There’s often an idea that screen time and creativity are mutually exclusive - if children spend too much time in front of screens, they’ll forget how to use their imagination. But that doesn’t always have to be the case; in fact, screens can be a great way to encourage creativity in children. The key is understanding the difference between active and passive screen time
Passive activities include playing certain types of games, watching videos, or mindlessly scrolling through your social media. They’re not inherently bad - they can be great for relaxing - but you should ideally do them for no more than a couple of hours a day. Active screen time, on the other hand, is all about engaging your brain (and sometimes your body) with the help of your digital devices.
If you’re looking for more active ways for your children to use their screens over the lockdown period, we’ve got some ideas for you to try...
YouTube isn’t just a place to find clips of cute cats and watch other people take things out of boxes. It’s full of clever and creative people who want to share their skills with the world! YouTube tutorials are a great way to get stuck into all kinds of family activities, whether you want to play an instrument, bake a cake or learn origami.
Not all video games are about entertainment - some are surprisingly robust creativity tools, like the digital equivalent of a LEGO set or a model railway. Minecraft
is probably the most well-known creativity game, allowing players to build almost anything in a blocky 3D word, but there are all kinds of creativity tools with different levels of complexity. There are even games like LittleBigPlanet
and Super Mario Maker
that allow children to create their own video game levels.
The hefty price tags mean that virtual reality is out of most people’s budget for the time being, but augmented
reality (AR for short) is achievable with most smartphones. AR is all about superimposing something on to the real world using your phone’s camera - Pokémon GO!
being the most popular example. But there are all kinds of educational augmented reality apps as well: Star Chart
is perfect for amateur astronomy, while the BBC’s Civilisations
app turns your home into a virtual museum.
Learning to Code
As the internet becomes more and more central in our lives, it’s important that we teach children how it actually works. Most primary age pupils will already be taught the basics of coding in their ICT lessons, but there are tons of resources out there to help build on those skills and start some creative projects. Little Red Coding Club
is a fun app that uses a classic fairytale to teach basic coding skills. For more advanced users, the Raspberry Pi
is an inexpensive computer the size of a credit card that children can use for all kinds of coding projects.
Screen time is often a very sedentary activity, but there are lots of ways that you can use screens to help you get moving! If your children have been learning from home this year you’re probably already very familiar with Joe Wicks’ virtual PE lessons
. There are also some ways to turn exercise into a game. The Just Dance games
allow you to dance along to your favourite songs with your smartphone, and if you have a Nintendo Switch the game Ring Fit Adventure
builds your workout into a full-on adventure!
Natterhub is an educational social media platform created to prepare primary school children to thrive online.
Our interactive lessons give children all the skills that they need to stay safe in a digital landscape, and our Badges of Honour help teachers to keep track of their progress.
With a cleverly designed interface that looks and feels like social media, children learn in an environment that feels like the real deal whilst teachers can make use of the extensive Natterhub content library to keep pupils engaged and inspired.
Natterhub is powered by TwinklHive, and is used in over 40 countries around the world. Twinkl, a global educational publishing house, offers primary and secondary resources to 8.5 million members, across 197 countries.