How to Minimize Screens and Promote Playtime

How to Minimize Screens and Promote Playtime

With the highest regard, this is a sponsored post with Melissa and Doug.

All opinions are my own and I am thrilled to collaborate with their team on a conversation around The Power of Play. You can read all about Melissa and Doug’s mission here.

We all seem to want it.

We want our children to spend less time on tablets, and more time playing.

But there are some struggles that come along for the ride.

How will I transition away from so much screen time?

How can I encourage child-led learning?

How do I get my children to stop arguing over the same toy?

After spending the week in NYC with Melissa and Doug, I’ve collaborated with a group of play experts, influencers, and moms that feel overloaded to discuss ways we can #takebackchildhood.

I’m here to share with you all what we talked about and possible solutions to protect and promote more playtime in the home. - both indoors and out.

#takebackchildhood with Melissa and Doug

In fact, have you ever met a mom that doesn’t feel overloaded?

We live in a world when everything moves at a very fast pace. Kids are taught to read prior to the recommended age of 5-7, homework comes home daily, and weekends are packed with scheduled sports and celebrations.

So the big question is:

How can we protect and promote playtime?

You can begin to transition screen time in a couple of different ways.

  • Begin each morning with a Breakfast Invitation.

  • Use the oven clock as a visual to show the new screen time. Add the new time on a Post-It above the hour on the screen. This creates a visual for children to understand what time they can watch a show.

  • Charge your iPad to a low percentage. When it’s done, they are done too.

  • Share with your children that play is important, and show them you care by modeling some screen free time yourself.

#takebackchildhood with Melissa and Doug

First up, the basics of play.

Why is child-led learning so important for development?

“The most powerful learning experiences often happen when children are simply given the space to work things out on their own - to come up with their unique way to occupy a rainy day, to finish a difficult puzzle, to fill a blank page with their ideas or to resolve a dispute over who goes first in a board game.” Melissa and Doug

Children need play to navigate through life.

After asking you on Instagram, “What are your struggles when it comes to play?”, the majority of responses had to do with finding ways for multiple ages to work together and how to resolve conflict.

You also wanted to know how to minimize screens and encourage more independent playtime at home.

And it happens! When children argue, it is much easier to take a break from play and transition to the TV. Children are then quiet and peace resumes. - I get that, and can fall in the same trap.

But some danger resides in that solution.

Did you know that when children argue over who gets to play what, when, and/or how, they are actually navigating how to negotiate and understand different points of view?

For one, working through a disagreement helps children become more empathetic and helps them understand how to come together as a team. You get a little of what you want, I get a little back, and the game continues. When someone upsets a friend in a really fun game, the game abruptly comes to an end. With practice, they will learn to prevent that.

So keep practicing! They will get it!

Some possible phrases to help troubleshooting arguments:

  • Let’s make a plan.

  • How can I help you?

  • What supplies do you need to get started?

  • Do you have a problem to solve?

  • What if we tried it this way?

#takebackchildhood Melissa and Doug

Think of play in these four main categories:

The following four categories are taken from the book, Purposeful Play.

  • Imaginary Play - abstract thinking, using creativity to guide play

  • Constructive Play - product oriented such as building with blocks

  • Games with Rules - helps with understanding winning and losing, following directions

  • Rough and Tumble - play with a little risk, more physical contact

In relation to these four categories of play, did you know:

“Melissa and Doug products provide a launch pad to ignite imagination and a sense of wonder in all children so they can discover themselves, their passions, and their purpose.” Melissa & Doug’s bio

Isn’t that play mission incredible?

After touring the showroom in NYC, here are some of my favorite suggestions from Melissa & Doug toys. (Although it was difficult to not suggest more) All are Amazon Affiliate links directly to the product.

Imaginary Play

Melissa and Doug Occupation Puzzle

Shown in our cover picture, this puzzle is perfect for all ages!

Melissa & Doug HIgh-Rise Wooden Dollhouse

I love the simple creativity of this dollhouse. Its the perfect height for small children and allows imaginary play. - Imaginary play is another thing that can be cut short once school age. Allow your children the time to dive deep into imaginary play and discover ways to express their emotions with this dollhouse.

Melissa & Doug Solid Wood Project Workbench

This tool bench is another gem that has been in our home for over 3 years. The boys have used these tools countless amounts of time both on and off the bench. It never fails that they run for their tool box any time someone is working on a project.

Melissa & Doug Wooden Flexible Figures

These flexible figures offer a great addition to pretend play. Children can role play family situations or dream up new ideas.

Melissa & Doug Mega Race Car Carrier

Anything on wheels is a hit over here! Will plays with these cars at 17 months, and the driving has not stopped with the older two. If your children love cars and trucks, they will love this set!

Melissa & Doug Role Play Fire Chief Costume

We have two of these costumes and there is nothing cuter than seeing the two older boys all suited up (they can do it themselves!) coming around the corner ready to put out a fire.

Constructive Play

Melissa & Doug Standard Unit Solid-Wood Building Blocks

This block set is a must. Block play encourages creativity, explores balance, tests spacial awareness and reinforces weight. Sadly, schools do not get time to integrate as much block time as they have in the past. Allow your child to share in the joy of block play!

Melissa & Doug Extra-Thick Cardboard Building Blocks

Building the beginning exploration into Math and Science. These blocks are perfect for problem solving and making predictions. I wonder how many you can stack before they fall?

Melissa & Doug Magnetic Pattern Block Kit

Looking for a Breakfast Invitation that is already created? This Magnetic Pattern Block Kit is sure to be a hit! Start with one card for each child. When completed, show them the other fun options.

Melissa & Doug Bead Sequencing Set

Guess what Santa is bringing? Yep! This Bead Sequencing Set will be a huge hit. I love how they can set everything up on their own to get started. We will be using this one as a Breakfast Invitation at grandma’s over the holidays!

Games with Rules

Melissa & Doug Suspend Junior Family Game

Test balance and steady hand control with Suspend Junior. This is the perfect after dinner game to get the family working together.

Melissa & Doug Alphabet Express Floor Puzzle

We have had this floor puzzle for over three years now and love it! You can modify difficulty for little learners by handing them two pieces at a time to chose from. “Let’s check what comes next. A,B,C,D…E! Which one of these puzzle pieces show an E? Does this look like an E, or does this one?”

Melissa & Doug Catch & Count Wooden Fishing Game

Test hand eye coordination along with balance and coordination with this fun fishing game!

Rough and Tumble Play

Encourage movement with these fun active play toys!

Melissa & Doug Sunny Patch Giddy Buggy Crawl-Through Tunnel

Giddy Buggy is happy to invite active kids to crawl through a rainbow of color in this bright tunnel. Giddy's smiling face covers one end, making it extra fun to hide and seek in this nearly five-foot-long tube. Made of durable wipe-clean materials, it sets up quickly and easily folds flat for convenient storage. Sturdy steel frame is padded for comfort and hours of activity.

Melissa & Doug Trixie Kickball

Sunny Patch's Trixie the ladybug's smiling face makes it extra fun for kids ages 2+ to learn and practice early catching and kicking games. Made of durable rubber, this colorful and easy to handle playground ball is great for backyard fun or playing games in the park. Trixie brings plenty of smiles to her friends in Sunny Patch and adds an adorable twist to a classic toy that helps develop gross motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

Melissa & Doug Giddy Buggy Bowling Set

The always-happy Giddy Buggy will bowl you over with his smiling face and this exciting kid-sized bowling set! The six 8-inch-tall, multi-colored Giddy Buggy pins can be used both inside and outside--set them up then roll the included ball to knock them down. Durable construction means these pins stand up to endless tumbles. Game encourages hand-eye coordination and dexterity, and promotes early counting sills.

Child-led learning with open ended toys by melissa & doug. Learn through the power of play #takebackchildhood #preschool #preschoolers #toddler #childplay #childledlearning #openendedplay.jpg

Igniting imagination and promoting play is important to Melissa and Doug as it is to most other families.

Let’s ignite imagination and promote more play at home, both indoor and outdoor.

How will you get started? Stay tuned. Tomorrow I have a MAJOR giveaway on Instagram for you to join.

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