GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — As the long holiday stretch continues, health experts want you and your kids to get off technology.

Helen Devos Children’s Hospital child life specialists Jeannine Brown and Megan Verburg shared with News 8 several interactive and creative activities families can partake in to promote the creation and behavioral development.

“We have these sensory bags,” Brown said, which are made with simple shaving cream and dye. “Kids can play with them … and if you put a picture underneath it, kids can do the hide-and-seek (game) and find it.”

Brown also shared an easy recipe for homemade playdough, which can be used for up to four weeks.

For the older tweens and teens who are tempted to use social media or mindlessly scroll, Verburg suggested using apps to teach children a new skill.

“Those are tools,” she said. To help with “learning how to knit, learning how to do watercolors. …There’s a big difference in using that media as meaningful content for engagement … versus that kind of mindless hours on end scrolling.”

Verburg said studies had found excessive technology use in kids impacts their ability to have meaningful conversations, process their emotions and regulate new and challenging situations.

HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE PLAYDOUGH

  • 1 cup of Flour
  • 2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1/2 cup of salt
  • 1 tablespoon cooking oil
  • 1 cup of boiled water
  • A few drops of food coloring

Begin by boiling your water. While your water is boiling, combine all other ingredients in a bowl except the food coloring. Once your water is boiled, add a few drops of food coloring, and stir until blended.

Next, add tiny amounts of boiled water to your ingredients and stir as you add. Continue until all water is added (1 CUP total). Stir well, it takes a while to get to the play dough consistency. Adjust as needed.

Sometimes I add a bit more water, flour, or oil to get the consistency I like. If it is too sticky, add a bit more flour and oil. If it is too dry, add a bit more water and a little oil.

Playdough can be used for more than four weeks. Toss after about a month or two. Store your play dough in a sealed container in the fridge to increase the amount of time it lasts.