What’s more fun for your toddler than watching their favorite show or movie? Making one themself! If you’re looking for a fun way to cut down on your little one’s screen time, try challenging them to get behind the camera – either literally or metaphorically – before turning on the TV (or the smartphone, or the tablet) to watch just one more thing.
Movie-making challenge variations
- Baby’s Favorite, The Sequel: When Baby finishes watching their very favorite show or movie, try asking them to show you (or to work out on their own) what they think happens next in the story after the credits roll. They can do this by dressing up as a character themself, using toys for each different character, or some combination of the two. Figuring out what happens next will exercise their imagination, and the familiar characters may help keep them engaged, even if pretend-play isn’t what they originally wanted to do.
- Play it again, Sam: Before you give in to Baby’s plea to see that beloved show or movie one more time, ask them if they can recreate it for you. You may be shocked by how many of the lines they know word for word.
- Lights, camera, action: Toddlers love having their parents’ attention on them, and capturing your little one’s own performance on video is a great way to prove that you’re paying perfect attention. Plus, you’ll be glad to have these videos around as they grow up.
Activities like these can actually be meaningful ways to start teaching young children how to watch movies and TV critically, instead of just accepting all of the stories and biases being presented on the screen. Asking your little one to dress up in a wacky outfit and act out their favorite character’s approach to what comes after the happily-ever-after is not only fun, it’s also a great first step toward media literacy.