10/11/2013 07:04 pm ET Updated Dec 11, 2013

Dr. Toy's 10 Tips for Learning and Fun©

After school, on weekends and during vacation time, providing a balance is so very important for the overall well-being of children.

Children benefit from having a wide variety of activities including reading, playing games, solving puzzles, doing creative projects, building with construction toys, listening to music and being active outdoors.

Planning positive, enjoyable, informal activities can help to make a critical difference in school success, more positive behavior and less stress.

Here is a checklist of helpful playtime tips.

Dr. Toy's Ten Playtime Tips for Learning and Fun:

1. Children's toys, games, puzzles and other playthings should be easily accessible, stored in boxes, baskets and placed on shelves.
2. Encourage and limit use of TV and electronics until creative projects have been experienced, homework and chores have been completed and some active time has been spent outdoors.
3. Active play is important to children who have been in school all day. Active play offers healthy exercise plus many natural opportunities to help release stress.
4. Schedule activities children look forward to, particularly ones that offer accomplishment like exercise, music lessons, or other creative pursuits.
5. Children need to have some social time with other children outside of school. Informal play get-togethers help children build their important social and personal skills.
6. Don't forget to read aloud to children. Make "read-aloud" a daily activity. Add a puppet or two for added value and enjoyment.
7. Encourage more imaginative play with puppets and other creative objects by creating puppet show.
8. Guide children toward hobbies, creative pursuits and academic projects, especially those that also involve biology, geography, math, nature, and science.
9. Help child become more independent by learning how to take care of personal needs, like scheduling time for homework, chores, personal grooming and playtime.
10. Manage playtime for balanced and varied play experiences that include physical activity, creativity, and educational opportunities.

Children need ample time to nurture their creative experiences, to unwind from pressures, to do homework and to be able to focus attention on what needs to be accomplished. This requires juggling, patience, and planning as children need to also learn how to effectively manage their time.

Learning to balance activities and scheduling are important preparation for school, work, and to fully enjoy the productive lifetime that lies ahead.

See Dr. Toy's Guide ( and Dr. Toy's Best Gift Guide App for the latest and best toys and products to assist children at home and at school.