A: Technology definitely can be entertaining,
interactive and a part of a child's social world.
Play activities that include technology often are based on
scripted behaviors as opposed to child-directed, unstructured play.
Experts know the latter allows children naturally to develop
healthy behaviors like self-control, problem-solving, social
skills, sharing and planning.
So how can parents encourage imaginative play in the
shadow of flashy digital tech activities? Try these techniques to
unleash creative playtime in your child's world.
1 Spruce up your creative
options. Add a few new items to your current imaginative
play supplies to renew interest in creativity. Put a holiday
garland into the dress-up box, add some emptied out cereal boxes or
a few of your own kitchen utensils to your play kitchen area, make
some homemade craft dough for modeling and sculpting. Inexpensive
regular updates can go a long way in keeping kids interested and
offering new opportunities for imagination.
2 Designate imagination
days. Instead of focusing efforts on a specifically
tech-free day, promote some unplugged time as special imaginative
play days. For instance, try a Silly Saturday (where everyone wears
two different socks, dances to silly music and kids act out silly
plays). Take iPods, tablets and video game controllers and put them
in a silly place-in mom's pillowcase, maybe-until Silly Saturday is
3 Make it a family
affair. It doesn't take much parental energy to plop kids
in front of a computer game, but a little parent input can go a
long way when it comes to igniting a child's imagination. Kick off
creative play by suggesting the whole family make a fort or set up
an obstacle course in the yard.
Sharon Cindrich is a mother of two tech-savvy kids from Virginia Beach. Learn more at sharoncindrich.com.
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