Active Play & Technology

Balancing Active Play & Technology

Today’s world is ruled by technology. Our kids are exposed to it a very young age, and it is very hard to avoid it, considering it is essential in school and the workplace. Children are using iPads and other electronics in school, as early as preschool, for the educational content and applications. So, how do we find the balance between too much technology, and getting our kids to just play? More and more in today’s world, some children prefer to play inside on electronics more than outside with their friends. Here are some tips that might help you and your child find a good balance between electronics and active play.

Find Healthy and Educational Apps

One way that we can balance the amount of time our kids spend on technology is to find an app that gets kids up and moving. is a great app that encourages kids to get up and follow along with activities they have on the screen. Kids play Simon Says games with the on screen host, which also has educational aspects to it. Kids learn different body parts and also improve gross motor development and coordination skills. There are many different educational apps that are more like games to children, where they must complete math problems to move on to the next level. Having a sense of accomplishment after beating a level makes them feel like they are playing a game, as opposed to learning.

Monitor What Your Children Are On:

Parental settings should be used to limit not only what your children are exposed to, but also how long they spend on certain apps. Some apps now have timers that will automatically shut down the app after a certain amount of time and won’t allow the child to open it until a certain amount of time has passed. Also, be aware of what your children are doing on the technology we allow them to use.

Active Play Options

When we tell our kids to shut off the electronics and go outside, we need to be able to present them with an alternative activity. If we want them to get outside and play, then we must present outside options. There are many things we can do outside with our kids that integrate technology. Things like planting a garden, going on hikes, or catching fireflies when it’s dark out gives us a chance to use technology to research the things we are having kids do outside, either after or before. They can look up new plants to garden, new trails to hike, or facts about fireflies. This is how we can really link our child’s outside play with their drive to use technology.

As parents and educators, we must find a way to balance our active play and the use of technology. We should limit the amount of time we give our kids to use technology, as it can be harmful to their development if used for a long period of time. Also, we shouldn’t use our technology as something to occupy the children; we must make it meaningful. Technology can be great for our kids, if used properly!

This article was written by Brent Elliott, Assistant Director at The Children’s Workshop in Smithfield, Rhode Island.

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