Why I wish I’d had the internet as a kid

When I was a child, I loved going to the library. The bookstore was my favorite — all those brand-new books, organized by genre, just waiting to come home and carry me away on new adventures — but the library was far more vast. It wasn’t just fiction; there were books on all topics. My favorites were the how-to books. Projects and patterns. Origami. Science experiments. Recipes. I ate it up. My local bookstore likely had some of these sorts of books, too, but nothing like the selection the library had.

But I lived in a very small town — neither the library nor my local bookstore held a candle to what is now available on the internet. Which is why it frustrates me so that my daughter spends most of her internetting watching adults open and play with kids’ toys.

Still, I don’t restrict screen time, and other than the parental controls (oh, okay, and the occasional nerve-grating video) don’t ban her from watching anything because I don’t want her to get secretive about her viewing. I feel that the way to protect her from the darker side of the internet later on is to create a level of trust now. Also, I believe that kids learn best when you step back and let them. So I do.

And day by day, I am seeing evidence that she is at least occasionally using her tablet to learn. Like this.

She calls this Strawberry Swirl.

She watched a video on repurposing eos balm containers, and then took it upon herself to create new balms by mixing up chunks of her (quite impressive, really) lip balm collection. We are addicted to eos balms around here, so she had quite a few containers to fill. And fill them she has. Considering the fact that a) she is four, and b) she’s never done anything like this before, I think she did a really good job. (I am studiously avoiding the mess in her “lab,” and trying not to think about the dress she ruined making her new balms. Focus on the pride, Mommy.)

A while back, I pinned a recipe for making lip balm that uses these eos containers. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’ve been meaning to. Now I know who to go to for pointers.

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