4 Toys to Replace Screen Time—Let the Fun (& Learning) Unfold!
In our last post, we dove into off-screen activities and ideas to keep kids engaged. What about toys for cutting down screen time? Finding toys to replace screen time that also holds our kids’ interest has its challenges. Not to worry, fellow parents! We’ve got the inside scoop.
We’re sharing the four best toys to replace screen time. What do they all have in common?
They’re a hoot for your kids, who’ll have a blast playing with them. These off-screen toys offer educational benefits since learning through play fosters vital developmental and social skills.
Come along as we unveil our top picks. Let’s dive straight in!
It’s no secret that kids learn through toys and play by interacting with the world around them and exploring their imaginations, creativity, and curiosity. But unfortunately, screens don’t allow kids to immerse themselves in this kind of hands-on experiential play.
Enter: off-screen toys. What makes these the best of the best toys to replace screen time?
There are millions available, but we centered our focus on the four toys that have educational and open-ended elements. With these toys, kids will spend endless hours playing (and learning) in new ways every time they play.
Another bonus? The fun’s not limited to the kids. If you’ve ever wondered, “what can I do with my kids instead of screen time?” these toys are perfect for jumping in on the fun right alongside them!
So what can I replace screen time with? Without further ado, here are our top toys to replace screen time!
1. Squaregles Magnetic Toys
Did you know that building toys teach kids about the world mathematically? By designing and building structures, kids learn about the world through a mathematical and scientific lens. Squaregles educational magnetic toys supercharge this concept!
These magnetic building sets are ideal toys to replace screen time because they deliver hours of open-ended, unplugged fun. Each set includes magnetic frames and customizable paperboard panels for kids to design and redesign their structures to their heart’s content!
By infusing design, construction, art, and infinite room for expression, Squaregles builds kids’ STEAM skills — mixing science, technology, engineering, art, and math into one incredible toy! And within just one toy set, kids unleash a world filled with thousands of possibilities for out-the-box, creative learning through play.
Want to give them a try? Gather the family and take on a building challenge together. Or browse these videos for inspiration!
2. Arts and Crafts Toys
Pablo Picasso famously said, “every child is an artist.” That may be true, but does art do anything to aid their development? As it turns out, it supports their development and contributes to society. By creating a space for our kids to express themselves creatively, we help foster their qualitative intelligence—they collect information and find avenues for sharing it.
Additionally, art (like most open-ended play) is about the process, not the product. The process of creating—exploring, discovering, experimenting—has a significant impact on kids’ development, not so much the things they make.
So one of our favorite toys to replace screen time are arts and crafts sets! Whether it’s an art and easel kit, sidewalk chalk, or modeling clay, encourage your kids’ inner Picasso, and you might be surprised at how quickly their paintbrush trumps the tablet!
Sometimes, our kids just need a gentle nudge to get started.
Ask kids to grab their favorite art supplies.
Inspire them with a theme like favorite characters or places, or keep it open-ended, letting them decide what to create.
Set a timer on your phone. Decide with your kids how long they want to create for. One hour? Two hours? Once they begin a project, they likely won’t want to stop.
Pull up a chair and create with them, or use this window to catch up on some to-dos.
Let the creative fun unfold!
3. Toy Model Sets
Does your child love cars? How about planes or tractors? If so, they’ll love bringing a Ferrari or Boeing 747 to life. Assembling models requires hours of immersion and focus, captivating kids’ attention while engaging them in cognitive and manual development.
Did you ever build a toy car or airplane when you were a kid? Maybe one of your parents worked on it with you? If so, you fondly remember the sense of achievement you felt when you’d finally finished and held that magical plane in your hands. After all, it took a lot of time and energy to complete the model.
Model toys aren’t just great toys to replace screen time. They’re also great for teaching kids about patience, attention to detail, the importance of following instructions, and the concept of hard work and its pay-off. Plus, they’re an ideal way to make unforgettable memories that you and your child can cherish for years to come.
4. Dress-Up & Role Play Sets
Pretend-play is vital for kids as they learn, grow, and develop, so it’s no surprise that role-play follows suit. Studies suggest that role-play is equally essential for teaching kids how to convey and express their emotions healthily.
Through role-playing, kids develop their social skills, build confidence, act out learned skills, and express themselves creatively. They learn to be intentional, think analytically, and use language and motor skills to play their parts.
Moreover, kids have an opportunity to explore their interests by acting as doctors, veterinarians, teachers, or artists. What better learning toys than those that let our kids live out their dreams?
Start a stockpile of role-play toys to replace screen time!
Keep a few different outfits and props easily accessible (like a chest or designated closet).
During screen breaks, encourage kids to dive into the chest or closet and put on a performance or act out a new role.
Screen time isn’t bad, but hitting the pause button now and then is a good reset for all of us (parents included). Incorporate these toys to replace screen time in your arsenal and keep kids hooked on exciting, unplugged play! They’ll pick up essential skills while having a blast!
For more ways to jumpstart off-screen fun that the whole family can enjoy, check out Squaregles magnetic building toys!