Screens, such as televisions, tablets, and phones can open practically endless possibilities for learning and play for both young children and grown-ups. Screens can help families connect with loved ones near and far. They can facilitate remote learning. And digital media such as videos, music, or pictures can help spark meaningful conversations and bring memories to life. But it’s important to take breaks and monitor how much screen time our young children are exposed to. When you take breaks and have specific times for using them, you have more time for other playful—and fulfilling—activities, such as drawing, exercise, exploration, and games.

The videos and activities in this bundle can help your family strike a healthy balance of screen-time play and real-time play.

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    Mae’s Minute: Screen Time Routines


    In this video, Elmo’s Mom, Mae, talks with an expert about having a healthy “digital diet.” The term “digital diet” is a playful way to talk about how much—and what type—of digital content a person, child, or family consumes. The American Academy of Pediatrics calls this a “Family Media Use Plan,” and offers recommendations for young children, such as limiting the amount of screen-time, making sure they’re watching age-appropriate, high-quality, and educational content, co-viewing as much as possible, and finding plenty of screen-free activities to support children’s growing bodies and minds! They even offer an interactive tool to help you make one for your family.

    Grown-ups can watch this video to learn a few more tips on how to manage screen time for little ones, and for themselves!

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    Elmo’s World News: Screen Time Play, Real Time Play


    In this video, Elmo and special grown-up reporter, Elmo’s Mommy, talk about the benefits of taking screen-time breaks.

    Watch together with children, then talk about your favorite “screen-free” activities. Then…go play!

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    Garden Senses

    Download printable

    Screen-time play and real-time play can go hand in hand. As an example, you and your child might first watch a video about nature together, and then go outside to continue the learning.

    You can use this printable to help you tune into the wonder of nature in your community and document your experience. Draw what you hear, smell, feel, and taste.