Three Fun Ways to Get Children Back to Screen-Free Play
by Janene Russell View Bio
Janene Russell is an elementary teacher turned toy inventing super-mom dedicated to early childhood development. As a lead product manager at Educational Insights, she brings over 15 years of experience and a unique educator’s perspective that melds creativity, laugh-out-loud fun and hands-on learning through toys and games. As a passionate advocate for kids of all abilities and needs, Janene is devoted to creating innovative new ways kids can learn, grow, and celebrate their own unique selves. Janene’s inspiration is often sparked by the wonders of playtime with her two young children, because after all, play is the work of the child and parent!
From classroom to home - make sure you have the tools you need to keep your kids building new skills and having fun along the way.
Whether your kids are away from school because of holiday breaks, summer vacation or other extended school closures, it’s important to look for ways to keep your kids occupied throughout the day.
Designed to promote learning through play, Educational Insights offers resources for subjects including Math, Language, Social Studies and more. Download and print a variety of free worksheets, craft ideas, DIY projects and educational games to help you engage your children’s brains, boost motor skills, and develop their creativity.
Children have spent significantly more time engaging in virtual activities over the last couple of years. For a long period of time, learning moved from classrooms into living rooms, playdates were video calls, and parents reported relaxing normal rules around routines and online activities to keep children busy and entertained during the lockdowns.
The lasting effects of the global pandemic has continued to impact the amount of time children are spending on their screens. Remote and hybrid learning has reduced the face-to-face interaction and the physical play time that young children need.
Children learn best by doing and because family and school life was upended during the pandemic, children have missed out on the usual experiential learning and play they would normally have engaged in.
Play is how children learn, and as children return to a level of normality, it is important to prioritize hands-on play-filled experiences to help children learn and develop.
Hands-on play and exploration allow children to deepen their natural curiosity by experiencing something rather than just being told about it. Children make meaningful connections to real world concepts when they are engaging all their senses, and this builds critical thinking, problem solving, and activates left and right brain development. Play is a universal tool that can stimulate the mind and body, helping kids and adults get out of their daily zone and connect with each other.
Here are three fun ways to get children back to screen-free play:
Set aside special time during the day for open-ended play, family board games, construction, or physical play. All these playful activities boost positive energy, help alleviate stress, build resiliency, and bring the joy we all need and deserve.
Remember boredom can promote great things. It gives children the opportunity to come up with their own creative ways to keep busy by engaging in free play. Engaging in free play also helps decrease anxiety and stress.
Educational toys prompt discovery and exploration and are a great way to engage children in play with a purpose. STEM toys encourage kids to discover and explore real-world concepts while engaging in playful experiences that bring science, technology, engineering, and math concepts to life. When a child combines their creativity with analytical thinking through play, they build self-confidence and a growth mindset.