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15 Tech Tricks to Teach a 5-Year-Old

15 Tech Tricks to Teach a 5-Year-Old
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Tasks a Kindergartner Can Learn

What can five-year-olds do these days?  Surprisingly, quite a bit (especially if they are given cutting-edge tools and some time to master them.)  With a few kids in the house under age six, I’ve been impressed with the number of tech-savvy tasks they’ve been able to accomplish. The five-year-olds, especially, seem to have an enthusiasm for learning new things and trying out anything without fear of failure (or breaking the hardware). We observed our kindergartner to see what types of activities in which he was most inclined to take an interest, gave some gentle guidance, and watched him create, learn, and explore. Here is our list of 15 surprising tech tasks nearly any five-year-old can accomplish (even if they aren’t able to read yet).

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  • -4 Hide
    sparau , May 25, 2010 1:54 AM
    my (now 6 but then 5) takes down even level elites in warcraft... (it is a lock tho, so pet class helps to keep aggro)
  • -1 Hide
    welshmousepk , May 25, 2010 7:43 AM
    I would be wary of introducing a child to such tasks at that age, for fear of them becoming too dependent on PCs.
  • 1 Hide
    donaldduck , May 25, 2010 8:46 AM
    "Clean a workstation"?!? Asking a children to clean a geek's keyboard is nothing short of slavery!!! :p 

    Just kidding, I actually like this kind of articles, it's nice to see a list of simple ways to help kids familiarize with computers :) 
  • -5 Hide
    madass , May 25, 2010 10:06 AM
    At 5 I could take apart and put together an entire machine......exactly what I did after my dad toook it apart after flunking maths.....
  • 0 Hide
    amdfangirl , May 25, 2010 1:41 PM
    At 5 I was using a Macinstosh. Gee, good times... AppleDraw was it? Can't remember, all I do was that it kept crashing. I loved my radioactive Apple II...
  • 1 Hide
    killerclick , May 25, 2010 3:03 PM
    At 5 I was typing games into a ZX Spectrum from a programming book. I knew almost nothing about programming but I just copied the characters and somehow they turned into a very simple game (six pages of BASIC). People think I'm making this up (okay, maybe I was 6 and not 5, I'm not sure) but I think kids are a lot smarter about technical things than people realize. It's just that playing and running around are a lot more fun and most kids prefer that to tinkering with computers at that age.
  • 0 Hide
    Stickywulf , May 25, 2010 7:46 PM
    Fantastic article and some great ideas I would have never thought of.
    Thanks a ton.
  • 0 Hide
    Trueno07 , May 25, 2010 8:15 PM
    I think the best thing, and even i enjoy this, is when my mother will get on skype with my aunt, uncle and little cousins a few hundred miles away and talk to my littlest cousin.

    It's so cool to be able to see and talk to them live over the internet, and the littlest one gets a big kick out of it.
  • 1 Hide
    NapoleonDK , May 25, 2010 11:20 PM
    When I was 5 years old I was playing with a typing tutor program on what I now know to be an Intel 486DX 100Mhz with Win 3.11 on it. Radiation from the CRT is probably why I hang out here at Tom's! JK guys, no ban hammer PLZ!
  • 0 Hide
    uthacalthing , May 26, 2010 5:29 AM
    My little girl turns 3 in August. In the morning, she runs into the bedroom, grabs my iPhone from the bedside table, climbs up next to me, and starts to play.

    She unlocks it, turns the volume down so she doesn't wake up Mummy, scrolls through the homescreens, and picks out apps to play. Her favourites are Peggle, Rat On The Run, Numbers (number learning game for kids), Waterslide, Touch4 (A Connect-4 clone), as well as looking at pics and vids of herself in the Camera Roll.

    After a short learning curve (about a week), she now does all of this without any assistance from me, and I'm still amazed by this. It says a lot of Apple's design team, who've really hit the nail on the head as far as ease of use goes...

    When I install a new game for her to play, she points to the "loading" icon, and says "wait for the little blue line to go all the way across". Yep, she's not even three yet, and knows what a progress bar is for!

    Like one of the comments above, I was keying BASIC programs from magazines into my Vic-20 at age 7. When I look at my daughter operating an iPhone, I wonder what kind of mad skillz she and her peers will have by the time their my age...
  • 2 Hide
    baronofcheese , May 26, 2010 11:53 AM
    That takes me way back, I remember how often I nearly ruined my dad's computer by screwing around with it.
  • 2 Hide
    COLGeek , May 26, 2010 3:33 PM
    For me at that age, my mother used to talk about the day she came home and found that I had disassembled our television (tube type). She said the scary part was actually when I put it back together and it worked better afterwards. When my daughter was 5 she was reading multi-chapter books and learning the basics of algebra. We made learning a game and she excelled (currently a college sophomore). The real lesson is that kids learn when parents are involved and share in the experience. Whether tech skills or working on a farm, it is all about making the experience pleasurable and something the kid wants to do. Now....go teach your kids something new! HOOAH!!!
  • 1 Hide
    baronofcheese , May 26, 2010 5:41 PM
    @COLGeek, your lucky you didn't electrocuted in the process o.O
  • 0 Hide
    Maxor127 , May 27, 2010 1:45 PM
    LOAD"*",8,1
  • 0 Hide
    brendano257 , May 28, 2010 3:42 PM
    uthacalthingMy little girl turns 3 in August. In the morning, she runs into the bedroom, grabs my iPhone from the bedside table, climbs up next to me, and starts to play.She unlocks it, turns the volume down so she doesn't wake up Mummy, scrolls through the homescreens, and picks out apps to play. Her favourites are Peggle, Rat On The Run, Numbers (number learning game for kids), Waterslide, Touch4 (A Connect-4 clone), as well as looking at pics and vids of herself in the Camera Roll.After a short learning curve (about a week), she now does all of this without any assistance from me, and I'm still amazed by this. It says a lot of Apple's design team, who've really hit the nail on the head as far as ease of use goes...When I install a new game for her to play, she points to the "loading" icon, and says "wait for the little blue line to go all the way across". Yep, she's not even three yet, and knows what a progress bar is for!Like one of the comments above, I was keying BASIC programs from magazines into my Vic-20 at age 7. When I look at my daughter operating an iPhone, I wonder what kind of mad skillz she and her peers will have by the time their my age...


    Although impressive for a 3 year old (or nearly that) I think similar things can be seen in smaller animals such as mice. Its merely the beginnings of observation and reaction. A mouse hits a button on accident and sees food fall down. So it keeps hitting it to check if it's coincidence. Enough of these "coincidences" and the child..or mouse in this case has determined that that button or bar does.

    I think the current generation of parents sees tech as this education-required activity, when most of it just takes a little tinkering and observation. Many of these same observations and established "rules" in a childs mind are developed outside of tech, but when applied to tech they become a source of fascination for the parent.

    At the age of six I was discovering the basics of Algebra (Solving for x in simple equations and such) just by looking at problems and thinking about what they meant and how it applied to different situations. And 10 years later, I do most Algebra in my head without any thought about the "rules" of Algebra, I just know what I'm doing.

    Most people who excel at one thing or another are that way because of early education. I had a good vocabulary all through middle school because my parents never dumbed stuff down for me, they treated me like an adult and even at the age of 12 people who talked with me in games and such over chat believed I was in my 20's. The more you're treated like an adult the more you begin to act like one, and develope the clearer thought procesees that signify adulthood.
  • 0 Hide
    gabrieldiego , May 30, 2010 6:59 PM
    Create a business card? Design a party? Come on, there are many things much more useful to teach to children. Why not include a create a basic program with Visual Studio Express (it's free!) or create a webpage? I have to admit that I created my first one when I was 11 only, but I got my first computer at that age, surely anyone could do it at 5.
  • -1 Hide
    JohnnyLucky , May 31, 2010 5:47 PM
    I thought kids cleaning the pc was pretty cool. Don't know how well they would clean it though.
  • 1 Hide
    tokenz , June 8, 2010 5:42 PM
    What is with all the spam here lately.
  • 0 Hide
    liquidchild , June 12, 2010 9:04 AM
    These ideas are great, but I think I'd have a problem teaching him to spread sheet all his toys. We had to give him a toy room cuz every time he played in his room for a while the floor would be covered in transformers and t-rex bones...i don't think a 4 year old can grasp having more toys then a room can fit.
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