Pretend Play vs. Screen Time
Here at Playtime by Eimmie, imagination and adventure are our top priorities. Pretend-play, as we like to call it, empowers children to develop and grow, so we do everything we can to encourage it. Pretend-play can come in any shape or form; from playing classroom with dolls or being pirates in the backyard, the opportunities truly are endless.
However, as parents ourselves, we understand that sometimes phones, tablets, and computers provide kids with things to do, and most of the time, require no checking-in.
Working from home, I always have to keep an eye on my little one. When he's outside playing, I need to be close-by. Even when I hear him playing upstairs, I often find myself peeking in the room to make sure he's not getting into anything he shouldn't. While I try to encourage him to play pretend as often as possible, when I am working (or at least trying to!), it's easier to just put something on the screen to keep him busy.
- Kids spend less time outside than prisoners. That's kind of scary when it's put into that perspective. That means less than an hour outside. Don't get me wrong -- playtime is just as fun inside, but it's definitely something to think about.
- Screen time leads to early social media use, resulting in 4 out of 5 kids joining a network by age 12.
- When not limited, screen time can lead to problems such as obesity, poor sleep, and gaming addictions. That goes for adults too!
Sure, screen time doesn't always give the developmental growth the way pretend-play does but, I'll be the first to admit, sometimes it is just easier (see above).
So, in a world where screen time gives us parents a well-deserved break, how can we make the most of it?
Making Screen Time Count
There are so many ways that we can turn screen time into something beneficial. From limiting how much time our little ones spend in front of their screen, to using games and electronics as a reward, we can turn something deemed "not great" and turn it into something pretty great.
Better yet, we can choose the apps and games our kids use; ones that have all the benefits of pretend-play and more.
Apps That Are Great For Children
Here are several of the best apps for children; ones that you will definitely feel good about.
Fish School – 123 ABC for Kids. Fish School has all of the learning basics in one spot -- under the sea! This one is especially great for young kiddos who are starting their education journey, as it teaches shapes, colors, numbers, and letters.
Here's a note from the makers: A playful underwater experience with 8 educational activities, this award-winning app teaches letters, numbers, shapes, colors and more. Watch colorful fish create letters; Recognize numbers and learn to count from 1 to 20; Follow the fish as they form shapes; Touch, tap and drag to make fish and other colorful sea life do funny things; Listen to classical variations of the ABC Song.
Yoga For Kids. According to Slumber Yard, yoga apps have been shown to have a significant impact on a child’s physician and mental health, particularly for children ages six to twelve. Pretty cool, right? Mixing screen time with exercise and mindfulness is a win-win in my book.
Here's a note from the makers of the app: Kids Yoga Training app provides a safe environment for kids to learn popular fitness routines, builds confidence, and can be done anytime—, day or night, rain or shine. Healthy, physically active kids also are more likely to be academically motivated, alert, and successful. And physical competence builds self-esteem at every age.
To check out even more mindfulness apps for children, click here.
Quick Math+. Who says math can't be fun? Not us! This app turns the subject into a race, making the learning experience fun and exciting for kids.
Here's a note from the makers: With a focus on self-improvement, Quick Math+ encourages the development of mental arithmetic skills as players race the clock to improve their score and earn stars to unlock exciting new avatars.
Duolingo. This one is even fun for adults, too! It's a fun and easy way to learn -- or at least get comfortable with -- a new language. I especially love this one because it can give kids a head-start on what they'll most likely be learning in school eventually anyway. What a great way to make sure they're on the road to success!
Here's a note from the makers: Learn a new language free with the world’s most-downloaded education app! Duolingo is the fun, free app for learning 35+ languages through quick, bite-sized lessons. Practice speaking, reading, listening, and writing to build your vocabulary and grammar skills.
Endless Alphabet. This game is as fun as it is educational, and the reviews are outstanding.
Here's a note from the makers: Learning the ABCs is child's play with this entertaining and educational app. Adorable artwork, colorful creatures, and smooth voice and sound effects enhance an already engaging hands-on experience that makes spelling each and every word an interactive puzzle.
TABI Learning. TABI takes STEM, social studies, and reading and makes them fun. The app is aligned with the best curriculums and is customization for the user, resulting in a better learning experience.
Here's a note from the makers: TABI Learning is a cutting-edge app that empowers your kid's education. TABI is designed for kids from ages 8 to 12 years old and has been developed to be a well-rounded digital learning tool for primary school.
For even more fun apps for kids, click here.
What apps will you be downloading?