Our family went to a local tourist attraction the other week. To visit ‘that’ rabbit whose name is Peter… a small and quite nice attraction with nicely detailed displays of the favourite characters, not to mention an evil gift shop (evil if you have small kids that is). We’ve read some of the books to our little ones but they’ve also seen the newer Cbeebies TV show so they new what was going on. My wife and I had problems holding them back, being a small attraction there was a real danger of racing through everything in under 15 minutes and missing some of the details and cute mice.
Then we got to the interactive room and they stopped racing, in the centre of the room was a table…. an interactive ‘touch screen’ table. The kind daddy dreams he could play with at home. Both of them (3 and 5 years old) almost immediately set about using it. The touchscreen had two elements a map where you could bring up streetview style views, and a section of puzzles and colouring-in pictures. Within less than a minute both of them had ‘got it’. I had to drag them off this interactive wonder to let other kids have a go. I noticed a similar pattern emerged in this room, children would enter the room see the table and immediately start playing with it, the adults glanced at the table and went to read some of the static displays round the edge of the room. Some adults would come to the table and touch a few things but pretty quickly move away and look at other things.
This got me thinking, are the adults avoiding the table because they don’t know what to do with it, or do they not want the rest of the adults to think ‘they’re just playing’?