TV-Free Activities for Grown-Ups

By , October 25, 2007 2:07 pm

I spend a lot of time on this blog writing about TV and kids: What is TV’s effect on children? What are TV-free kids like? Without the “Babysitting Box,” how does one ever cook a meal?

But what about adults? For grown-ups who are in the habit of unwinding at the end of a hard day by channel surfing, or watching a favorite show, the prospect of a long and empty evening without the TV might be somewhat daunting to say the least.

If you are considering eliminating your TV, or at least reducing its use and are worried about how to fill your evenings, then here are some ideas:

– Read a book. (When is the last time you read a book? A recent, well-publicized poll found that 1 in 4 Americans read no book at all last year. If we take the glass half-full point of view, I suppose this statistic means that 75% did read at least one book last year. That has to mean something I guess.)

– Take a relaxing bath.

– Play a board game.

– Do a jigsaw puzzle.

– Take up a new hobby.

– Subscribe to a new magazine…and actually READ it!

– Write a blog.

– Write a novel!

– Write old-fashioned snail-mail letters to friends with whom you are losing, or have lost touch.

– Cook or bake.

– Organize that enormous box of photos that has been sitting there staring at you for years.

– Volunteer.

– Scrapbook.

– Sell all your old stuff on Ebay and make a little money (in addition to all the money you are saving by not having cable anymore!)

– Go for a walk, hike or bike ride.

– Take a class at your local community college.

– Work on a political campaign, or for a cause you believe in.

– Learn a foreign language with some books and tapes.

– Listen to NPR, or a podcast.

– Listen to music.

– Listen to a book on tape.

– Read aloud to your spouse or kids.

– Plant (or plan) a garden.

– Sit and chat.

– Play (or learn to play) a musical instrument.

– Obedience train your dog, or teach him tricks.

– Linger over dinner or dessert.

– Have more dinner parties with friends.

– Start a bookclub.

– Sit on your front porch and chat with the neighbors or simply watch the world go by.

– Plan a vacation.

– Stargaze.

– Call a friend.

– Do a crossword, or a Sudoku puzzle.

– Do the Unplugged Project with us!

Any other ideas?

Thanks to and photographer Jane M. Sawyer for the photo.

11 Responses to “TV-Free Activities for Grown-Ups”

  1. amanda says:

    Great list :) I am more of an auditory person so I love to unwind at night by sewing while listening to podcasts on the computer. I’ve never been one to do much vege-ing in front of tv because I don’t like to sit still (which is not always a good thing!) With the podcasts I get that mental escape but it’s usually more satisfying subject matter and with no commercials. And I don’t have to sit still and watch.
    Just having plain old quality-quantity time with my partner is the best thing on the list, though. Once in a while we do watch a tv show together but then are doing it out of a real desire to see something specific instead of just out of habit. Which is a world of difference in my opinion.

  2. missbecky75 says:

    the big thing at our house is: PLAY TRAINS! There’s only so much trains one can play though. Thanks for the list; I need to try something new!

  3. wishy the writer says:

    hhhhmmmmm…something a man and a woman can do together, when the kids are asleep, and they’re not watching television…. hmmmmm…. still thinking….. hmmmmmm…. man… woman…together…activity…. hmmmmm….

    (If you can’t think of at least ONE more activity, you’ve been married TOO long! tee hee!)

  4. woodmouse says:

    Great list! Oh, I long to have time to do all those things!

    How about volunteer somewhere? Was that on the list? When I think of my pre-baby years and all that free time I had I wish I volunteered my time more often.

  5. Andamom says:

    I figured that I would add some additional activities to your list:

    -Visit a museum
    -Go on a hike through a National Park (and get your Passport Book stamped)
    -Check out a new gallery
    -Go swimming
    -Go on a boat ride
    -Take a dance or cooking class
    -Practice yoga
    -Unclutter your home, car, and office
    -Photograph your family, community, or another location
    -Paint a picture or your home
    -Take up knitting or crochet
    -Fix things in your home or your clothes that are ripped
    -Take a long drive
    -Join a team (softball, soccer, etc.)
    -Take up pottery, glassmaking, or jewelry making
    -Go fruit picking
    -Try a new restaurant
    -Get checked up by the doctor or dentist
    -Go on a hunt for ruins, artifacts, and other old things…

  6. Ragnar says:

    Take an interest in your community! Our town sponsors a weekend called “be a tourist in your own town” where all the local galleries, museums etc are free, and all the buses are free. You don’t have to wait for a special event though, there are almost assuredly things you’ve never explored right in your own town.

  7. Jenny says:

    Sorry it’s taken me a few days to comment- my family was here for a visit and I had very little computer time!

    Anyway, thanks for the great list! Right after we put CJ to bed, frequently CWH and I will have a beer or some wine and listen to some jazz on his satellite radio. After a busy day with her, that time on the couch with him is heaven.

    PS We’re painting our pumpkins this afternoon! :o)

  8. […] more TV-free activity ideas for grownups that were left in the comments of yesterday’s post, TV-Free Activities for Grownups. I repeat them here for all to read and consider: * From Amanda (The Rowdy Pea) […]

  9. […] Yes, I know Unplugged Week’s at its end, but this nifty list of TV-free activities for grown-ups would be useful […]

  10. Marta says:

    I recently instigated a “screen-free day” with my reluctant family of spouse and two step-sons, age 6+9. The evening before, I laid out books, craft supplies, games and a list of suggestions. The boys had a great day, they made a mobile lemonade stand and netted $11. It was hardest on their dad, who after an hour of reading, declared he was bored. He then proceeded to climb the birch tree in the backyard with a full complement of sharp tools to cut out the dead bit in the middle. My only thought was… So you’re bored and the only thing you could think of doing was dangerous work??? Cheers!

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