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Tips to Preventing Excessive Screen Time

Excessive screen time has always been a major concern for children. With the turn of events this year, the amount of screen time has increased due to the need to maintain safety through social distancing and quarantining. This increase in technology use has replaced most face to face interactions and experiences, that otherwise might not require much, if any, technological use. Although, innovative and creative, screen time for children must continuously be taken into consideration. Below, The Academy of Pediatrics provides a chart to which parents can use as a guide with suggested screen time use for young to teenage children.

Image provided by The Academy of Pediatrics

Harvard Pilgrim Healthcare suggests tips on How to Handle Screen Time During the COVID-19 Pandemic.

These tips include the following:

One media free meal a day

Two hours of screen free time before bed

Measure screen use using an online tool such as found on the Center on Media and Child Health.

Anya Kamenetz with the New York Times provides a surreal reflection on how perspectives surrounding screen time have adjusted post Covid-19. Rather than focusing on the screen, the focus should be on your child’s feelings.

Read more: I Was a Screen Time Expert Until Covid Happened

The American Academy of Pediatrics

The above chart provided by The American Academy of Pediatrics shows a comparison between recommended screen time use and reality.

Although the current reality is causing major increases in screen time, parents/caregivers have the ability to create healthy screen time habits with their child.

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STEM Preschooler Toys for the Holidays

Are you a little weary of the same ole 2020 virtual learning? However, still looking for another way to interact with your preschooler that still caters to their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) growth? Check out these top STEM toys for preschoolers and older:

1. Osmo – Little Genius Starter Kit for Fire Tablet

Ages- 36 months-5 years old

This interactive toy allows for your child to play alongside their tablet. As the tablet prompts a letter, your child can also create this letter using their manipulative manner. The tablet will then demonstrate the same figure on the screen.

Amazon is currently offering this item for under $20! However, an Amazon Fire is required to use. Click Here to view this hot holiday item!

2. Kidtastic Microscope Science Kit for Kids – Fun Learning Toys for Preschoolers – STEM Toy for 3 Year olds

Ages 3 and up

This STEM toy/tool re-enacts the viewing of microbiology using a kid-friendly microscope. While this educational toy is a little more in the costly side, $34.00, it does come with multiple “specimen” slides and lenses. Click HERE to view it!

3. JIAHCN See and Spell Educational Toys for Toddlers, Montessori Sight Word Learning Game

While this you involves more cognitive development, “letter recognition, word, and picture recognitions,” STEM can be intertwined using one of the 28 included picture cards. This is another great find for under $20! Click HERE to view!

4. STEAM Play & Learn: 20 fun step-by-step preschool projects about science, technology, engineering, arts, and math!

Looking for a step-by-step, on how to conduct STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) for preschoolers at home and in the classroom, this is for you! Under $15, and filled with experiments and opportunities for hands on exploration! Click HERE!

5. FIOLOM Gear Interlocking Building Blocks Fine Motor Skills Learning STEM Educational Building Toy Plastic Construction Connect Gear Set

Help your preschooler get a grasp of their fine motor skills along with learning other concepts such as problem solving. This is another great deal for under $20! Click HERE!

Happy Holidays!

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Virtual Birthday Celebrations

Celebrating birthdays during the pandemic can be tricky. With social distancing guidelines in place, it makes it difficult to hold birthday celebrations, in person. Virtual birthday celebrations can be simply planned and orchestrated.

If you are planning a virtual birthday celebration, here is a cute video to share with your child or student:

Happy Birthday Song- Trap Remix

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Create FREE Educational Games for Young Children

If you’ve been looking for game creation without coding, Educandy is the answer!

Educandy allows teachers and parents to create FREE interactive and educational games for young children. I went through the process and the instructions are extremely easy to follow and have a fast turnaround. In all, the process took about 10 minutes.

Upon creating a new login, I was directed to 3 different game options:

1. Create a list of words

2. Matching Pairs

3. Quiz Questions

Since I was gearing the activity towards early learners (ages 3-5), I went with the first option of Create a list of words.

Educandy.com

After selecting the Words option, and labeling the game category and title, I was then able to list my choice of words.

Educandy.com

Once the list is complete, a sample of the game can be experienced by the creator. For this game, children are given a stopwatch and a small cheerleader emoji as they work to spell each word. This is a great game to enhance language development by practicing letter sounds, spelling, and reading.

There are several ways to share the games including issuing out a game code. This code will be asked to be imputed once the application has been downloaded.

Educandy.com

If you’re looking enhance overall engagement in virtual learning or while working from home with your child, give Educandy a try!

Educandy.com
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Your Complete Guide to YouTube Kids

The YouTube Kids App provides another layer to learning for young children. Much like YouTube, YouTube Kids is downloadable on mobile devices along with desktops. Most recently, YouTube Kids has become available on Amazon Fire TV.

YouTube Kids “Shows”category

Upon downloading the app on iOS, there was an immediate prompt to select “Parent” or “Child.” When the “Child” prompt is selected, the user is automatically redirected back to the “Parent” navigation. In other words, a parent profile and 4-digit code must be created first.

YouTube Kids “Music” category

Once the 4-digit pin is created, along with entering a simple multiplication mathematical problem into the security check, the “Child” profile can be created. At this point, the age range of the child is inquired. Upon selection of the age range, a series of video categories will appear.

YouTube Kids “Learning” Category

The categories include: “Recommended, Shows, Reading, Learning and Explore.” Under each category, the user will find age appropriate videos sub-categorized based on varying topics/channels/series.

Storyline Online YouTube Kids Channel

Under the “Settings,” parents have the option to control content, reset password, and even turn of search engine as means of safety. The option to stop the “Recommended” video feature is also available to turn off/on.

Screen time is always a concern when integrating technological applications into the lives of young children. The overall objective is to provide interactive learning experiences remotely or on-the-go. However, parents should err on the side of caution and monitor the amount of screen time their child engages within. Unstructured screen time can lead to lifelong illnesses including obesity. For more information on how to effectively promote healthy screen time for young child, visit The Mayo Clinic.

YouTube Kids has proven to provide quality, free screen time to young children through their efforts to expand the apps functions. We can only hope that this is all the beginning!

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