How do you reduce screen time for kids without depriving them of their happiness? The secret is to find alternatives that are just as engaging as mobile games and videos. Our psychologists suggest that quality toys are the answer, being a fantastic substitute to engage children without the need of screens.
We’ve taken the time to check in with educational psychologist, Dr Kathy Bekavac from Scope Psychology Services Australia (one of the psychologists who selects the toys available on our store), to lend her expertise in how to reduce screen time for kids. We asked Dr Kathy’s professional opinion about which of our educational toys are the healthiest alternatives to screen time and provide the same level of engagement and fun that any screen game/video can.
Dr Kathy suggests that the most important cognitive abilities that should be challenged with screen-free toys are found in puzzle and problem-solving games. An an example, jigsaw puzzles, labyrinths and mazes demand:
- Visual perception – recognising patterns and the direction of lines
- Spatial awareness and mental rotation – using visual and motor information together to rotate patterns
- Cognitive flexibility – switching attention between different types of information and strategies
- Perceptual reasoning – using different types of information to develop strategies and plans
- Working and episodic memory – keeping the connections about layout and patterns in working and long-term memory.
500pc Glow in Dark Puzzle | Jungle
Project Genius Minotaur’s Labyrinth Puzzle
Djeco Cinderella Puzzle
These toys challenge the exact same skills that might be engaged in a mobile game, and in most cases more effectively, all while giving children’s eyes a much needed break away from screens. Overexposure to screens in children can lead to developing harmful eye conditions such as myopia – read more about myopia and screen time here.
The cognitive skills challenged above contribute to increasing the brain reserve and helps with health and regulating feelings of stress (Gelfo et al., 2018). Like puzzles, games also serve as a great way to learn something new while stimulating and engaging a developing brain. These games, carefully selected by Dr Kathy are fun, accessible and work to keep young minds sharp.
The WeDo Game | Family Edition
A Penny For Your Thoughts (The Game)