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5 reasons why screen-free playtime is important for kids (and how to encourage it)

18 August 2020

For most of us, electronic devices are an essential part of our daily lives. We use them to navigate, learn DIY, research school projects, and so much more. But while they can be super-helpful, it’s a good idea to plan some time away from them. Here are some reasons why:

1. Some types of quiet play are better than others. The Department of Healthsays that some sedentary activities (e.g. reading, listening to stories or doing puzzles) are better for kids than others (e.g. watching TV or playing electronic games). Try setting kids up with active quiet play, like a jigsaw puzzle, a colouring book or an art project. Why not join in? You’ll probably feel the positive effects too!

2. Kids need good-quality sleep. Electronic devices can affect sleep, and this can impact on our thinking and concentration. Try switching off the screens well before bedtime and encouraging calming activities, such as reading or looking at picture books. Hinkler has a great range of kids books, from children’s classicsto nursery rhymesto farting grannies!

3. Mindful activities can help with mental wellbeing. Research has shown that reading can help children to learn about feelings and develop empathy. And performing repetitive tasks – like those involved in paint-by-numbers, mosaics, colouring in and jigsaws – can help us to focus and calm our minds.

4. Physical activity is important for kids’ healthy growth and development.The Department of Health recommends these minimum levels of exercise for kids of all ages. Try skipping, bike riding, playing ball games or one of the excellent outdoor games suggested in this blog post about kids holiday activities

5. It’s okay to be bored.Devices may seem like a quick solution to boredom. But some people argue that it’s important to be bored, as it gives our brains space to reason, solve problems and be creative. Why not try setting kids up with simple games that stimulate the imagination? Give them paper and markers and ask them to design their most inventive house, or theme park, or space station – or whatever takes their fancy! Or, give them the first line of a story (make it as wacky as you like) and ask them to finish writing and then illustrate it.

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The Department of Health has recommendations about screen time for kids and adults, so be sure to check those out.

For more creative play ideas, head over to Instagram, where Hinkler shares tips and ideas for #screenfreetime at @screenfreetime. For kids who love creative activities, don’t miss our Curious Craft: Crystal Creations canvases. A mix of paint-by-numbers, cross-stitch and mosaics, these are an excellent mindfulness activity for kids. They’re part of our Curious Craft range, which is filled with fun craft activities for kids at home.