Are you concerned about kids spending too much time “plugged in” and not getting enough good old-fashioned unstructured, creative playtime? As a mom who works in the field of digital media for kids publishing children’s picture books to the iPhone and iPod touch, I have thought a lot about balance in my kids’ media diet. One of the reasons I developed PicPocket Books for the iPhone was to give parents and their kids an educational, kid friendly alternative to video games and movies on the mobile devices. Reading a story book on a screen is a very different experience from playing a repetitive video game on the same screen. It has the same educational, mind-opening benefits as reading a traditional print book: it increases vocabulary, improves concentration and focus, and expands horizons.
I also encourage year ’round outdoor play time for my kids.
They ride bikes, start pick-up soccer games, make forts in the neighborhood and engage in elaborate make-believe games with their neighborhood friends.
We do not allow them to watch TV or movies during the school week. That is just a hard and fast family rule and the kids don’t even ask for media time during the week – although election night is an exception – and maybe the upcoming winter Olympics, too!