With so many new video and computer games emerging on the toy market, it's increasingly common for children to get drawn into mindless hours of staring at a screen for fun. Moreover, with a mounting number of influential adverts on television, alongside persuasive friends who may already own the games, children are not easily dissuaded from the video and computer game hype - nor from asking their own parents for the latest game collection.
However, while the massive video and computer game market isn't likely to subside anytime soon, there are various ways for parents to provide their children with more educational toys and games, as well as to show them that such pastimes can be just as fun - if not more so - than video and computer games.
One thing you can do to dissuade your child from joining the video-game following is to introduce educational books, toys and games into playtime from an early age. There are a number of toy retailers that specialise in manufacturing such toys and games, as well as in printing an array of fantastic reading and colouring material. Even very young children who can't yet read or understand the concept of certain toys and games will benefit immensely from the visual and tactile stimulation of such toys, or perhaps from being read to out of a story book.
However, no matter what age your child is, rest assured that there are plenty of age-appropriate games and educational books and toys which are designed to both entertain and encourage learning. Moreover, they guarantee that your kids won't stare at a television or computer screen for hours on end.
Toys, books and games can also be used to help make targeted learning fun. For example, if your child is learning to write, make the process more enjoyable with a spelling kit or flash cards that help match words and letters with pictures. Or, why not encourage your child's artistic skills with a drawing or painting set? Whether you'd like to get your child's reading and writing skills off to a flying start or simply encourage fun learning, there are countless high-quality, multi-sensory toys and games which can help. After all, while video and computer games can build your child's hand and wrist reflexes, wouldn't you rather help them build a love for learning?
Andrew Regan is an online, freelance journalist.