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When it comes to managing screen time, each family has a different approach. Some families set strict limits, others let kids have as much screen time as they want.
In our home, we have rules that help us limit screen time, because I think there are many other activities that are a lot more beneficial for my kids than spending time in front of screens.
But I also think that we shouldn’t only focus on how much screen time our kids get. Because not all screen time is equal.
Spending one hour a day playing violent video games is not better than spending two hours watching documentaries.
Spending 3 hours a week binging videos on Youtube (without having any control over the content) is not better than spending 5 hours a week using an educational app or reading stories on a tablet.
Managing screen time for kids is not only about quantity, but also about quality.
We tested many online apps and resources in the last few years, but many of them were disappointing. Either the quality of the content was bad, or the app was not fun enough to offer the kids an engaging experience.
Luckily, we also discovered a few resources that both my son and I loved!
If you are looking for easy ways to offer your kids quality content for screen time, here is a list of 16 ideas to try!
⭐ Educational screen time activities
1. Screen time that encourages reading
Epic! is an awesome digital library for kids and one of our favorite apps. Inside the app, kids can read tons of books, watch videos, and listen to audiobooks.
I love the idea of holding a book in my hands and reading it to my kids while cuddling on the couch, but this app is a great addition to our regular storytime.
Kids can use the app to read the books on their own or listen to someone reading them. This is great for both practicing reading and discovering awesome new stories.
The audiobooks are also great (and they are not even screen time because kids just need to listen to the story).
You can try Epic! for free for 30 days using this link.
2. Online lessons that inspire kids to love science
MisteryScience.com is one of our favorite educational sites. Their videos are fun and engaging, making it easy for the kids to learn new things.
The mini-lessons they publish on a regular basis answer questions submitted by kids, and my son loves watching them.
⭐ Screen time activities that offer interactive experiences
One of the best ways to get the kids actively involved in their screen time activities is to use hands-on learning games.
3. Osmo kits
We use Osmo, and my son loves it!
The games are fun, and they include hand help pieces (like a drawing board, tangram pieces, or number and letter tiles) that turn to life using the tablet.
It was one of the best investments we made when it comes to digital apps and games!
If you want your kids to play on the tablet without staring at the screen passively for hours, Osmo is the perfect solution.
⭐ Creative screen time activities
If you want to use screen time to encourage creativity, here are some ideas to try:
4. Art for Kids Hub
Art for Kids Hub is a very popular Youtube channel with fun drawing lessons for kids.
Because I don’t like to encourage my kids to use Youtube for their screen time, we used the Art for Kids Hub subscription instead.
5. Chrome Music Lab
The Chrome Music Lab is a website that makes learning music more accessible through fun, hands-on experiments.
My son learned about it during his music lessons at school, and he enjoys using it at home as well.
GarageBand is an app that gives kids the opportunity to play a wide range of instruments from around the world.
⭐ Documentaries and family-friendly TV shows
Encouraging the kids to watch documentaries and TV shows instead of cartoons or TV series is a great way for them to discover new things, get inspired, or explore topics they are interested in.
Watching TV shows like Lego Masters or Junior MasterChef can also inspire the kids try new hobbies like cooking or designing big building projects.
Here are some ideas:
7. Documentaries on Netflix
- If I were an animal (a wonderful series for young kids)
- Expedition China
- Our Planet
- Oceans (by Disney Nature)
- Growing Up Wild (by Disney Nature)
- Chasing Coral
8. Documentaries on Disney+
- Wings of Life
- Wild Yellowstone
- documentaries created by National Geographic
9. Documentaries on Amazon Prime
10. Family-friendly TV shows
- Lego Masters
- Domino Masters
- Junior MasterChef
- Junior Bake Off
- American Ninja Warrior
⭐ Active screen time activities
Instead of sitting on the couch with a tablet in their hands, kids can also have an “active” screen time.
There are several apps and games that get kids moving or dancing, and this is a great way to burn off their energy.
11. Just Dance
We have the Just Dance game for Playstation, and we always have a lot of fun when we use it. There are also versions of the game available for Xbox and Nintendo Switch.
I also heard a lot of positive feedback about the GoNoodle app for kids.
12. GoNoodle videos
We discovered the GoNoodle site during the pandemic, because my son’s teacher was using it for fun dance breaks during online learning.
I like it because it encourages kids to dance and get active, but it also has videos focused on mindfulness.
⭐ Online classes
Outschool is an online platform where you can book live online classes and camps for kids. The classes are held by teachers and usually take place with small groups of kids.
What I love most about Outschool is that the live classes allow my son to interact with a teacher and other kids his age.
This makes learning more fun, and the time he spends attending the classes doesn’t feel like screen time at all, like it happens with the learning apps.
If you want to try Outschool with your kids, you can use this referral link to get a $20 credit towards your first class.
⭐ More screen time activities
14. Storyline Online is an award-winning children’s literacy website where kids can watch videos featuring celebrated actors reading children’s books.
15. DuoLingo is a great resource to encourage older kids to learn a new language.
16. Code Spark Academy is a learn-to code app that teaches kids (ages 5-10) basic computer programming skills.
Bonus idea: Use screen time as inspiration for screen-free activities
A great way to keep kids busy without screens is to use screen time as an inspiration for other activities that will keep them entertained.
For example, after watching a movie or playing a game, you can invite them to draw something they liked, build something inspired by the movie, or write a story about the main character.
Also, you can look for printable activities with your child’s favorite characters and use them to keep the little ones busy without using technology.
More ideas about managing screen time for kids
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