TV and video games are the go-to for my kids, and a good majority of others, when they need some downtime. But they aren’t relaxed when it’s time to power off. Why are they still wound up? ~I know mine aren’t the only ones.~
It’s hard to admit, yet the same thing happens to me. ‘But I’m not gaming.’ (I confidently tell myself.) My screen time is focused on “real-life productivity,” or at least most of it. (My pride deflates. This isn’t actually true. Anyways…) Gaming, social media, whatever it is, most of us like to check out with electronics. Self-control and time management are much needed skills…for all of us.
Just how important is this? Well, here’s what I found. Research has revealed a strong comparison between excessive video gaming and drug addiction. What!? I know! That sounds ridiculous. But you should read up on it. This is one of many articles that explains. http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/addiction/features/video-game-addiction-no-fun My gosh, that’s crazy, right?
In addition to ‘preventing addiction’ (as if that weren’t enough), there are a lot of other reasons to make boundaries with screens in our homes. If you’ve been reading the blog, you know my thoughts on digital roaming, — it’s one of the biggest reasons for us.
I’ve decided to seek after some purpose-filled tech-y activities for my family, alternatives to gaming. My kids are getting older (I have tweens now!!), and the options are growing with them. We are constantly moving forward, trying to figure out each new stage. Below is a compilation of ideas that I’ve discovered, and I want to find more! We’re going to attempt one of these this next week, or if I’m lucky, a few. If you have anything to add, I’d love to hear about it! Please share with us in the comments below or http://firstname.lastname@example.org
Even while we explore new ideas, I’ll still try my best to be excited when our kids unlock new levels or accomplish something so totally irrelevant to real life on their screens. That is, after all, just one easy way to connect with them. 🙂
Tech-y Alternatives to Gaming
(Disclaimer: The links below may not be a good fit for every home. Be sure to preview them first.)
~Find something to celebrate every day. Explore holidays around the world, fun facts, etc.Some ideas can be found here. http://www.familyeducation.com/fun/calendars/2016-interactive-fun-facts-calendar
~Science projects, art projects, STEM projects! (There are so many sites!)
~RAK (Random Acts of Kindness) Find some online or just make up your own.
~Photos – Make a book, edit pictures, or enter a photo contest. Learn new photography skills. Choose a theme and set some photography goals. (holiday decorations, favorite things in my neighborhood, my family, my favorite hobby, “me”, etc.)
Take on a Minecraft challenge WITH your kids! This book has awesome ideas. You can learn more about what they’re doing and also engage alongside them with the different activities. I love this book because it helps us meet our kids at their level.https://books.google.com/books/about/Unofficial_Minecraft_Lab_for_Kids.html?id=IWkzDAAAQBAJ&source=kp_cover&hl=en~
~Go on virtual field trips with Google Earth or other sites. This is one that I’ll need to research some sites for.
~Become globally aware. (I’m always telling my kids about current events in the world, but what if we did the research together? What if they learned about these things themselves? I wonder what kind of solutions they might come up with for humanitarian issues and needs, both worldwide and in our local community.) Here are a few sites I’m going to check out.
~Produce and edit stop motion videos and family movies. (iMovie, Voki, Animato, etc.)
~Make a family blog.
~Learn to type (on a real keyboard).
~Recipe search and learn to cook.
~For kids who like to write or create: Use photos or silly prompts to write short stories. Exchange the stories with friends, kids in the neighborhood, or by email. Everyone can add to them. Or, instead of writing, do this with a drawing or art project.
~Learn a new skill, or improve one that interests you. (Typography, fitness, drawing, painting, instruments, etc. When filtered, videos on youtube can be amazing for DIY learning.)
~There are some more greateducational ideas on these sites.
~Other interesting sites to explore for projects: