Blog post

Positive screen time with pre-schoolers

October 1, 2017Rabbit Ideas

Sometimes screen time can become a battle or a bribe for good behaviour. Sometimes young children develop obsessions ‘interests’ in programmes or games we wish they were not so fond of! So, with the aim of sparing some prolonged toddler debates about what they need to watch or play, here are a few ideas for constructive activities to do during ‘screen time’ with little ones:


Teach your youngsters to use the free design website Canva. This is a great way for them to get creative, if traditional craft is not their thing! Some ideas for things to create:

-Role play restaurant menus

-Party invitiations

-Birthday cards

-Infographics of a chosen topic

‘Camping’ by Big, using Canva

Nature programmes

Nature programmes, either on DVDs or online, often seem less intrusive to play than brightly coloured cartoons. They can be a great way to springboard children into a new topic, giving them inspiration for drawing or creative play, you can also often find books along similar themes to tie in together, to extend their learning.

Screen time nature

Barefoot Books Animations

These are brilliant; short, catchy aminations with good-quality music which accompany the books. Barefoot books are also very diverse in their content and we often use a world map to talk about where the stories might be set.

YouTube- construction videos

Many children love watching older children building models and creating things online. As long as they also get chance to go and create things for themselves, using the ideas they have seen, it can be a good source of inspiration and motivation.


Cooking programmes

Cooking programmes are great as they are upbeat, suitable for little eyes and ears, not ‘scary’ or overly dramatic and can be a great way to springboard into role play and pretend cooking for pre-schoolers as well as real cooking experiences, too.

Typing words

With younger ones, letting them dictate funny stories while you type them is enjoyable, especially if they get to choose fonts and add letters themselves. As they get older, children can start contributing more to the story and typing it themselves. This is a great way to help them become familiar with a keyboard and capital letters as well as beginning to put simple words and sentences together in a fun way.

Screen time microsoft word


The technology for online maps is changing at a phenomenal rate. It’s so exciting thinking of where AI will take us in travel in the future! But for now, online maps are one great way of opening up discussions about the world with under 5’s.

Sports events

No, they would not want to watch an entire football match, but 10 minutes of diving, skiing or bobsleigh, etc. is always interesting. I tend to let them out into the garden or take them to the park after this, as we usually need to put what we have seen into immediate ‘practice’!

Screen time sport

What screen-time activities do your youngsters enjoy? Let me know in the comments below!

The Tactical Mummy
Bringing up Georgia
Mission Mindfulness


Comments (15)

  • Vicky Kinmond

    October 3, 2017 at 2:45 pm

    Some really wonderful ideas here to make screen-time more productive. I especially love the idea of writing stories together – what a lovely idea! Thanks for linking up with #TacticalTuesdays

    1. rabbitideas

      October 3, 2017 at 5:08 pm

      Thank you!

  • SomersetMum

    October 3, 2017 at 7:45 pm

    I have always worried about how much time is just right but actually he’s always watching dinosaur documentaries or we have his tv time at breakfast so I don’t think it’s such a bad thing! He’s so active some times screen time means quiet time for him which works well! This post has made me not worry quite as much! #tacticaltuesday

    1. rabbitideas

      October 3, 2017 at 8:43 pm

      Such a hard balance to get right- I think many of us probably do worry too much, if they are active most of the day then a little bit of constructive tech-time is probably fine 😉

  • SweetDreamer

    October 4, 2017 at 4:49 am

    This is a wonderful list! I usually like to put on PBS shows like Daniel Tiger or something in that category, where my child is learning manners and kindness. We like to watch MasterChef together too. #tacticaltuesday

    1. rabbitideas

      October 4, 2017 at 7:40 pm

      I’ve not come across Daniel Tiger but Masterchef sounds like a good one for both of you to enjoy!

  • Kelly-Anne | Mimi Rose and Me

    October 4, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    Wow, you have some awesome ideas here. My daughter adore learning about animals and the world! Great suggestions.

  • Alice | Letters to my Daughter

    October 7, 2017 at 2:11 pm

    Love these ideas, especially the typing together one. My daughter likes to do puzzles games on my phone and we’ve got a few duck duck moose educational apps. Sometimes paw patrol sneak through though! Thanks for sharing 🙂 #thesatsesh

  • Sarah mud cakes and wine

    October 9, 2017 at 9:11 pm

    Some great ideas, my little boy loves minecraft videos on building then copies it. I have Canva never thought about letting them loose #tacticaltuesdays

    1. rabbitideas

      October 10, 2017 at 10:26 am

      We’ve yet to explore minecraft- looks fun through!

  • The Pramshed

    October 10, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    This is a fab list and I should probably start to encourage my daughter to watch more of these, instead of wanting to watch Mr Tumble all day. I love the idea of watching construction videos on You Tube. Thanks so much for linking up at #fortheloveofBLOG. Claire x

  • Fridgesays

    October 11, 2017 at 6:58 pm

    #thesatsesh hmmm…well we use the cbeebies app sometimes, however last birthday we invested in a Leapfrog so any online use is the games on his LF. They’re all educational and i don’t have to worry about pop ups and such…perhaps i should be braver, but dealing with child protection issues everyday has killed by soul for kids online.

    1. rabbitideas

      October 12, 2017 at 2:46 pm

      Yeah, it is a tricky one- we have ‘i-pad time’ at 6pm when we can sit with them and monitor what they are on. A really difficult one as they get older…

  • Four Acorns

    October 12, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    Excellent ideas in your post to make screen-time more useful, I might even try some with my older kids (11 and 9)! My 6 yo is addicted to Minecraft, unfortunately, and although I appreciate that it is not that bad for him, his behaviour around it (taking turns, stopping when he’s asked, etc.) is awful.

    1. rabbitideas

      October 12, 2017 at 2:46 pm

      Yes, turning it off can be a real battle here, too.

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