Back-to-school supplies.

Crayons, scissors, glue: "traditional" school supplies.

Back-to-school shopping used to be one of my favorite times of the year.  It signals the approach of the dreaded upcoming school season, but it was also fun buying all those supplies (or having my mom buy it for me).  You know the school shopping experience I’m talking about – crayons, tape, scissors, colored pencils, folders, erasers – you get the idea.

Aside from the Elmer’s glue and tape, is stuff all going to stick?  Do you really need that pack of 1,024 crayons with the built-in pencil sharpener?  I’m not asking whether parents should waste their money buying the best school supplies for their children, I’m asking whether those “traditional” supplies are even appropriate anymore.

First of all, in my 5-year elementary school career, I NEVER used the post-it notes, index cards, or 1,012 of the 1,024 crayons my mom bought me.

Second of all, and I’m just throwing this out there, but instead of buying kids a bunch of paper, pencils, crayons and other future landfill garbage, what if we got them tablet computers?

Seriously.  Do children need Elmer’s Glue to build something?  Do they need paper and pencils to learn how to write?  Crayons to color?  Books to read?  Well, as the Apple would respond, “there’s an app for that.”  More specifically, there are hundreds, even thousands.

Here’s an example:

Children learn to read and write with technology.

Return those pencils and pick up an iPad. Pre-K Letters and Numbers can teach your kid to write!

This app is called Pre-K Letters and Numbers.  It’s supposed to teach your kid to write.  It’s not the only one of its kind in the iTunes store, in fact, there are a bunch of ’em.  There are enough apps to teach a small, technologically-equipped army of children to read, write, brush their teeth, speak a new language and do calculus.

Ok, maybe your kid won’t be doing calculus on your iPad.  But they can learn to do math.  Math Bingo is a childrens’ game lets aspring mathematicians work on their addition, subtraction, multiplication and division.

Once they’ve mastered their times tables, give them the Color & Draw For Kids app and keep ’em quite for a couple of hours.  It’s amazing what technology can do, isn’t it?

An iPhone and iPad app to teach children math.

Entertain and educate your kids with Math Bingo

Color & Draw for Kids

Need some quiet time? Give your child Color & Draw for Kids!

It makes sense to me; you waste less paper and get an iPad to play with when you’re kid gets home from school (bet you stop being such a homework stickler)!

At Mizzou, more and more of my class readings and work are online every semester.  I doubt it’ll be long before my textbooks are available on iPad.  It also wouldn’t surprise me if elementary schools move to digital textbooks as well.  Watch out, McGraw Hill.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, tablet-style screens can be harmful to development for children under 2 years of age.  It looks like my kids are getting iPads for their 3rd birthdays instead of crayons.