In this Fred Rogers Center blog piece “Open-Ended Versus Single-Action Play in the Digital World”, Michael Robb, Ph.D. and Junlei Li, P.D. converse about Fred Rogers’ message about single-action versus open-ended playthings and how Fred’s advice can apply to tools in the digital age. Both Michael and Junlei offer their experiences as parents and research psychologists when explaining how they choose playthings and strategies to create balance between single-action and open-ended. When describing the criteria for selecting the best plaything, Michael states,
As with physical toys, we can look for digital experiences that are open-ended and that let children use them in multiple ways, and in ways that allow them to express their own ideas and thoughts. Art, music, building, photography, and other creative apps and games are great places to start. Single-action apps and games can provide entertainment and learning value, but may not be as effective in promoting thinking skills, social interaction, creativity, and verbalization. It also helps to look for apps that require active participation and sustained engagement, and that promote social interaction and meaningful connections.