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Screen Time You Can Feel Good About

We get it: Managing kids’ screen time can feel like a constant battle…especially when they’re lost in mindless games or YouTube videos. Oh, the meltdowns we have survived! But when kids use their screentime to create something new, well, that’s a whole different story. Engaging with technology in a positive way leaves them motivated and energized—not comatose. Next time your kids are begging for an extra session, try to point them in one of these creative directions:

PHOTOGRAPHY
Encourage your kids to explore their environment through a lens. Make a list of things to photograph around the house or neighborhood and go on a photo scavenger hunt. You can give this an alphabetical twist by challenging them to find things that represent each letter of the alphabet. Be sure to teach them some of the basics of taking great photos like following the rule of thirds (put the subject of the photo in either the top, right, left, or bottom third of the viewfinder) and showing them how to fill the frame (especially great for close-ups!).

VIDEOS
Do your kids love to make up stories and pretend? Encourage them to write a script and then act it out (improv also works!). Maybe your kid has an opinion on everything. Have him record reviews of snacks, books, movies, whatever his passion is. Also super-fun: how-to videos. Have your star skateboarder teach his trademark kick-flip. Your mini baker can demo her mad cake-decorating skills. Set up a private YouTube channel and invite your friends and family to check ’em out.

PODCAST
Most devices have a voice-recording app, so let your kids try creating their own podcast. Before they get started, have them do a little brainstorming: What do they want to talk about? What should they call their show? Who will do the talking? Will they interview anyone…if so, what questions do they want to ask? If they’re stumped for themes, float one of these ideas:

• Family history interviews (here’s a list of questions!)
• Family news of the week
• Recaps of their favorite shows, games, whatevers!

You can simply email the mP3 files to friends and family, but if they really want to go pro, check out free podcasting platforms like Podbean and Anchor.