When people hear that we don’t have a television, I often get asked how I keep the kids entertained. Which is sad to me, in all honesty. Have we, as a society, slipped so far into the technological age that we’ve forgotten how to allow our children to play using… *gasp*… nothing but their imagination? Sadly, far too many kids nowadays would have a complete meltdown if they had to be without their electronics for longer than a couple of hours.
My family hasn’t always been without television. It’s only been a year since we decided to ditch the tube. But what an incredible difference it has made to our family… especially the kids. Instead of asking to watch cartoons first thing in the morning, the children sit down for breakfast, and then run off to play together. Imagine that. Siblings… getting along… actually enjoying each other’s company!
Entertaining the kids without an electronic babysitter can be an adjustment at first, especially in the wintertime when you can’t send them outside to play. But chilly days stuck indoors don’t have to mean kids and parents going crazy. There are actually many things children can do to entertain themselves for hours.
Here are a few ways my children enjoy playing the old fashioned way:
- Matchbox Cars
- Building Blocks
- Drawing & Coloring
- Paper Dolls
- Hide & Seek
- Reading, either silently or an older child reading to a younger child. (Yes. They actually enjoy doing this!)
- Classic Card & Board Games
- Age appropriate puzzles
- Baking with Mommy
- Building tents out of chairs and blankets
- Creating pictures using various stamps and ink.
- Playing with magnets.
- Pretend Store with play money.
- Crafts: model cars, weaving potholders, stringing beads to make jewelry, threading string, etc.
- Playing Kitchen with Mommy’s plastic bowls, wooden spoons, and empty spice containers.
- Dress Up & Role Playing: Girls playing princess, mommy, or fairy; Boys playing cowboy or knight, protecting the girls from the bad guys.
Even with the ridiculous amount of toys that my children have, I am always amazed at how few they actually play with. The majority of their play time is spent pretending together, with nothing but imagination to power them. Which is beautiful to me.
So you see, there are lots of things that you can encourage your children to do to stay busy without simply plopping them down in front of the television or a video game all day long. Unplug those mind-numbing gadgets and get your kids enjoying some good old fashioned fun!