I have previously discussed this topic on a small scale on my Instagram page Children’s Creativity Corner, however I am going to discuss screen time further within this blog. Screen time is currently the most wanted item within a child’s life. Yes screen time is important for the information and learning that can from it. However, their is also a down scale to a child using technology on a high scale. The child’s interaction and socialisation skills are lower. For example, the child is not interacting with peers or socialising due to screen time. Communication skills are not being used as much either as the child’s interaction is fully with screen time. Areas such as problem – solving skills maybe in the outdoor environment isn’t the same as a child whom has fewer hours of screen time. Screen time for young children is a fun experience and it is used in teenage and adult years but a child also needs other experiences apart from screen time. This is why the child earning screen time is a perfect element to focus a child in other areas also. Screen time is great but in limitation like everything. The child will earn 30 minutes of screen time. For example, tidies their toys, plays outdoors for one hour. This may sound like the child is only doing this because….but while experiencing the outdoors the child may become interested in an area maybe that’s flowers, maybe its water play or maybe it is a tractor ploughing the field beside their house. The child may experience new things and enjoy different areas and activities. Over the course of my research it is proven nature and outdoor play is essential for a young child’s mental health. Below is a list of art, activity areas and earning screen time;
Art and Activities
- Earning a half hour of screen time; make my bed, tidy my toys, 30 minutes of reading, 1 hour outdoor play, help my friends or family member, clean my room, do my homework.
- Puppet making – this may extend into a show with family. Maybe the child along with family, friends will create their own puppets and own puppet show story. This may include the puppet show box area and the various characters within the show.
- Exploring the outdoor environment – nature tick list (looking for various items within a picture list), looking at the changes (e.g. nature – trees, animals hibernating if in winter, weather – snowy, windy, rainy). Maybe the child may want to grow their own plant or vegetable.
- Story time were the parents/guardian or the child reads a story or looks at the pictures. This may lead to a discussion on their favourite part of the story, favourite character, how they thought/think the story would end, what would they do in that situation (e.g. little red riding hood). This may be extended with a story corner with props, making puppets, imaginative thinking, making their own story. This could also include exploring a different story each week.
- helping a family member or friend may include one act of kindness each day. This may include talking about their act of kindness and how someone felt. For example, helping child B to put the art materials away. It made her happy, smile etc.
- Painting or making art project. This may include the child making their own picture frame using recyclable materials. The child take part within the whole process, making, decorating and putting a photograph in. Maybe a child wants to make a dolls house for their doll, or a castle for the knights.
- Cardboard box activities, maybe it’s a tv, maybe it’s a ball target, the list is endless.
- Gluing and sticking activities.
- Pretend play, this may be the child pretending to make dinner within the home or pretending to be a doctor.
- Brushing and sweeping with their own brush and pan.
- Activities packs or bags. This may be filled with different items relating to a particular theme or area. lion, blue stones, tray, rice etc.
- Old gadgets around the house. For example, a phone maybe used within pretend play for the doctors or the restaurant.
- Baking or messy play. This may include making playdough together or rice krispie buns/squares.
- water play – this may include water ball play, shaving foam, funnels, plastic yoghurt pots.
- music. This provides great fun child dancing or playing musical games such as musical statues.
- Matching games/linking games. This may be using materials from around the home that are linked. For example, bowl and spoon, hair brush and hair tie or gel, shoes and socks. It may also be using cards e.g. tiger, dog matching to their picture.
- cycling outdoors with parents, siblings etc.
- Lego play – construction play.
- Puzzles using family pictures or the child’s pet.
- Mud kitchen – pots, pans, mixing spoon, bowls. The child may pretend their making a mud cake using mud, flowers, leaves and grass. This is great for exploring the different elements within the outdoor environment.
“Play is the highest form of research “