Petits Filous: Let Them Be Bored Challenge

Last month I shared how we are working with Petits Filous to promote their latest campaign and the importance of free play. As part of this campaign we took part in the Let Them Be Bored Challenge, where instead of jumping in and directing the children’s play (even when they mutter the dreaded words “I’m bored!), we simply stepped back and let them work through their boredom and Play Free, making sure they didn’t reach for the tablets, smart phones or TV as a boredom filler.

I’ll be honest with you, I was nervous about how this challenge would go as, despite the fact that my children love to play, I do rely on the TV or the iPads at certain points throughout the day to get things done or even just get a few extra minutes in bed on the weekend! I was worried that the children would whinge the moment I said they could not have the TV or play on the iPad and, if truth be told, I was worried that I might just crumble and give in!

So I did what any parent would do in this situation, and I passed the book. I told them that the iPads were broken and the TV wouldn’t turn on and, rather than whinge and cry and throw themselves on the floor in protest, they simply accepted it!

And so the challenge began and by the end of our first week I had noticed a number of things….

1. The children were just as happy without screen time 

Once all technology had been removed the children simply got on with it and, instead of reaching for the iPad in boredom, they reached for a toy or a book, completely without prompting. Of course we had a couple of moments where the children muttered, “I’m bored!” and yet I simply told them, “Find something to do!”, and they did!

2. Their imaginations have no limits

One of my favourite things about this challenge was seeing that the children’s imaginations have no limits. I was lucky enough to speak with leading play expert Anita Cleare who told me that the longer a child plays, the more imaginative and elaborate their games will become. So in that first half hour they may play with a toy in the conventional way but an hour in they may have created a whole new use for a toy – a regular garage may have become a space station, a truck a flying saucer, and those ideas just grow and grow.

I loved seeing their games unfold and hearing their enthusiasm as they got into their play. It made me realise that at this age we should be encouraging their imaginations at every opportunity we get.

3. They are creatures of habit

One thing which I found particularly interesting, and one which Anita told me was very common in children, is that children tend to go back to whichever game or toy they last played with and pick up where they left off. I found this to be the case each morning when the children would rush off to resume their play in exactly the same way, with exactly the same toys, and yet despite it starting off in the same way, it never ended up going in the same direction twice!

4. The children looked forward to playing each day 

One of the biggest surprises for me, after the first few days without the television to watch in the morning, was that the children started to look forward to playing each day. “Once we’ve had our breakfast can we go and play?” they would ask before school, “If we get dressed fast will there be time to play?”.

“Let’s play that superhero game when we get in, okay?” they would say as we walked home from school. “Is there time to play before bed?” they would plead. And I found that particularly lovely, and also quite sad really, that without technology my children had simply reverted back to free play in a way that my brother and I had done, all of those years ago, before technology came along and stole a little of our childhoods.

5. Their bonds grew closer 

With the youngest three born within the space of two years, they have always been very close as siblings, something which has it’s pros and cons. Between the three of them we have a lot of arguments, a lot of tears over wanting something the other one has, and a lot of fall outs where I always end up as the referee! During this challenge I decided that I was going to take a real step back, not just from directing their play but from trying to resolve their fall outs, and see where that led.

Of course, as with all children, it wasn’t long before the children came to me, “Harry won’t give me my doll back!”, “Megan isn’t playing nicely!”, “Eva said I can’t play this game!”. And I simply told them to play nicely, to be kind, and to share their toys, and I left it up to them to decide between them how to resolve their fall out between them.

It’s interesting that the more the children played together, the more they realised that actually, playing nicely was way more fun than arguing. As the week progressed, it was so lovely to see them actually enjoying their games or imaginative play without all the bickering and fall outs. Often Gaz would come home from work and ask, “Where are the children?” as they would be in the play room, quiet as mice, hiding in their make shift den or with their heads together planning their next big adventure.

Anita explained that through play, children forge bonds and learn vital social skills to carry them through life. It was interesting for me to see that the more the children played well together, the more that spilled out into other areas of our lives. When it was time for a snack it was lovely to hear them chatting away, sometimes still in character from whichever game they had just been playing, enjoying a delicious Petits Filous yoghurt, fortified in vitamin D, giving them an energy boost for plenty more play.

At the end of our challenge I had imagined that I would be grateful to switch on the TV or charge up the iPads and enjoy a little peace and quiet again! But it turns out that children really don’t need that kind of stimulation 24/7, that free play is a fundamental part of a child’s development, and therefore should be nurtured, and that actually, left to their own devices, they have the most powerful tool they could ever need in their imagination.

We have absolutely loved taking part in the Let Them Be Bored Challenge and although I can’t promise we won’t ever be switching on the TV or handing over an iPad, especially not at 6am on a Sunday morning, I think going forward we will be making a real effort to encourage the children to play more, to use their imaginations and most of all, to simply be children.



*** I’m working with Petits Filous and BritMums promoting the #PetitsFilousPlayFree campaign about the importance of free  play.








  1. February 4, 2018 / 3:18 pm

    I try and have as much time screen free as possible like you I tell her they are broken ?‍♀️ Arts and crafts are our go to activities

    • Laura Dove
      February 4, 2018 / 7:55 pm

      Haha it’s so much easier to just pass the book! They soon stop asking! xx

  2. February 4, 2018 / 3:26 pm

    I wish us adults can go back to this state of our lives when we weren’t as dependent on technology and wireless stuff to… live and survive. My friend and I have been talking about training my godson to not be dependent on consoles/iPads/phones even though it’s usually the easy option to calm him down or to get him to behave. These days, it’s a delight to watch him read books (at four, he loves reading science books – and knows things on the periodic table!) and play with wooden train and old school stuff. It’s just – nice to hear kids create stories and let their imagination run wild!

    • Laura Dove
      February 4, 2018 / 7:55 pm

      I totally agree. I look back on my childhood and we had nothing but our imaginations. I want the same for my children too. xx

    • February 5, 2018 / 11:36 am

      My mother used to say the same thing to us when we said we were bored. We got into some great mischief but now that we are adults, it makes for some great storytelling for our children!

      • Laura Dove
        February 5, 2018 / 1:34 pm

        Haha yes! I think that’s all part and parcel of being a child isn’t it? xx

  3. February 4, 2018 / 4:13 pm

    Children are at their most creative when they are away from electronic devices. They can run around, make things and communicate more.

    • Laura Dove
      February 4, 2018 / 7:52 pm

      They should, we will most definitely be doing that from here! xx

  4. February 4, 2018 / 4:16 pm

    What a lovely challenge to take part in and it is great to see they just reverted to free play with it even seeming like a big bother to them. Children adapt amazingly.

    • Laura Dove
      February 4, 2018 / 7:51 pm

      They do! I think once you’ve broken the habit it’s so much easier! xx

  5. bryanna skye
    February 4, 2018 / 4:22 pm

    I think I need to use this on myself to be honest. I have a tendency to reach for Youtube or my phone when I’m bored or seeking distractoin

    • Laura Dove
      February 4, 2018 / 7:49 pm

      Ahh yes I think we are all guilty of that when we get bored. I need to reach for a book instead! xx

  6. February 4, 2018 / 5:24 pm

    It’s so important to find a balance when it comes to kids and technology time. I think that kids need to have time to use their creativity and imaginations without being stuck to the screen all the time.

    • Laura Dove
      February 4, 2018 / 7:48 pm

      I totally agree. I think technology does have its place but for the most part, let them be little. xx

  7. February 4, 2018 / 5:35 pm

    I have found when I take away screen time, after a day or 2 they dont even think about it and naturally are drawn to their toys and imagination. I love going on screen time week breaks – but I do need it to cook dinner some nights!

    • Laura Dove
      February 4, 2018 / 6:32 pm

      Yes exactly that! They never even asked for it after the second day! xx

  8. February 4, 2018 / 5:51 pm

    I love the idea behind this campaign and it sounds like you had some amazing results from it! I think it’s really interesting what kids can come up with when you sit back and let them think on their feet. #KCACOLS

    • Laura Dove
      February 4, 2018 / 6:31 pm

      Yes I agree. I think as grown ups we sometimes have to take a step back and let them do their own thing, it’s lovely to see them creating their own fun! xx

  9. February 4, 2018 / 6:18 pm

    What a fab challenge! We are so keen on free play time instead of constantly being on the screens (although I do use them when I need to!)

    • Laura Dove
      February 4, 2018 / 6:30 pm

      It was really interesting to see that we really don’t need technology as much as we might have thought. I worried I’d never get anything done but once they were immersed in a game I barely heard a peep! xx

  10. February 4, 2018 / 7:11 pm

    Such an important campaign I feel! My girls say all the time they’re bored and I say ‘Look around, find some toys and use your imagination’ I say they can do what they want and they usually make a massive mess but thats what childhood is all about, not just reaching for the ipad xx

  11. February 4, 2018 / 7:22 pm

    aw they look super happy in all the pics so you must be doing something right Laura! i rely on the tv and ipad sometimes too much. i think it’s about getting that balance though! #KCACOLS

  12. February 4, 2018 / 7:52 pm

    I love all of these wonderful ideas to keep them busy and not turn on a TV. These are all super creative ideas to keep them entertained and happy.

    • Laura Dove
      February 4, 2018 / 7:56 pm

      I think allowing them to make their own decisions when it comes to play is a great start. Today they spent 4 hours making a den from pillows! xx

  13. Candy
    February 4, 2018 / 9:12 pm

    I will have to show this to my daughter. Her oldest is always saying I’m bored. Thinking he needs to be entertained all the time.

    • Laura Dove
      February 4, 2018 / 10:50 pm

      Yes I think it’s actually really good for children to be bored from time to time! xx

  14. February 4, 2018 / 11:20 pm

    Great to know. We’ve a real battle with screentime in this house. I’d love there to be more free play.

    • Laura Dove
      February 5, 2018 / 1:47 pm

      I think a lot of parents are scared to limit screen play incase the children become hard work or need entertaining – myself included. Actually they adapt really quickly and I know my three realised that actually playing was so much more fun! xx

  15. February 5, 2018 / 4:57 am

    We don’t have many toys with us while we are travelling and naturally there isn’t a lot of time for screens, but we find it really helps the boys creativity. They found some stones yesterday and have been pretending they are making fires and cooking marshmallows. Today my youngest has found a bag and keep packing his toys and setting of for an adventure. It’s amazing how much they develop when left to their own devices to explore the world around them. Great campaign.

    • Laura Dove
      February 5, 2018 / 1:46 pm

      Yes! When we went camping last summer we came home and both said to each other that the children dont need even half of the toys they have! They were more than happy with a stick or just running wild, it really opens your eyes doesn’t it? xx

  16. February 5, 2018 / 4:58 am

    I couldn’t agree more. Seeing some kids around me constantly on their tablets freak me out a bit and I think that it’s a brilliant idea to let them see that there are other options.


    • Laura Dove
      February 5, 2018 / 1:45 pm

      It’s important that we give them the freedom to choose too! I think a lot of parents are guilty of trying to control play where as actually, if you just sit back then most children are more than capable of entertaining themselves! xx

  17. February 5, 2018 / 5:52 am

    What a lovely post to read! Although I don’t yet have kids, I’ve always worried about the thought of bringing up children in this technology driven world! My sister and I had the most elaborate imaginative games when we were younger, and I really hope that’s something my kids can have as well one day! x

    • Laura Dove
      February 5, 2018 / 1:44 pm

      I’m sure it will. Realising that allowing our children to be bored is such a great starting point. I think everything is so scheduled in this day and age and our children are stimulated from every angle, sometimes it’s better to just let them be! xx

  18. February 5, 2018 / 6:05 am

    I grew up on a farm way before all of today’s technology. Every time my brother and I complained about being bored, my mom shooed us out the door. It was amazing how many things we found to amuse ourselves. Whether it be fishing from the pond, building forts in the woods, riding our 3-wheeler. The things we did to pass the time resulted in some of the happiest memories I have of being a kid. x

    • Laura Dove
      February 5, 2018 / 1:44 pm

      Oh wow I bet! My grandad had a farm so whenever we went there we were in our element playing in the hay barn or picking apples in the orchard, some of my favourite memories of childhood too. It’s funny because nobody ever remembers how much fun it was to watch television do they? xx

  19. February 5, 2018 / 6:28 am

    I completely agree with having technology free time. Two years ago I never thought I could live without a TV but I do now.

    • Laura Dove
      February 5, 2018 / 1:43 pm

      Wow that’s amazing! I bet it’s so refreshing too, I am very guilty of just switching on the tv instead of trying to find my own entertainment! xx

  20. February 5, 2018 / 6:46 am

    We have fixed screen time for my son and we have introduced building kits that allow him to play whole day. He has been playing with them since he was 2.5 and still enjoys them since he could create so much.

    • Laura Dove
      February 5, 2018 / 1:42 pm

      Ah that sounds great! My children love to play, I hope that lasts for a long time. xx

  21. February 5, 2018 / 7:03 am

    It is nice to have technology but I also love giving my daughter screen free time to play and explore and use her imagination. It is lovely to see isn’t it!

    • Laura Dove
      February 5, 2018 / 1:41 pm

      It really is, I have really enjoyed this challenge! xx

  22. February 5, 2018 / 7:19 am

    I love the pic where they all have aa Petit Filou. LOL.Sometimes we can’t be bothered looking for something to do but there is so much you can do. So true kids are creatures of habits. Nothing better than going outside and getting some fresh air. I try not to give too much screen time to Baba but in the morning while i wake up with my first coffee of the day it’s a saviour lol

    • Laura Dove
      February 5, 2018 / 1:41 pm

      Haha yes, there are always going to be times when the tv or the iPad saves us a little, but for the most part if the children are bored, it’s a good thing to let them create their own amusement! xx

  23. February 5, 2018 / 7:31 am

    This is such a great idea and a fab campaign. It inspires children to think on their feet, be independent and unlock their creativity x

    • Laura Dove
      February 5, 2018 / 1:40 pm

      I agree, and nurturing that creativity is so important. We will definitely be doing more of it. xx

  24. February 5, 2018 / 8:06 am

    This is such a brilliant campaign. I limit screen time a lot here and definitely agree with the benefits of free play x

    • Laura Dove
      February 5, 2018 / 1:39 pm

      I had no idea just how many benefits there were, it’s been so interesting! xx

  25. February 5, 2018 / 8:30 am

    This is so true, I love watching my two make up games and just enjoy playing. They do seem to go back to the same toys time after time, interesting…

    • Laura Dove
      February 5, 2018 / 1:38 pm

      It was so interesting Su, I learned a lot this last few weeks! xx

  26. February 5, 2018 / 9:26 am

    My kids always have the time to play without any form of technology. So no tv or tablets. They love it but it’s part of our daily routine so I guess they just crack on with it.

    • Laura Dove
      February 5, 2018 / 1:38 pm

      Yes I didn’t actually realise there was such a thing as free play until recently, I just assumed every child played in the same way! xx

  27. Danielle
    February 5, 2018 / 10:05 am

    Being “bored” is definitely a good thing, as it lets kids use their imaginations and they are far more creative.

    • Laura Dove
      February 5, 2018 / 1:37 pm

      I totally agree. It’s a great thing to let your children be bored, we shouldn’t be trying to entertain them all the time. xx

  28. Maria
    February 5, 2018 / 10:34 am

    I love this blog post my daughter is the only child , and sometimes when I’m tired. I can’t send her to play with brother or sister I use the tv and her laptop. This article was refreshing to read I often feel guilty for being tired because I know I’m her only play mate I will definitely encourage her more to play by her self with out her Devices . Beautiful children you have

    • Laura Dove
      February 5, 2018 / 1:36 pm

      Thank you Maria. I was exactly the same with my eldest as there is such a large age gap, and often I would switch on the television when I needed to get things done. Playing by themselves is so important and is really stimulating their imaginations. I know mine have played apart just as much as they have played together, it’s so interesting to watch it unfold! xx

  29. February 5, 2018 / 11:31 am

    I imagine when kids get bored it makes them more creative with what they play with x

    • Laura Dove
      February 5, 2018 / 1:35 pm

      Yes definitely, and that’s always a good thing! xx

  30. February 5, 2018 / 11:32 am

    Some kids really thrive on free play and others need some help. It’s definitely good for building friendships and imagination when they get going. Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next time.

    • Laura Dove
      February 5, 2018 / 1:35 pm

      Yes I agree, play is such a bonding experience for children! xx

  31. February 5, 2018 / 11:35 am

    This sounds like an excellent campaign. At the weekends when we have Luke, we rarely have the TV on and he doesn’t have a tablet or phone to play on. I just think about all the money I’ve spent on toys and all the room that they’re taking up in his bedroom…it’s just silly not to play with them all! 😀

    • Laura Dove
      February 5, 2018 / 1:34 pm

      I totally agree!! It’s interesting what happens when you remove screen time and stop directing play, they end up playing with toys from two, three years ago! xx

  32. February 5, 2018 / 11:51 am

    We try and do as much screen free time as possible. one of my twins is much better than the other. Its so important for them to explore their playtime creative sides 🙂

    • Laura Dove
      February 5, 2018 / 1:33 pm

      Yes definitely, I think things like the iPads will always have a place, especially for long car journeys, but encouraging free play is so important at a young age. xx

  33. February 5, 2018 / 11:55 am

    Fantastic post this. It shows a whole other way of looking at screen time for your kids!

    • Laura Dove
      February 5, 2018 / 1:32 pm

      Yes it’s really made me think about why restrictions are so important! xx

  34. February 5, 2018 / 12:09 pm

    Mine have definitely been better behaved since doing this experiment and I love being in earshot listening to their games

    • Laura Dove
      February 5, 2018 / 1:32 pm

      Oh me too! Me and Gaz have loved eavesdropping at the door! xx

  35. February 5, 2018 / 12:10 pm

    I think free play is really important. I remember playing, mums & Dads, hospitals, vets, cafes and libraries when I was little #KCACOLS

    • Laura Dove
      February 5, 2018 / 1:32 pm

      Yes me too! There was always something to do and play! xx

  36. February 5, 2018 / 12:35 pm

    I am all for this challenge! NO TV. NO TABLET. NO PHONE. Just good old imagination just like when I was a child! A lot of my creativity comes from my imaginations and how wild it ran as a child!

    • Laura Dove
      February 5, 2018 / 1:31 pm

      I totally agree. I love to see them just playing and being children, there’s a lot to be said for a world before technology took over. xx

  37. February 5, 2018 / 1:25 pm

    This is a great challenge. Free play is very important as it allows children to be children. This challenge goes to show that the children don’t need the iPad or tv to be entertained or ‘stretched’. I love that they bonded more through their play. Very interesting post!

    • Laura Dove
      February 5, 2018 / 1:31 pm

      Thanks Victoria, I found it so interesting to see how fast they adapted without it and actually how much better it was for them to be free of screen time too! xx

  38. February 5, 2018 / 2:04 pm

    Yes to this! Children really are masters of play if we just give them the space to do it! Gorgeous pictures as always hun x

    • Laura Dove
      February 5, 2018 / 5:03 pm

      Thank you Talya, we really enjoyed this challenge! xx

  39. February 5, 2018 / 2:27 pm

    Free and imaginative play is so important and like you, we also limit screen time and have found that while the kids are sometimes reluctant to put tablets away, they have a huge amount of fun together without them.

    • Laura Dove
      February 5, 2018 / 5:02 pm

      I think once they’ve broken that habit of not reaching for the iPad when they are bored, it becomes far easier to leave them to free play. Of course, we all have days when the iPad saves our sanity!! xx

  40. February 5, 2018 / 4:05 pm

    Your right their imagination is HUGE! My little ones play very nicely together. They don’t do too bad when electronics are off. It may take a bit to heat up but, then they are playing with everything.

    • Laura Dove
      February 5, 2018 / 4:57 pm

      Yes it was interesting to hear from Anita that children do take a while to warm up! I guess it makes sense! xx

  41. Bobbi
    February 5, 2018 / 6:25 pm

    Sometimes when kids are “bored” they find the best parts of their imaginations. I love to watch little ones figure out what to come up with to play.

    • Laura Dove
      February 5, 2018 / 7:56 pm

      I totally agree. Letting them be bored is a really important lesson to learn. xx

  42. Joline
    February 5, 2018 / 6:56 pm

    I was so curious to know how this turned out! Happy to hear it worked very well for you guys. My sister is trying to do the same thing for my niece…when she would ask to watch cartoons or ask for the ipad, they would tell her that it’s broken or something. There was the initial crying but you’re right, my niece found something ultimately more interesting to do. She still asks for the tablet once in a while but she’s not attached to it anymore 🙂

    • Laura Dove
      February 5, 2018 / 7:56 pm

      Yes that’s exactly it. They soon learn to break the habit of asking for it and, although they do still have it occasionally, it gets to a point where they don’t expect it in the same way. xx

  43. February 5, 2018 / 7:05 pm

    children are a big ball of wonder! I wish I could just have the energy of them with the carefree. Let the imagination of a child run free 🙂

    • Laura Dove
      February 5, 2018 / 7:55 pm

      Oh me too. Although I like to think I’m still capable of using my imagination, I think you carry that through life don’t you? xx

  44. February 5, 2018 / 7:32 pm

    My kids are actually more pleasant to be around with less screen time. It’s enforcing it that I find hard.

    I’m planning on getting them all out of the house over half term in an effort to get them away from their screens and make more memories.

    • Laura Dove
      February 5, 2018 / 7:54 pm

      YES!! I really noticed that too! I found just not charging their iPads and saying they were broken was surprisingly easy, they literally just accepted it and stopped asking! xx

  45. February 5, 2018 / 7:32 pm

    More often than not I have the TV on in the background but my 3 year old can take it or leave it. She quite prefers role playing with her toys x

    • Laura Dove
      February 5, 2018 / 7:54 pm

      Yes we always had it on, more out of habit really! There is always going to be a need for screen time, but for the most part I’m happiest letting mine play. xx

  46. February 5, 2018 / 7:49 pm

    My mummy is glad that she never introduced a tablet to me! It would be a nightmare trying to get me away from it now. We tend to play together a lot, however as an only child I find ways to keep myself amused too thankfully…I end up creating massive stories in my head. Totally agree that children do tend to pick up where they left off with toys. I’ve been playing with Scooby Doo and making up scary scenarios. Each time they end up a different way!

    • Laura Dove
      February 5, 2018 / 7:52 pm

      It’s so interesting isn’t it? I love to see their imaginations grow, I never want that to stop! xx

  47. February 5, 2018 / 7:52 pm

    I think the idea of ‘child directed play is a good idea’ although like you said sometimes it is all too easy to hand over an I Pad and be done with it. At the same time when we watch children take full control of their ‘play sessions’ it is very interesting to see what they come up with in regards to their play sessions. For example my foster sister would play with her toys all day if she could!

  48. February 5, 2018 / 8:04 pm

    I do this every so often as I get fed up of the tablets and my daughter watches the same programmes over and over so that even I know the words. I plant the seed with a few ideas and leave the rest to her imagination. My daughter had the most amazing imagination so she comes up with some great ideas. She makes the biggest messes during her imaginative play but she really enjoys it 🙂

    • Laura Dove
      February 6, 2018 / 9:35 am

      Yes! Our playroom gets totally trashed but it’s fine, I can shut the door and leave it all behind at bedtime! xx

  49. February 5, 2018 / 9:05 pm

    Oh I loved this post, how sweet! I need to try a little more with the no screens thing. It’s just been so hard recently with the terrible weather…

    • Laura Dove
      February 6, 2018 / 9:33 am

      I agree, it’s a bad time of year with the weather. I can’t wait for the spring! xx

  50. February 5, 2018 / 9:11 pm

    We have started something similar. It’s great to see them finally reading, playing with each other and being active outside.

    • Laura Dove
      February 6, 2018 / 9:33 am

      Yes it’s great to see. And they didn’t ask for the iPads even once! xx

  51. February 5, 2018 / 9:23 pm

    I love the idea of this challenge. When I think back to my own childhood I didn’t rely on my parents or technology to keep me entertained and something that I have been keen to pass on to my own children.

    • Laura Dove
      February 6, 2018 / 9:33 am

      Yes I agree, we were out from morning til night entertaining ourselves! xx

  52. February 5, 2018 / 9:32 pm

    Brilliant! Kids will seek play easily if there isn’t a easier option. Bit like me and chocolate biscuits!! That’s an easy option! Lovely post.

    • Laura Dove
      February 6, 2018 / 9:32 am

      Hahah yes!! I’ll pick up an apple if there’s no chocolate in the house! xx

  53. February 5, 2018 / 10:12 pm

    It’s amazing how creative and occupied they can be when we allow them to push through the boredom barrier, isn’t it? I remember the first summer I vowed that I would allow the kids to get bored as I was not their entertainment director and it was the best thing I ever did. Mich x

    • Laura Dove
      February 6, 2018 / 9:31 am

      That’s great! I think a lot of us worry about them getting bored and yet actually, it’s a really positive thing for children! xx

  54. February 5, 2018 / 10:33 pm

    They all look so happy & it’s lovely to see them playing & using their imaginations. What a good challenge! x

    • Laura Dove
      February 6, 2018 / 9:30 am

      Thanks Kayleigh, it’s always lovely to see them play! xx

  55. February 5, 2018 / 11:07 pm

    Fab post Laura! I agree it’s important for them to be able to play freely, without having screen time. Although we do let Sophie watch her tablet most days, she does also spend a lot of time playing with her toys by herself and using her imagination! X

    • Laura Dove
      February 6, 2018 / 9:28 am

      Yes I think as long as you get the balance right there is a place for everything! xx

  56. February 5, 2018 / 11:18 pm

    This is a wonderful challenge! I remember all of my siblings and I would physically play all day, it helps create bonds. I wish my children weren’t so dependent on electronics for entertainment. I’ll need to help them realize that they’ve got each other.

    • Laura Dove
      February 6, 2018 / 9:27 am

      Yes I think removing the electronics actually made them bond more over play. It was lovely to see!

  57. February 5, 2018 / 11:32 pm

    I rely on the TV far too much but we have a play room now so I plan on turning the TV off more and letting them use their imagination

    • Laura Dove
      February 6, 2018 / 9:10 am

      Yes we don’t have a tv in the playroom which is always a bonus! xx

  58. February 6, 2018 / 1:02 am

    This is fantastic! What a great campaign, and yes free play is so important. I do rely on the TV in the mornings (to allow me to wake up properly) or tablets late evening (when everyones grumpy and tired) but generally during the day it’s free play time all the time!

    • Laura Dove
      February 6, 2018 / 9:10 am

      Yes and I think we all do that, and it’s absolutely fine. I’m definitely not an advocate of having no TV, sometimes I need it just to get some house work done! xx

  59. February 6, 2018 / 1:15 am

    I am terrible for overusing screen time for myself and I can’t imagine I do any better for my toddler, as soon as we’ve had breakfast, we go into the living room and the TV goes on and he plays and that’s pretty much it with breaks for tidying or dinner time. I definitely need to stop turning the TV on so much and to let him do his thing, especially as his mind is definitely working overtime at the minute, every day he has a new way of playing with a certain toys. At the minjte, he’s loving little figures and animals he can use as figures. It’s so sweet xx

    • Laura Dove
      February 6, 2018 / 9:09 am

      Ahh I think we all do the same though, and it’s absolutely fine, I’m all about doing whatever it takes to get through the day. That said, turning off the tv allows them to focus on using their imaginations and free play without the distraction. I know mine have come up with so many elaborate games since we started this! xx

  60. February 6, 2018 / 1:22 am

    That’s awesome, even at times I too practise this and club stories and free play which gives them so much of fun. Screen time sometimes goes to zero and their imaginations go up!

    • Laura Dove
      February 6, 2018 / 9:07 am

      Yes I agree, instead of turning to screens to deal with boredom, just use your imagination! It’s amazing where it takes them! xx

  61. February 6, 2018 / 3:38 am

    When my children were still little ones and they spoke the dreaded “I’m bored” phrase, I would always tell them “I guess it’s time to let your imagination come out a play then”…? Also, when they were too loud and rowdy especially in the car we would play the “Opossum Game.” Which they loved…lol. Thankfully the first half of their childhood we didn’t have smart phones and tablets?

    • Laura Dove
      February 6, 2018 / 9:07 am

      Oh that’s great! I think all children utter those dreaded words from time to time and we usually step in and try to direct them to find something to do. I love that leaving them to their own devices can lead to such creativity! xx

  62. February 6, 2018 / 10:18 am

    I agree that we should teach children things to do and skills that are not dependant of wifi and electronic devices, but we should also teach them how to master internet life and electronic devices, because that’s the future, that’s how their life would be

    • Laura Dove
      February 11, 2018 / 10:22 pm

      Yes I think it’s just about getting the balance right isn’t it? xx

  63. February 6, 2018 / 10:31 am

    I certainly love this idea. I hope many parents still do this kind of making their kids play instead of watching via internet and palying games with their gadgets. I still love this kind of way to let kids play.

    • Laura Dove
      February 11, 2018 / 10:22 pm

      Me too, I think play is the best way for children to learn! xx

  64. February 6, 2018 / 11:10 am

    It amazing at how quickly they can find something to do when you take away the screens. I think this type of parenting is much more fun and gets them engaging and interacting more and I’ll be doing this when my daughter is a bit older. It creates memories that you’ll love to talk about rather than remembering that time we sat on the ipad!

    • Laura Dove
      February 11, 2018 / 10:18 pm

      Yes it’s funny how soon they stop asking for it too and focus on creating their own enjoyment! xx

  65. February 6, 2018 / 11:25 am

    If I complained about being bored when I was a kid, my parents would say “Only boring people get bored!”

    I was encouraged to find something to do myself and I try to do the same for my kids too. I think it’s really important.

    • Laura Dove
      February 11, 2018 / 10:17 pm

      Yes! That’s so funny because mine said the same and actually it’s very true! xx

  66. Chuck
    February 6, 2018 / 11:39 am

    Love the idea!! I guess I have to try this at our home too. Thanks!!

    • Laura Dove
      February 11, 2018 / 10:17 pm

      Thank you Chuck! xx

  67. February 6, 2018 / 11:45 am

    This is such a great campaign idea. I really do need to learn to switch the TV off more actually.
    Also love the superhero capes xx

    • Laura Dove
      February 11, 2018 / 10:16 pm

      Thank you, we really enjoyed taking part! xx

  68. February 6, 2018 / 11:48 am

    Tyler is only one but he doesn’t seemed fussed for the tv just yet! I hope that he continues to not be bothered for it and just enjoy his toys!

    • Laura Dove
      February 11, 2018 / 10:16 pm

      Ahh that’s great. It’s lovely to see them play! xx

  69. February 6, 2018 / 12:50 pm

    I have a 2 year old so play time still involves me being around very close to him, he is not really “playing” independently yet, but once we get there I bet I’ll explore all those you’ve listed above. TV time in our household is very limited, only a few cartoons before bath time in the evening, but recently – because he was sick with high fever – we let him watch more tv to keep him calm in bed to get enough rest during the day. Once we did that I immediately saw the negative effect of too much screen time, so I’m even more aware of it than I was before.

    • Laura Dove
      February 11, 2018 / 10:12 pm

      Yes it’s a tough one isn’t it? I think it’s just about getting the right balance and one which works for you personally and your child. xx

  70. February 6, 2018 / 1:05 pm

    Aww, your kiddos are so cute! And this sounds like an awesome challenge. I don’t have children yet, but I’m planning on limiting their technology use when I do…it sounds like it worked pretty well for you, and it’s great that your children were able to get creative and play on their own without that or interjection from a parent! That’s awesome!

    • Laura Dove
      February 11, 2018 / 10:10 pm

      Thank you Holly! We really enjoyed it! xx

  71. February 6, 2018 / 2:59 pm

    Fantastic campaign idea and one we can definitely all learn from!

    • Laura Dove
      February 11, 2018 / 10:07 pm

      Thank you Georgina! xx

  72. February 6, 2018 / 6:16 pm

    This is such a fab campaign. We went a week without iPads before Christmas (I’d had enough of our older two’s lives revolving around them!) and after the initial grumpiness they actually got on OK. They played with toys they hadn’t’ played with for years! It was lovely to see. They now have access to the iPads but they’re not as reliant on them which is so much better.

    • Laura Dove
      February 11, 2018 / 10:03 pm

      Yes I think that’s exactly what we found too. It just breaks that habit of reaching for the iPad every time they get bored! xx

  73. February 6, 2018 / 6:26 pm

    One of the best posts I have read from anyone in quite a while. I used to LOVE to play outside so much….we used to build forts out in this little section of woods. We would dig huge holes,create rooms and put roofs on them…then play for weeks,creating new adventures and the like. And I discovered reading very quickly and never let it was an escape from a not very nice upbringing and I discovered so many great writers. This was awesome.

    • Laura Dove
      February 11, 2018 / 10:01 pm

      Thank you Patrick! That’s exactly what I want for my children too. Childhood should be one big adventure and I’m determined to encourage them to do exactly that! xx

  74. February 6, 2018 / 6:36 pm

    This is an awesome idea. Every time I visit my nephew and niece I try to play with them and get them away from all those laptops, iPads they have around them.

    • Laura Dove
      February 11, 2018 / 9:57 pm

      That’s a great idea. I bet they love having your over to play xx

  75. February 6, 2018 / 7:22 pm

    I loved reading this! My children don’t have iPads although they do have TV time as I believe so much in free play and I love watching their imaginations and games they come up with I think this is just wonderful.

    • Laura Dove
      February 11, 2018 / 9:55 pm

      Thank you Laura! We really enjoyed it and it was so interesting to see how they threw themselves into this! xx

  76. February 6, 2018 / 7:31 pm

    I’m so pleased you did a follow up. It’s great to see the positive impact free play is having x

    • Laura Dove
      February 11, 2018 / 9:55 pm

      Thank you Leah! xx

  77. February 6, 2018 / 8:16 pm

    It’s so great to have time away from technology and actually going forward we will see more people wanting to switch off from it. My little boy loves to draw and loves Lego so I feel so happy he has a bit of balance. So glad your children enjoyed themselves x

    • Laura Dove
      February 11, 2018 / 9:54 pm

      Thank you Louise. It was so interesting! xx

  78. February 6, 2018 / 9:03 pm

    I was rally quite scared of stopping the TV but its really made a difference in our house too. I had never really thought about the fact that they go back to their previous games, but its so true. Love the look of the superheroes. We will be trying to do the same and stay away from the electronics. x

    • Laura Dove
      February 11, 2018 / 9:54 pm

      It was so interesting wasn’t it? I love that the more they play the more elaborate their games become too, it’s been a real eye opener! xx

  79. February 6, 2018 / 9:50 pm

    See this is what a proper childhood is all about in my book – free play without iPads! It’s entirely our fault for giving them to Caitlin and Ieuan but when they are occasionally removed, it’s amazing how quickly they do play together and also how they ‘regress’ to their true age.

    I think that’s the most worrying thing about technology – it ages our kids beyond their years without giving them the understanding of what they are seeing.

    A fascinating experiment.

    • Laura Dove
      February 11, 2018 / 9:53 pm

      It’s hard isn’t it as we have to move with the times, but at the same time I long for a childhood like I had in the 80’s! I guess its all about finding the right balance. xx

  80. February 6, 2018 / 10:49 pm

    They all look so cute in their superhero costumes. I really love this campaign as I think kids are missing out on the fun of free play due to the increase in technology devices. I remember all the fun that was had when I was younger and we played on the streets or in the house and relied so much on our imagination

    • Laura Dove
      February 11, 2018 / 9:51 pm

      Ahh thank you, we really enjoyed going back to basics! xx

  81. February 6, 2018 / 11:27 pm

    It sounds as though they had an amazing time, even with a lack of technology. I’m jot sure if my teen and tween would cope ha x

    • Laura Dove
      February 11, 2018 / 9:50 pm

      Ahh I bet they would surprise you! xx

  82. February 7, 2018 / 7:10 am

    I allow my children to have free play most of the time. It wasn’t always this way as I also relied on screen time to keep them entertained while I was busy. Now they are only allowed a small amount of screen time. The rest if the day is filled with free play along with reading, drawing, crafts, and other educational activities.

    • Laura Dove
      February 11, 2018 / 9:49 pm

      I think we all have to do whatever it takes to get through our day. It’s all about finding the balance. xx

  83. February 7, 2018 / 10:11 am

    This sounds like a great challenge. I’m quite lucky with Oscar as he would rather play than sit on the iPad or watch TV, but he does prefer it if I play with him rather than by himself. Which is great, but it can become a little bit exhausting after a while. LOL.

    Louise x

    • Laura Dove
      February 11, 2018 / 9:49 pm

      On the days it’s just Harry and I he does like me to sit and play with him, but it isn’t always possible is it! xx

  84. stephanie myers
    February 7, 2018 / 10:19 am

    Sounds like such a fab campaign, I’m all for screen-free time. Emily much prefers drawing, baking or cooking to watching the television. She does like her ipad though, and plays some educational games on there, but not very often.

    • Laura Dove
      February 11, 2018 / 9:47 pm

      Yes mine do too, there are some great apps these days though! It’s just all about the balance! xx

  85. February 7, 2018 / 6:37 pm

    Getting your kids away from screen time is so very important. It looks like they had a great time. I wish my daughter had siblings. I know she would have loved them like that. I try to be the person she plays with but it doesn’t always work out the way I would like.

    • Laura Dove
      February 11, 2018 / 9:45 pm

      I remember when I had just Lewis and he wanted me to play with him all the time! It’s quite nice that mine can all play together. xx

  86. Our Family World
    February 7, 2018 / 6:48 pm

    I understand the importance of free play because it fosters creativity in young children. During those times when my kids use the iPad, I disconnect it from the Wi-fi so all they can access there are the education apps that I have downloaded. Technology can be both good and bad, depending on how it is being used by the kids.

    • Laura Dove
      February 11, 2018 / 9:30 pm

      Oh that’s a great idea!! Genius infect!! xx

  87. February 7, 2018 / 7:08 pm

    I used to spend hours colouring in and playing with my polly pockets. We were only ever allowed an hour of tv a night and a movie on weekends until we go to high school – I got lots of reading done.

    • Laura Dove
      February 11, 2018 / 9:28 pm

      `Oh me too! I loved polly pocket!! xx

  88. February 7, 2018 / 8:55 pm

    I think free play is SO important. My son is constantly using his imagination and as you said, he invents ways to play with his toys I would never have even thought of!

    • Laura Dove
      February 11, 2018 / 9:27 pm

      Yes! It’s fascinating to see too! xx

  89. February 7, 2018 / 9:50 pm

    I want to cut back on TV time for the littlest one. He demands it’s turned on then he just ignores it and plays anyway. It’s just wallpaper most of the time!

    • Laura Dove
      February 11, 2018 / 9:21 pm

      Yes I think that it can become habit, it’s a good idea to switch off every now and then! xx

  90. Chinedu
    February 7, 2018 / 10:55 pm

    I love this whole “free play” initiative. It’s so good allowing children’s imagination to flourish, in the future I believe it will allow them to be proactive and innovative in their studies and place of work. I loved making up games as a kid and I really think it made me a more well rounded individual as a result!

    • Laura Dove
      February 11, 2018 / 9:20 pm

      Oh me too! I used to come up with all kinds of ideas, and I consider myself creative today as a result! xx

  91. February 7, 2018 / 11:39 pm

    I really do think letting them be bored every now and then is such an important thing as well as stepping away from screens. Their imaginations really come out as does their creativity

    Laura x

    • Laura Dove
      February 11, 2018 / 9:20 pm

      I agree, my children are always their most creative when they have been bored! xx

  92. February 8, 2018 / 7:23 am

    I really like this idea about “let them be bored challenge”. These days children are so fond of smartphones and tabs and ignore many physical activities these technologies are good but not at this age.

    I have seen many parents rely on screens to get some rest while letting their child’s busy with screens. But they actually doing it all wrong for their kids.

    One of my friend and his wife had this amazing habit. They allow their kid to have a tab for a fixed time frame like 30 mins or 1 hour and in exchange, they ask their kid to finish the food. And get it done without any efforts.

    • Laura Dove
      February 11, 2018 / 9:19 pm

      Yes I agree. I do think screen time has a place, car journeys are a nightmare sometimes, but for the most part I like to encourage our children to simply be children and to use their imaginations! xx

  93. February 8, 2018 / 9:39 am

    I’m sorry, can we just talk about how GORGEOUS your home is?

    We’ve just started Amelia on petits filous to up her dairy intake whilst we wean her onto it as she has a cows milk intolerance and she loves them!

    • Laura Dove
      February 11, 2018 / 9:17 pm

      Hehe thank you! Petits Filous are our favourites, I eat just as many as the children do! xx

  94. February 8, 2018 / 10:53 am

    What a great campaign and lovely photos! I liked the tips and I hope they will come in handy some day when I have kids too. And your kids look really gorgeous 🙂

    • Laura Dove
      February 11, 2018 / 9:15 pm

      Thank you Nadine! xx

  95. February 8, 2018 / 7:51 pm

    I think it’s amazing and so lovely how quickly they adapted and how much they let their imaginations run riot. It’s great that their bond got closer over the week too and that they were so excited to play and started to learn how to deal with their sibling rivalries by themselves at times too. What a great challenge and something we definitely need to all try out. I used to always feel guilty letting my daughter play alone, especially when she said ‘i’m bored’. Even if I have things to do, I normally cave and play with her or put on the TV. But now, knowing that it’s going to help her imagination, I’m going to encourage her to play more by herself and let her get to the bored stage, without giving her technology, to see what happens.

    • Laura Dove
      February 11, 2018 / 9:15 pm

      I totally agree, I think we all feel guilty at times when we tell them to entertain themselves, but actually we are really helping to nurture their imaginations and set them up to be creative adults too! My children love to play and I will always encourage that for as long as possible! xx

  96. February 8, 2018 / 7:58 pm

    I have a two year old so I can relate to this. I think it is great to manage your child’s tech time and let them discover the world.

    • Laura Dove
      February 11, 2018 / 9:13 pm

      I agree, just let them be children for as long as possible! xx

  97. February 9, 2018 / 11:06 am

    This is one of the reasons I don’t even have a TV in any of the family rooms. I grew up without a TV and just playing with my dolls and toys and I really think it helped me creatively, so I want to encourage the same with my son. #KCACOLS

    • Laura Dove
      February 11, 2018 / 9:13 pm

      Oh I love that, I want the same for my children too! xx

  98. February 9, 2018 / 12:07 pm

    When my kids were young I would tell them I would find them jobs to do around the house if they complained about being bored, they soon found activities to keep themselves busy! #KCACOLS

    • Laura Dove
      February 11, 2018 / 9:12 pm

      Haha that’s a great idea!! Mine would too! xx

  99. February 9, 2018 / 2:55 pm

    Haha these are cool ideas. Everyone in my family catch their gadgets as soon as their eyes opened up. Good thing I bought them a Jenga stacking blocks. Now they are all busy playing on it.

    • Laura Dove
      February 11, 2018 / 9:12 pm

      Ahh we love Jenga too! So much fun! xx

  100. February 11, 2018 / 11:59 am

    How lovely to hear your children asking if they can play instead of watch TV! #KCACOLS

    • Laura Dove
      February 11, 2018 / 9:10 pm

      It really is, I love to see them play! xx

  101. February 11, 2018 / 11:11 pm

    I think it works both ways too, the minute you give in and give them an iPad, or tv, they seem to spend the whole day not sure how to use their imagination.

    • Laura Dove
      February 12, 2018 / 11:18 am

      Yes I agree, it’s a hard one to get right isn’t it? It’s half term this week and we are hoping to get out as much as possible! xx

  102. February 13, 2018 / 2:58 am

    This is a great way to reduce their screentime. Freeplay is something that many kids miss these days because of their inclination to technology.

    • Laura Dove
      February 13, 2018 / 3:52 pm

      Yes its hard in this day and age when every child seems to be glued to an iPad. Im hoping we can reduce that more and more! xx

  103. February 14, 2018 / 8:26 am

    I love this! I popped over from KCACOLS (I’m a bit late). Children have a right to play and I think we sometimes forget that children should be playing. Thank you for highlighting this and I’m so glad that your little ones have embraced the changes!

    • Laura Dove
      February 14, 2018 / 12:12 pm

      Thanks Sophie, we really enjoyed taking part! xx

  104. February 14, 2018 / 3:59 pm

    I love how they started to ask about going to play so much, how wonderful. Such a wonderful challenge.

    • Laura Dove
      February 14, 2018 / 9:17 pm

      It’s been great hasn’t it? I love seeing how much changed in a short time! xx

  105. February 14, 2018 / 7:21 pm

    Mine have definitely grown a lot closer since the challenge, too. It’s something I hadn’t anticipated, and it’s really warmed my heart to see it! Your description of telling a white lie about the gadgets being broken made me chuckle.

    • Laura Dove
      February 14, 2018 / 9:14 pm

      Hehe they still believe me now when I say they only work on a weekend!! xx

  106. February 16, 2018 / 3:28 pm

    Wow sounds like the challenge had a really positive affect on your kids! We did the challenge as well and I totally agree about them being just as happy without screens and developing a better bond

    Laura x

    • Laura Dove
      February 16, 2018 / 7:36 pm

      It makes you realise that they really don’t need much to entertain them! Their imaginations are enough! xx

  107. February 16, 2018 / 11:10 pm

    Love this post and seeing how well all the children got on. I have to say mine are creatures of habit too but the games very rarely ended in the same way which was a really interesting observation!

    • Laura Dove
      February 17, 2018 / 6:09 pm

      Yes I loved that part! It’s funny how they can play in exactly the same way, with exactly the same things, but come up with something entirely different! xx

  108. February 20, 2018 / 11:35 pm

    Urgh I here the dreaded ‘I’m bored’ words on a daily basis. I need to have a go at this challenge myself. I have to say as an adult I feel so much better with less screen time so I’m sure it would have the same effect on the kids

    • Laura Dove
      February 21, 2018 / 8:51 pm

      Oh me too! I feel so much calmer with less screen time, it works the same with the kids! xx

  109. February 23, 2018 / 12:10 pm

    They look like that had a fun time. Love the dressing up pictures. Thanks for taking part in the campaign. Commenting on behalf of myself and BritMums.

  110. March 22, 2018 / 8:10 am

    Advice and Helpful article for Parents. I will share it to my friends. Thanks.

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