Toddlers are busy and active kids who love to play. We know that over the last while we have loosened our restrictions on screen time, both for ourselves and for our kids.

While this is totally okay it’s also important to incorporate some screen-free time into every day. Time away from screens helps our kids to explore, discover and use their imaginations. Screen-free time allows a child’s brain to develop in ways that screen-time does not.

What can screen-free time look like for your toddler and you as a parent?

Read a book! At this age children often start showing interest in books that sound fun and use playful words and rhymes. Often children will still have favourites, so remember how important repetition can be for learning, as you embark on the 379th time you have read the same book. Favourite books at this age include

  • Sound effects and silly rhymes
  • What I Like
  • Again, Again! – repetition within a story is fun.
  • Outdoors focus

Blow bubbles with your child. When toddler age rolls around, children often love bubbles though they may not yet be able to blow them easily. If blowing bubbles, through the hole in the wand, is challenging, catch a bubble on the wand and have your child blow the bubble off.  Again, help them expand their vocabularies by using action and describing words – pop, stomp, clap, catch, blow, dip, big, little, low, high, shiny. Take and label your turns and try to encourage “my turn” and “your turn”

Hooray for Playdough! Playdough is an all-time favorite activity for children and Speech-Language Pathologists alike.  You can make the playdough yourself. There are hundreds of recipes out there right now for no-cook playdough and involving your kids in this process can be half the fun!

Home is design central. Don’t worry about all the store-bought tools, instead find things around the house to use for cutting or rolling (ea. popsicle sticks, a plastic knife, paper towel rolls, smooth rocks, etc.) and for making imprints or designs (e.g. twisty straws, zippers, buttons, leaves, etc). Encourage your toddler to use their senses by exploring and experimenting. Limiting store-bought materials also encourages the development of creativity.

Bring in the language. Your goal should be interacting back and forth about what your child is doing with the playdough. Make comments about and offer praise for their creations.  Be sure to have a ball of it for yourself so you can copy what your child does, and model new ideas he/she may copy.

If you would like information that is more specific to your child, please do not hesitate to email your S-LP directly, or you can email NONA’s Therapies Supervisor at and she will be able to help you out or direct your request to someone who can. We are here to help.