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:
- 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!
- Art Projects: you can always search the old Unplugged Projects (the category is: “Unplugged Project” of course!)
- 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.
- Listen to a radio play for kids. Jens Hewer, creator of the Adventures of Billy Brown, recently contacted me about his wonderful series of radio plays. These are more than just books on tape. They are fully produced children’s radio plays, a format that has apparently been popular in Germany since the 1970′s. My review is coming soon, but in the meantime, you can download one of Billy’s adventures for free at his website, Giddio. There are also free Billy Brown pages to color. Perfect for Turnoff week and great imaginary fun for kids!
- 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.
- Take a walk around your neighborhood, or be adventurous and go on a real “nature hike!” Check out these sites for more outdoors/nature-related ideas: Backyard Nature, Green Hour
- Teach your kids to knit, crochet, embroider, or french knit…or learn one of these skills together.
- Visit these sites for more TV-free ideas: Bubblegum Books, Center for Screen-Time Awareness, Instead of TV
- When all else fails…bring out the Mommy I’m Bored Box.