Blocks and books better than electronic games for your toddler?

New research compares mothers playing with their toddlers in two different situations–one with traditional toys (a board book, a shape-and-sort toy, and a farm set), the other with electronic versions of the same toys. The researchers (Michael Wooldridge and Jen Shapka) found that the mothers playing with the electronic toys were less responsive, less educational in their play (less likely to label what was happening, for example, and less likely to expand on the child’s words), and slightly less encouraging.

They think one reason that moms might play differently with electronic toys is because they are noisy.

They speculated that the findings might be different if mothers were trained to be more creative in their use of electronic toys, and also suggested it would be interesting to see what would happen if fathers were observed in the same comparison study.


5 Responses to “Blocks and books better than electronic games for your toddler?”

  1. Thank you for sharing this. We have been raising our baby without electronic toys because we read in several places that it is not good for them, but none of the books or articles sighted the specific study. They all just said something like “experts say.” It is was nice to get a link to an actual study here. Do you know of any other research about this topic that you could direct me towards? Thanks again for the informative article 🙂

    • I don’t know of other research that’s as well-designed as this, and that compares traditional toy use with electronic toys. There is lots of work of course on the impact of older kids of video game violence, but not this particular subject.

      I should add that I’m not totally against the use of e-toys, just think that parents and others should be aware of the advantages and disadvantages and make sure they’re not unknowingly depriving their kids of what they need most– warm interaction with them! I also like the idea of the best toys being less expensive–you don’t have to spend a lot of money to be a great parent.


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