Technology and Playtime
Providing children with a variety of toy options is essential to keeping them occupied and interested in learning. For more information on this topic, check out our Power of Play blog.
There are some benefits to incorporating technology into your child’s playtime. These benefits include:
• Building technological know-how. Knowing how to use technology is a handy skill. Especially since technology is present in many aspects of life.
• Providing engaging education. There are a number of ways to have educational, interactive content on screens and tablets.
• Promoting creativity. By using technology children can create 3D shapes and other elements that allow them to think outside of the box.
However, there are also negative effects to consider. By using technology as the primary source of play your child is more likely to:
• Lead an unhealthy lifestyle. Prolonged use of technology often means an extended period of time sitting. This can bring on an inactive-overweight lifestyle. The strain on the eyes can also have long-term negative effects on developing eyes. Pediatric optometrists agree that these effects include eye fatigue, irritated eyes, and near-sightedness.
• Feel isolated. Interactive technology like video games and apps can take the space of interacting with others. Limiting screen time and moving the gaming consoles into the family room or other community space can help.
• Exhibit poor social skills. As we mentioned, technology can easily take up the space of interacting with others. Important skills like communication and socialization can be set aside and become underdeveloped.
Benefits of the Basics
The use of traditional toys provides a number of benefits that technology-based toys don’t deliver. These benefits include:
• Establishing social interactions. Toys like puzzles and blocks provide an environment for parents, siblings, and friends to join in. Creating this social environment lays the groundwork for developing essential life skills like communication and socialization.
• Better reading habits. Experts agree that reading can benefit us all. However, children who read are known to perform better in school, develop empathy, and improve concentration. While technology can be used to read, it can lead to eye strain and other eye problems. Also, texture books are great for infants exploring their sense of touch.
• Healthy lifestyles. Technology toys are often used indoors. Toys like balls, frisbees, and jump ropes must be used outdoors. Not only do children gain the benefits of being physically engaged but they also gain the benefits of spending time outdoors. Spending time outside leads to healthier physical and mental health along with higher confidence and a stronger interest in learning.
Ready to get back to the basics? Here are some tried and true toy recommendations to get started with.
• Building sets. Whether they be basic blocks or a more complicated LEGO set, the building can be highly involved and educational. Children learn about structure, balance, and of course, gravity! It’s a great way to understand how the world can work. Plus, the building options can grow as they do.
• Play-Doh. Like building sets, Play-Doh is a great way to learn how things work. However, it does allow for more out-of-the-box thinking when it comes to playing with it.
• Science kits. These set experiments are educational but also fun and engaging. From mock volcanoes to crystal growing there are all kinds of things to learn.
• Pretend playsets. These playsets are often modeled from real-world examples. Like a pretend kitchen set for instance. These sets can provide an excellent environment for collaborative play and cater to learning social skills.
• Art-based toys. What’s great about art-based toys is that the possibilities and variety of options are vast. And children can continue to grow those skills as they age. Young children may lean towards sidewalk chalk, markers, and crayons. But as they grow older they may enjoy more detailed coloring books and ceramics. Even the adult coloring book market has flourished because of the stress relief and other benefits adults can continue to gain from engaging with art-based activities.