Entertaining Kids Without Electronics
It has taken some time, but finally there is widespread awareness that electronic games are contributing to the poor health of our kids. Studies are showing that kids in general are spending approximately 5 hours a day in front of the TV and/or game video screen. Sure some of these games can be entertaining or even stimulating to a point, but 5 hours of electronic entertainment is way too much time for growing kids to spend in one stationary position.
Researchers from Yale University and the University of Hawaii published a paper recently stating that by 2010 more than 50% of children in America will be overweight. That’s a statistic that no one wants to see realized. So what can we do? For many families it will take a significant effort to change some activities that have become hard to break habits.
Electronic games and DVDs have become the modern pacifier for many kids. Parents will often pop in a DVD or whip out the Game Boy to keep kids occupied during long trips, while seated in waiting rooms or at any moment in the day when a child says “I’m bored.”
The challenge is to find ways to control (or better yet eliminate) the use of electronics as a means of childhood entertainment. To get some ideas as to what you might do to entertain your kids, let’s take a look back to the pre-Game Boy era…
It’s a Wednesday evening, dinner’s done and the kids have finished their homework. Mom looks to the game cupboard and pulls the Twister box off the shelf. Twister is the game where the players are the game pieces. Unfold the game “sheet” on the family room floor, get the spinner out, spin away and start moving arms and limbs onto the colored dots as directed by the spinner. Last person to fall wins. Now that’s a fun way to end a typical week day.
While Twister is a game from the past, it is very much available today as are a good many traditional games that are engaging, fun and require no batteries or adapters! The following are great games for all ages that you might want to pick up either on ebay, at a local garage sale, or your local toy store: Monopoly (not the electronic version), Sorry, Battleship, Clue and Scrabble.
What to do on a snowy Saturday afternoon? Why build a snow fort of course? Moms and Dads can and should join in this game since the more hands involved in fort construction the sooner it’ll be ready for its military inhabitants! All that snow that is cleared from the driveway and that is on the lawn, will be put to great use as building material for the family snow fort.
Who doesn’t like the game “Simon Says”? This classic movement game is fun for any age and the best part is your 2 year old can have as much fun playing this as the 12 year old. Assign a young child to be “Simon” for a really neat “Simon Says” session. Mom and Dad can be pretty good at giving orders around the house let’s see how good (or how able) they are at following directions especially when the order is “Touch your toes!” Keep your chiropractor on call during your “Simon Says” sessions.
The best part of any “non-electronic” family activity is the good conversation and laughter that are so much a part of family life. Watching your kids giggle as you trip over yourself during a game of Twister is a priceless moment no electronic game can replace.