03 January 2006

Flickr as kid entertainment

Jim has generously shared a brilliant and uber-geeky parent hack: entertain the kid by clicking Flickr photo tags! Who's gonna complain when presented with random photos of dump trucks, or elephants, or volcanoes, or whatever the latest toddler obsession happens to be? Great learning tool, too.

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This tip worked out really for the holiday season as well since our son would wake up in the morning shouting "snowmen!" from his crib. So we'd simply fire up flickr tag:snowman and let the slideshow roll. Huge hit.

One thing that would really kick this hint up a notch though would be to be able to know that pics are "kid friendly" or something like that. Since "firetruck" can yield the occaisional accident-scene photo you have to really keep on eye on what photos flickr is displaying. Short of tagging photos as "kid_friendly" or something like that, I'm not sure what the best solution is here. However, if anyone would care to pursue solving this with me, I think it would be enormously valuable.

I've used this before - it's great! I like the idea of kid friendly tags too...

I've also used this - however, beware - there is a lot of stuff on Flickr that would be bad for kids to see and some Filckerites 'tagjack' (hijack tags) to get more hits.

- Rich

iTunes vizualizer is a hot item at my house.

I've used this technique to great effect. Try going through the list of animals (cats, dogs, pigs, etc.) but as others have noted be ready for some surprises...

My 3.5 year old daughter now asks to see "the Hello Kitty Pictures" just about every time I open my laptop at home. As the other folks have commented- it's surprising what people will post with seemingly benign tags....

This works really well. My son has his own tag on my Flickr account, and asking him if he wants to see his pictures on the computer almost always distracts from an impending meltdown or a course of behavior likely to end in a time-out. In fact, he actually asks to see them from time to time. I think the slideshow in reverse chronological order sort of fascinates him.

I use Google Image search all the time for visual reference with sketching - it's got safe settings. Great idea for kids, I never thought of that!

We used Google Image search for the same purpose. The "safe search" feature sure saved us some accidents (we discovered this one time when we used the wrong computer to search for dogs...).

If you like Flicker, you would love Youtube ( www.youtube.com ). They work in the exact same way but with video. My son loves helicopters and kitty cats, especially a video called 'kitty dance'.

This is a fantastic tool, but as others have mentioned, ya never know what you will get with seemingly benign tags... I guess I should have seen "caboose" (Max is a train fan) coming... :)

-Brian

I've also used Google Images for the same purpose. "Frogs" was a particular favorite.

My 21 month old daughter Abby absolutely loves this. Once she see the Flickr tags page, she starts shouting for the pictures she wants to see --"kitty!" "baby!" "dog!"

"Train" as a tag is not as fun as "Locomotive;" and "ThomastheTankEngine" unfortunately has a lot of shots of families visiting Thomas' Day Out and posing with nary a train in sight. Still, my kids enjoy the wait because they can scream "Thomas!" when he does appear.

"Zoo" is a good slideshow, a pot luck of animals there.

I've setup a separate login for my 3 1/2 year old guy. It's amazing to watch him click on his icon, log in, and then choose between flickr tags setup for trains, planes or castles.
He's learned how to move the mouse to skip the pages & pause the slide show. I absolutely adore the shouts of excitement when he sees a train that he likes.

I used it with names of animal : cats, dogs, and so on... wild animals. I really works well !

Here's a way to improve the kid-friendliness of slideshows: (not 100% effective, but better than a keyword ("tag") selection)--

Use Flickr's Groups tool:
http://www.flickr.com/groups
and then search for an appropriate pool of photos. Users have self-selected to share their photos of a subject, so there's less likelihood of an inappropriately tagged photo showing up.

Good search queries here include:
-zoo
-aquarium
-trains
-hello kitty
-farm
-pig
-dogs
-cats
-construction

On average, these pool slideshows will be shorter than a slideshow based on a user tag, but that's the tradeoff for better relevance.

I love this idea but am also concerned about the occasional surprise. To avoid this we avoid flickr altogether. Instead I set my screensaver to run through our "my pictures" folder. The kids love seeing themselves and identifying family members.

I can always entertain my daughter by clicking on my "Claudia" set and showing her pictures of herself.

Seriously, this will entertain her for an hour.

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