Remember when your mum used to say, “Go play” and you either went outside to shoot some hoops or went to your room and created a castle with your Legos?

Those of us born before 1980 may have vivid recollections of that type of scene, but for today’s child, there are many distractions not allowing for that kind of simplicity, thanks to the world of technology and no more so than an iPad!

If you were a mum of young children in the 70’s you may have feared the accusation of letting your kids watch too much television. Today it is a much more complicated world than it was in the 70’s or 80’s and the various distractions include laptops, gaming devices, smartphones, and the so easy to handle and operate iPad.

If your child was born after 1980 these gadgets seem to be more or less a birthright, but how can you tell if your child is spending too much time mousing, clicking, pointing and staring at an illuminated screen.

Warning signs your child is spending too much time on electronic devices:

  • Lack of interest in other activities.
  • Distracted or constantly talking about being online.
  • Demonstrating mood-swings or displaying disagreeable behaviour.
  • Upset or thwarted if he or she can’t get online.

If your child is exhibiting one or more of the signs, it may be time to make a concerted effort to make sure your child is leading a well-balanced life.

Five fun and healthy activities for your child:

1. Playing outdoors

If you have a yard invest in some sturdy and safe outdoor play equipment. Plan family outdoor games and activities, like biking or tennis.

2. Indoor play

If you have the room in your home you may want to consider setting up a playroom with indoor play equipment. If there is no place for that, you may have a play centre near your home. Many McDonald’s also have impressive indoor playgrounds. A playground is not just the place in which children can play and have fun, it is also a place for children to socialise with their peers.

3. Read to your child or encourage them to read to you

We all know there are many benefits one can get from reading. Therefore, reading to your child is definitely one of the best activities you can do. You can make reading more fun for them by reading their favourite ones.

And while you read, make sure you act out stories. Children love sound effects more than anything.

4. Play board games, and many others

There are new and exciting board games all the time, but depending on your child’s age there is nothing wrong with some of the classics like Monopoly or Snakes and Ladders, and don’t forget about card games and charades. There are plenty of fun games to play.

5. Creative activities

Make sure you have a good supply of crafts. What child doesn’t love to colour? Cooking and baking also challenges a child’s creativity and makes them feel helpful.

We all want happy, well-rounded children, this doesn’t mean you have to forbid your child to play with the iPad.

There are parental controls that limit your child’s time on the device and also the content they view.

Remember also, they can download books and play games that help develop fine motor skills. Encouraging play that promotes imagination and physical fitness is bound to make for a happier child and a happier family.

Do you have any other tips for other activities. Please share in the comments below.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com


  • It’s so hard with people bringing out more and more exciting things for kids of all ages to do online, and for free. It really is up to the parents to monitor use and access. It’s like a drug, and like other drugs it rots your brain in unhealthy doses.

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  • Technology is definitely around a lot more now than when I grew up. Moderation is the magic word for so many things.

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  • I know at times my little ones spend too much time with video games, tv or Ipad. It’s definitely about getting a balance. I’m less concerned if they’re at least playing something educational however the activities you suggest are also so important. It’s commonsense really but also a sign of how our lives have changed so much with technology.

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  • Yes it is important to distract them with other activities.

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  • These are all great tips. It’s all about balance. A mix of screen time and outdoor activity.

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  • We always try to encourage as many other non screen activities as possible but it can be so easy to revert to the old tablet to keep little ones occupied.

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  • We have a clear and limited time on the devices and then they have to do something else. When kids approach teenage age it becomes a bit harder I think. Luckily my daughter likes to do loomband craft and makes the most wonderful things, she also likes to sew and make books. My son like sewing here and there as well, but more likely you find him kick a ball, explore the reserve or jump in the pool. For the younger ones, board games, colouring and craft activities are great indeed.

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  • Great tips – and also go outside and play with them

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  • With a few exceptions there is a mininum age for team sports.
    We played a lot of board games, cards or scrabble when I was young if the weather was bad and at night. We also had plastic quoits and bowls to play in an room big enough not to hit the walls. We would sit a fair distance apart and roll a table tennis ball on the floor and our cat chase it. The hilarious part was sometimes she grab it in one paw, hold it then send it down the other end from which it came. People reckon desexed cats are stupid!! Not mine!!!

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  • Yes we do craft, painting, running , jumping, playing in the vegetable garden and limit time on the ipod


    • yeah gardens are great and the kids love harvesting their vegies

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  • My toddler loves puzzles and we try and make up puzzle type games or matching games using his toys or other household items. For example, sock matching while putting laundry away.

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  • You have some great suggestions here. Ours loves games like “Pass the Bomb” and “Don’t Panic” – quick thinking, fun interactive games that don’t take very long to play, but can be played for ages.

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  • Getting your child involved in a team sport is a great way for them to get fit, learn skills, and develop socially by working in a group.

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  • Lke it

    Reply

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