so far. “Cars” is his favorite animated movie, and he loves wondering around the Radiator Springs neighborhood. It’s free for basic features and we get to talk a lot over skype while we do different things together. This is totally kid-friendly and safe.
- Casual multiplayer games: http://www.novelgames.com. I like this website. Games are visually appealing (flash-based) and fast to load and play. We’ve tried some games that we’d played before but not on the computer: chess and ship battle. He liked them a lot, but being so young he didn’t like the idea of losing, so I had to give him a break. The website is mostly safe, but sometimes ads with somewhat violent or sexual content show up, which the user than can easily report. Obviously, they are making effort to make it safe for kids.
- Another neat place where we hang out and interact in English is google docs – the Drawing document. We draw objects together and have a lot of fun talking about them in the process.
- He also likes reading a story that he likes as I show the pictures through the camcorder although this is a little challenging for me because I have to point the pages to the in-built camera and twist around it to be able to read at the same time. I might need to find the stories that he likes online so I can share the screen and read without straining my neck.