Practical TV-Free Ideas

By , April 19, 2008 9:19 am

Wow! Thursday was my biggest day ever thanks to all the people searching for information about TV-Turnoff Week. I actually had to upgrade my account in order to avoid exceeding my bandwidth! I only went from “Baby” to “Hatchling” … so I am really not THAT big time, but it was certainly a huge surprise for me.

Today I had planned a post with some alternative ideas to TV, so with this kind of an audience, I guess I had better come up with a few!

Since we are TV-free all the time, I can tell you what my kids like to do:

  • Read
  • Do art projects
  • Play outside
  • Play imaginary games with each other, or by themselves
  • Build with Legos, Knex, or blocks (especially my son) and then create imaginary games
  • Dress-up (also leads to imaginary games)
  • Play board games either with each other or with me
  • Do puzzles
  • Write stories (my 2nd grade daughter)
  • Play with the cats and dogs

Here are some suggestions and elaborations that might inspire you and your children. If anyone has any other ideas, then please comment!

  • We are fortunate to have a great backyard and a swingset…plus a big forested area next door. If you are less well-endowed in the yard department or live in an apartment, then there is always a visit to the park, or playing at a friend’s house, or having a friend over.
  • Be tourists for a day. How about a trip to local attractions such as zoos, aquariums, parks, or playgrounds that you might not have been to yet. Think about tourist attractions that you and your children might enjoy. I don’t know about you, but when I live someplace, I tend not to visit all the attractions for which that location is famous.
  • Bring out some board games and have a family game night. My advice for preserving your sanity: try to pick a game that your children like, but that is not deadly boring for the adult participants. (ie. stay away from Candyland – that one sends me into an immediate coma)
  • Turn on some music and dance (again: pick something you like too or you’ll go crazy!)
  • Try a Kids Cook Night. Pick a recipe that your kids might not ordinarily like. I find that if my kids do the the cooking themselves (with supervision of course), they are more likely to enjoy the meal.
  • Volunteer with your kids (especially if they are older). Habitat for Humanity, your local animal shelter, nursing home, or soup kitchen would probably love to have you help out for a day…plus you’d give your children a bit of perspective and teach them the good feeling that comes from helping others.
  • Wash the dog, or teach him tricks.
  • Teach your kids to knit, crochet, embroider, or french knit…or learn one of these skills together.

4 Responses to “Practical TV-Free Ideas”

  1. I just wrote a post on storytelling so I have to add my idea: Make Up/Write a play or puppetshow and perform it! A great way to experience the live (and in my opinion, superior — but I’m biased) alternative to TV/Movies. Then they can see the interactive nature of live theatre which is totally missing from the plug-in box.

  2. Christin says:

    My (nearly) 6 year old loves to just pull out a blank sheet of computer paper and draw. We buy this stuff by the box (has 10 reams of paper, I believe) because there is no end to children’s imagination! Once we get “overloaded” with drawings or cards, we go through them and she chooses what she would like to give to friends or family, and the rest we form into a book. Later, she can decide if she would like to give her book as a gift to a grandparent or keep it for herself. We will have several books by the end of the year that she can choose between – give them all or give one. She loves sharing her artwork with others.
    She also loves making her own story books – she writes and illustrates around a particular theme. Usually it is something we are studying in our lessons…birds, geography (Michigan, for ex/), a book like Charlotte’s Web, etc.
    She is an avid reader also, and LOVES ANY craft you offer her. All you need to do is pick up a craft book from the library. Doesn’t have to be anything fancy.
    Lastly, go to Home Depot the first Sat. of every month b/w 9-12pm and your children can each make a FREE project and even get free Home Depot aprons! My daughter looks forward to that day – it’s a daddy/daughter time :)
    Thanks for all the wonderful ideas!

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