What’s the best tablet for toddlers?
It’s a question I see over and over again on Facebook and in my Twitter stream.
And it’s always followed by…
I want my phone/tablet back!
I won’t pretend that my kids are tech free. They’re not. And I don’t think they should be. They are growing up in a tech savvy world, and they shouldn’t be left behind.
But they are limited. Ten-minute timers are the norm around here. When the timer beeps, they hand it over.
They don’t argue. They don’t beg for more. And when they go seven days without any iPad time? They don’t even seem to notice.
They would rather play with cars, trucks, dolls, and stuffed animals. They would rather build zoos and create construction sites. They would rather plant beans and dig up worms. They would rather play board games and ride scooters.
They would rather create their own fun.
Just last night…a simple Dixie cup in the bathtub became both an excavator and a pet wash. Their needs are simple…
When I see the holiday price cuts for the toddler tablets and hear moms discussing which is better and why…I can’t help but wonder why a toddler needs a tablet of his own in the first place.
Play is the greatest job of childhood. Children learn just about everything from the magic of play. They learn to relate. They learn to problem solve. They learn to count, identify letters, and recognize words. They work on gross and fine motor skills while engaged in play. They use their imaginations. They think, they create, and they smile.
Oh, how they smile.
Yes, our kids are growing up in a tech savvy world. They need to learn to find the letters on a keyboard. They need to learn to navigate a tablet. They need to understand how technology works.
And they will learn all of those things and more. In time, they will run circles around us with their tech know-how.
But as toddlers and preschoolers and even beyond? They really just need to play.
They need to get back to basics and build with blocks and dig in the sand. They need to ride bikes and chase butterflies.
So this holiday season, think twice before you stand in line for hours to get the best price on that toddler tech toy.
Consider a giant box of wooden blocks, an enormous crate of art materials, or tub of animals instead.
Give your child the greatest gift of all this holiday season: The gift of play.