Sunday, June 14, 2015


It is no secret that my little boy is addicted to his gadgets. I suppose it is momma's fault. But in this digital age, where even schools encourage and include the use of tablets, what can we do as parents but allow them to use it?

Watching Youtube videos early in the morning.

On the gadget even when we are out of town.

Playing Minecraft at a Blogger event.

Playing NBA Live while at my mom's house.

I try to justify his gadget use by convincing myself that not all of it is bad. There are educational apps that help kids learn phonics, and in fact, RL watches Youtube instructional videos to do arts and crafts.  And I try to implement a time limit.

Testing himself with a phonics app.

Looming while watching instructional videos on Youtube.

But like I said, it has reached a point where I can say RL is addicted to it. In fact, I had to ground him recently because all he did this past month was play on his gadget from sun up to sun down. I am at work most of the day, so this summer, when he is home from his reading classes, he just took advantage of the fact that I wasn't around to regulate his gadget time.

We were invited to attend a Johnson's Baby event recently. And RL was introduced to a whole new kind of play. Not that he doesn't play much this way, but because of his gadgets, he tends to keep himself cooped up at home either with a gadget in hand or in front of the boob tube.

I shall let the little boy do the retelling on the #playforreal event. He enjoyed that day so much, he has been bugging me to move to where we can have a yard for him to play in. We live in a town house with so little play space. The only place he can run around in is the courtyard we share with seven other homeowners. We don't even have a patch of grass, and there is not enough space to ride a bike!

~~~ * ~~~

RL: "My mommy took me to a Johnson's event. I like going with her because I can play with the kids of her friends. She said I should bring extra clothes because I was going to get wet. I don't like getting wet. When we got there, someone gave me an iPad to play with. Yes! I was grounded that day. It was my chance to play Minecraft. They didn't have the paid app though."

RL: "When the program started, they let us out to play in the park. The teacher told me to build something out of the empty Johnson's Baby bottles. I decided to build a rocket ship."

RL: "This was my favorite activity. I like building things."

RL: "Auntie Didi was making a car for K and C. My mommy also helped me with taping my rocket ship together."

RL: "After this, I went to the gardening area. I wanted to plant a tree, but they only had small plants. We have a lot of plants in pots at home, and I like helping out my mommy when she takes care of her spinach plants. This is always fun to do."

RL: "This is my plant. I forgot to bring it home."

RL: "I wanted to play here but the other kids were enjoying the play bins."

Photo courtesy of Thanks, Michelle!

RL: "So I went around and decided to build a bee with the bottles again. Then I went to play with water. I was so careful because I didn't want to get wet. But mommy said it was ok. So I got really wet and dirty! Hahaha!"

RL: "The other kids were all hanging around the water sprinkler. I wanted to play also but had to wait my turn."

Kaye's Note: After this, we were called back in. I had allowed RL to go play some more. At one point, I had to change his shirt because he was dripping wet with paint all over. One of the teacher facilitators told me that RL even managed to lie down on the grass next to the sprinklers. LOL! Here was a kid who wouldn't even dare get himself wet. I guess he enjoyed too much!

RL: "I had so much fun at the Johnson's Baby event! That was my best summer day ever!"

~~~ * ~~~

Studies show that while kids can indeed learn from gadgets in many ways, they learn more from active sensory play. It is through sensory play that their five senses are awakened, and they learn to discover the world around them.

"Active play is integral and essential in the holistic development of children... As a brand, this is something we would like to keep reminding parents of. With the information and products we offer, parents can let their children turn playtime to a time of learning while they #playforreal," says Trina Tanlapco, Johnson's Associate Marketing Director.

Did you know that the brain grows up to 90% of its adult size from birth up to five years old? This is why Fiona Sandoval, a licensed clinical psychologist and play therapist, insists on the importance of stimulation for all five senses, especially in activities like active play where the neurons and brain connections are formed better. "Children develop fine motor, language and cognitive skills through sensory play," she adds.

Ever since that day at the park, RL has been more into sensory active play. When I think about it, he is only hesitant with active play mainly because we don't encourage it, protecting him from getting hurt or dirty. Oops! But he enjoys it every chance he gets.

Because it is the digital age, and like I said, even schools encourage gadget-use, the key to letting kids enjoy both is setting a balance. Today, RL is only allowed an hour of gadget play, and only on weekends. After which, he is encouraged to get his hands busy with other toys and activities - yes, even getting wet and muddy!

Playing with the sand at the beach.

Puzzles challenge him. He has been putting together 100-pc puzzles since he was two!

Building Lego sets is his favorite activity.

Building with big blocks!

Playing with water and learning how to wash his playhouse at the same time! Hehehe.

During the event, I was telling Didi and Cai how last summer, my kids convinced me to get them water balloons. We filled two buckets with balloons and played catch outside in our little courtyard. By the time we were done, I was spent! I remember vowing to myself to never buy water balloons again. I didn't realize I was doing so at my kids' expense. Children need real play. My little boy needs to be out there more.

I am making a commitment to allow my child to #playforreal more. Even the simplest activities can be more enjoyable and meaningful than the gadget - especially when we do those activities together.

How about you? When was the last time you allowed your child to #playforreal?

Johnson's | The #playforreal transformation
Kids learn from gadgets. But watch what happens when they #playforreal.
Posted by JOHNSON'S baby on Thursday, April 16, 2015


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