With kids having an increasingly close relationship with technology, it’s important to keep the playtime balance right. “Just as we need to eat a range of foods to be healthy, so we need a range of different types of play,” explains Dr Kate Highfield, from the Institute of Early Childhood at Macquarie University.
This balance can be achieved with “a range of activities including outdoor play, creative and dramatic play, and activities that can help develop motor skills,” she says, and keeping in mind that screen time for kids between two and five years is best kept to less than one hour a day. Make that technology time count with these tips on tablet use from Dr Highfield.
- Co-play with your child when you can, enjoying the experience together and talking about what he’s doing to build language skills and engage beyond the screen.
- Play educational games suited to your child’s age (so they’re not too hard or too easy), as well as creative, open-ended activities such as drawing. One of our favourites for this is invention-based app Creatorverse, free from Google Play.
- Don’t forget your tablet can also be a digital library and loading it with kids’ books can be a cost-effective way to expand your bookshelf. You can even use apps to make your own books.
- Tablets that have a stylus can be helpful for kids who are learning to write, so look out for apps focused on letter formation and writing.