Links to reputable information about screen time and preschoolers

Government Report on the Effects of Screen Time and Preschoolers

This report, published in 2019 by the Ministry of Social Development (NZ) contains up-to-date reliable evidence supporting the use of less screens with preschoolers.

The study analysed data from more than 5,000 preschoolers and found that children who watched more than one hour per day 2 years old were more likely to be obese, have more illnesses and visits to the doctor, have lower physical motor skills, and may exhibit hyperactivity problems at 4.5 years of age.

You can download the full report on the link above.

Sit Less, Move More, Sleep Well: Active Play Guidelines for Under-Fives

An easy to read report, published in 2017 by the Ministry of Health. Contains up to date international research findings that inform public health guidelines here in New Zealand.

Has practical tips and advice on how to promote and get preschoolers sitting less, moving more, and sleeping well.

Brainwave Trust – Tots, Toddlers, and TV: The potential harm

A short 4 page informative fact sheet discussing the effects of excess screen time for young children. Sections are broken down into parent-child interactions, play, language, attention an other.

Brainwave Trust are a trusted reliable source of parenting information in New Zealand.

A psychologist and marketing professor Mom and Dad team, this is an awesome website with heaps of free info and ideas to help you on your journey to less screens. From their website:

Screen-Free Parenting is a counter-culture blog designed to support you wherever you are on the screen spectrum. Screen-free, screen-limiters or screen-embracers all deserve research-based information to help them make the best tech-wise choices for their families.

Screen Free Parenting helped me feel not-so-alone when I started my own screen reduction in our house. Because sometimes you can feel a little bit like the odd parent out.

Janet Lansbury Articles

As a parent and educator, I absolutely LOVE Janet Lansbury’s respectful approach to children and parenting. She has occasionally discussed screen time on her blog/podcast and has a really down to earth respectful approach to it that is worth reading about. Here are the links:

A Creative Alternative to Baby TV Time

Not Easy to Cut off Screen Time

The Facts About Your Kids and Screen Time (podcast interview with Dr Meghan Owenz of Screen-Free Parenting – transcribed)

Screen Time Studies Parents Should Know About (Guest Post by Meghan Owenz, PhD – follow up to above podcast interview).

Sensible Screen Use in Schools

Founded in 2019 by a paediatric physiotherapist Julie Cullen, this website was developed with the help of a group of parents and professionals who believe that the way digital technology is commonly used in many schools in New Zealand is not meeting the goals of the 2020 digital curriculum.

This website reviews the research behind device use in education. It explains why we need moderate, purposeful and evidence-based use of digital technology by schools and what can be done to influence change.

(Information taken from, September 2019).


To be added.


Here are some of the play resources that can lead to hours of creative play in our house. Most of these resources are what’s classed as “open ended toys”.

I like to call them ‘play resources’ as they are enhancing children’s play in a way that I don’t feel that the word ‘toy’ gives justice to.

When we value children’s play and the resources that accompany it, we are adding value to their development. An aspect of this mindset is being intentional with what ‘play resources’ we are providing them with.


We love love LOVE magnatiles in our house and they are by far the most played with item. They can be a huge investment if you purchase the original branded version. You can read about my decision making here in a blog post I wrote a few years ago.

I recently discovered an alternative brand that is very comparable in terms of design and quality to original magnatiles. We use them at our playcentre and I have been impressed at their use. The supplier is a New Zealand company and provides them at a very reasonable price compared to buying the original brand off Amazon as I did!

$60NZD for a 69 piece set. I would recommend two sets for extending play between siblings and friends. The 69 pieces includes a few window “inserts” which are not magnetic!

Magnatiles are the type of play resource that all ages enjoy. Even Mums and Dads! Sometimes when I find myself needing to re-connect through play with my kids, Magnatiles is my go-to choice of what to do with them. There’s something strangely fun about seeing what you can make together. Grandads, Uncles, and the older neighbourhood tweenagers tend to love them too!

Rock-it Board

A Rock-it Board (also known as a KinderBoard) is one of my absolute favourite play resources. It can be a bridge, tunnel, ship, slide, house…. whatever the children imagine! And of course, using it to rock builds their gross motor and vestibular (balance system) development.

Some of the boards from

You will be astounded seeing what your children come up with as they play with this board.

It can be particularly handy for children who are needing to work on their core strength and/or feel calmed by a rocking sensation (don’t we all?!).

The particular brand of boards that I have linked to are made in New Zealand in the sunny Hawkes Bay. Made by hand, by buying from this company you are supporting a small family business and our local economy! This is the brand we own in our house – we have the Little Earth which has been perfectly suitable for our children who are ages 6, 5, and 2.5 years.

Peg People (also known as ‘Pips’)

These cute wee things are just adorable! Before I bought them I wasn’t sure what all the fuss was about, but decided to go ahead with them for a Christmas gift for our two year old in 2018. She LOVES them! She carries them around in a wee basket, sets them up in small world play, and hides them in magnatile creations. I love that they are sustainably made and can be gender neutral.

The link above is to a small family business Moo & The Gang. They are a wonderful business to support and have a beautiful range of sustainably and ethically made play resources.

Moo & The Gang have generously given a discount code for you to use! Enter the code STAYATHOME for 10% off any order. Thank you M&TG!

Rainbow Stacker

A rainbow stacker is, again, one of those play resources which you can never be quite sure about prior to seeing it in use. It can seem like one of those things that just sit on people’s insta-perfect play shelves for looks only, and not get used much.

However, once you see them in action with creative children’s imaginations at work, again, you might just be amazed. We have one from Moo & The Gang (their ‘large’ one).

Our children tend to use it flat on the floor, alongside animals or the little pip people for small world play. They sometimes use it to build and stack amazing creations, but I will say that that kind of play tends to occur when an adult is involved in the play as well.

One thing to be aware of is that these rainbows from Moo&TheGang are *not* the same as Grimms ones. They are skinnier in width – approx 30mm compared to about twice that of Grimms. It does make a difference in the stacking ability, as it takes more skill to stack a skinnier set of rainbows! Also M&TG products are perfectly imperfect – the rainbow pieces fit together in a certain way according to the groove and individual cut. We love them!

Moo & The Gang have generously given a discount code for you to use! Enter the code STAYATHOME for 10% off any order. Thank you M&TG!