Antidote to Screens

Guest Authored By Salena S, BS, RBT

We grew up with games and toys like Lincoln Logs, Hot Wheels, Barbie Dolls, and Chutes and Ladders. When we were children, we loved playing with these toys and were oblivious to the fact we were learning important skills while playing. As we know, children love screens. We didn’t have access to screens when we were children like children have today. Screens are everywhere and it is difficult to escape them. With present day technology being at its bestthe American Academy of Pediatrics urges play as a prescription, or antidote, to screen time. Their advice: limit screen time, make time for unstructured play, and choose toys that inspire imagination.  

We’ve built a guide of go-to, educational toys that children gravitate toward:

1. The Melissa and Doug Learn to Play Piano: 

Purpose and Benefits: Teaches fine motor coordination skills, sound discrimination, core stability, listening, concentration, self-regulation, and memory.

2. Magna-Tiles

Purpose and Benefits: Encourages creative thinking, color, shape, & symmetry discrimination, mathematics, social play, and fine motor skills.

3. Fisher-Price Laugh & Learn Smart Stages Piggy Bank

Purpose and Benefits: Grows and develops language in English and Spanish through numbers and songs. Features different levels to help progress learner in skills.  Uses action words and phrases such as ‘open’. Fine motor skills, color discrimination, counting, and animal recognition is also a plus!

4. Feed The Woozle

Purpose and Benefits: This Game utilizes fine & gross motor skills, body awareness, reading and word recognition, counting, turn taking, and multiple step directions.

Bonus! Cooperative game play!

5. The Learning Journey: Space Match

Purpose and Benefits: Social play, turn taking, shape & color discrimination, matching, and memory are all focuses of this game.

Bonus! The Learning Journey: My First Grab It comes in many different versions that all teach different learning aspects. Check out The Learning Journey for puzzles, numeracy, matching, and imaginative building.

The list of toys that grab attention and make learning fun is endless. Other toys to make the list:

  • Kinetic Sand
  • Play Doh with molds
  • Train and Tracks sets
  • Marble Run
  • Hoot Owl Hoot
  • Zingo
  • Catch the Fox

These games and toys help children to continue to put building blocks of various skills upon their already existing foundation. Giving a child the opportunity to play is one of the best gifts that can be given. It is crucial that we share the joy of social interaction with children and connect with each other through play.