Ohanarama – As grandparents let’s hop aboard this “play” train.

Sharon Couto – Grandmother blogger on momgenerations.com

As grandparents, lets’s hop aboard the technology “play” train with OHANARAMA.

When I was a child in the 50′s, I played with pull toys and chime pull toys (very technologically advanced!), toy soldiers and cowboys (I have 2 brothers) and dolls.

When I was 6 or 7, I got a Chatty Cathy doll for my birthday.  I still remember pulling the little ring cord from the back of her neck and hearing her TALK.  This was almost miraculous to a little girl.

I also remember, one Christmas, my brothers got one of those hockey games where the players move by pulling and pushing the levers attached to the guys.  I thought we landed in the Jetsons!

My own children played with play “sets” with lots of little characters, and these sets had ropes and pulleys and even elevators that made them seem real.  Oh, and then there were the little cameras and radios and toys that clicked and had moveable “real” parts.  Whoa!

As both a child and a Mom, I had lots of board games, puzzles, card games and the like to play with and to use to interact with my kids, but physical presence was absolutely necessary.  My Nana (Massachusetts) and Grandma (Michigan) lived thousands of miles from my family in California and therefore I don’t ever remember playing games with them.  Friends played with friends in person, and parents and grandparents also played with their kids in person, in real life.  That was the model.

As a Grandma, I watch my 9 grandkids (ages 3 – 11) play electronic games and interact with “communities” on this big, wide, vast invention we call Social Networking… things I never, ever imagined, and I am bothtentative and thrilled with the opportunities they have at their fingertips.

But tentative was the operative word until I was introduced to OHANARAMA, where kids can actually play games (including challenging educational games!), send messages and interact with close or far-away friends and family in a safe environment.  I cannot say it better than Parents’ Choice:  “By tapping into the popularity of social networking, but avoiding the pitfalls and dangers for kids, Ohanarama provides a safe and entertaining haven for friends and family to connect across the miles.”

I am very fortunate to live within 15 miles of my 3 families of grandchildren, but even then it’s difficult to get together in person as often as I’d like.  Ohanarama gives us the opportunity to play age-appropriate family games in a much larger, modern, technologically perfected way.  I can only imagine the wonder it brings to grandparents, aunts & uncles, cousins and friends who live far away.  I can only imagine what my Nana and Grandma would say if they could see me now!

Ohanarama has been described as a safe, secure “Facebook for Families”… inviting only the people you want. I like that, and so do parents, teachers, parent organizations and professional review sites everywhere.  But most important, I LIKE it.  I am a real Grandma with real grandkids for whom technology has given us great gifts, and Ohanarama is one such gift!

Ohanarama’s awesome (oh, I love this word) video chat even allows kids to play and to see each other and us older folks in real time.  It’s the new version of in person.

Family.  Friends. Sharing.  Fun.  And as a retired English/Reading teacher, even sneak in all the educational components to the Ohanarama games.  (Did I mention that content conforms to the National Council of Teachers of both Mathematics & English Standards?)  I LIKE it. Actually, I LOVE it!

I’ll leave you with this thought.  Jane HofferOhanarama Co-Founder, CEO and mother of three writes about the enjoyment and fun that comes from the Ohanarama virtual play dates.  Can you just imagine explaining this virtual concept to anyone 60 years ago… 30 years ago… even 10 years ago!?  Well, now I know that the technology is here, and I’m on this technology train with my grandkids and loving every minute of it!

About Sharon Couto:  You can enjoy more of Sharon’s blogs on momgenerations.com.  Sharon taught high school English/Reading for 30 years, and now celebrates each day writing, biking, swimming, running and enjoying her family. Mom experience? How about 4 children and 9 grandchildren. On Sharon’s 57th birthday (10/6/09), she embarked on a project she calls “57 in 52″… trying 57 out-of-the-box or unique experiences in one year. In her 58th year, she ran her first marathon. This year, at 59, she’s working on her first rap song.

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