Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Keeping 'em busy

At my house, I have started making more of a conscious effort to cut down on the kiddie entertainment that seeks to invade my house! (I'm referring to TV and computer here). First, there is so much inappropriate material out there-the boundaries of what is acceptable has been stretched to the limit. I am amazed at the type of language they have in so called "kids' movies". Even if it is not a swear word, it's potty humor, and I truly despise hearing my kids talk that way. Also, I've noticed my kids seem to get less and less creative, the more they are entertained. As I say to them-"Your brain is getting mushy." So if I cut back on all this entertainment they so desire, I need to fill it in with something else. Things that will help them to occupy themselves, learn something, and have fun at the same time! Here are a few we have tried, and the list is growing!

1. Reading-better yet, sign up for reading programs so they get rewarded while doing it!

2. Board games-kids love these. My kids new favorite is Hungry Hippos. It can get quite loud, though, so be sure you have something else to take out when you've had enough!

3. Swimming/Sprinkler/Water balloons-anything that involves water! It gets them active and has the added benefit of getting that layer of dirt off them! :-)

4. Bake something-This was our choice today. Cookies, a cake, bread, whatever-have fun and try not to worry about the mess.

5. Play dough-you can even make your own. Get some great tools to use with them and you'll be surprised at their creations.

6. Puzzles-I found some of these at the dollar tree. My kids loved them and it got those brains moving!

7. Taking pictures-if your child has a camera, or if you don't mind them using yours, let them take some shots of what they enjoy. As long as they're over 6 years old, I'll usually let them use mine for a short time.

8. Latch hooking-This is a great activity for the 6 and up crowd. It does take time to do, but the results are great and they make a good gift for grandparents when made into a pillow.

9. Painting-If you are adventurous, let them use regular paints on an easel. I'm more conservative-we use watercolors, but they still have a great time.

10. Clean, clean, clean! My kids favorite thing (not really.) But you can make it more fun. Give them a reward when you're done. while you're working, put on some great inspirational music and sing!

This is just a short list-I'm always open to new ideas and thinking of new ones all the time. Now I realized that when you take away the passive entertainment and the kids interact more, you have many more opportunities to teach good communication skills (ie. breaking up fights). It is a process and it doesn't happen overnite! It is worth it, though, as I see my 8 yo sitting by me reading through the encyclopedia about dinosaurs! Yay learning! Well, it's time for us to head out to our dentist appointment. You know what great things they do there while waiting for brother to get his braces tightened? Yep, TV and video games! At least we're only there about 45 minutes!


  1. Great ideas. We've like going on nature walks. An old pickle jar can hold all the treasures we find. Happy Summer!

  2. Mine do all these things too! I don't always limit TV or computer, but surprisingly they don't go to them often! Maybe because I rarely limit them so they don't feel the need to hog it? They are only allowed to watch two channels though, and even on those channels (Smile of a Child and qubo) there are some not-so-great cartoons I'd rather them not watch. We really don't have issues with it though, so I am glad for that! I do wish they'd volutarily read more. They enjoy it, they just don't prefer it. But they love to be creative, love imaginative play and pictures, water fun, puzzles/games, etc. All that stuff! You must know my kids! LOL!

    Here's something your kids could do once a week, as a group or individually! Enjoy! :)

  3. I have a hard time with this. It bothers me a lot. I've hidden some movies that particularly bother me and our cable is canceled, but they can still fill hours with movies and computer games. I do ok for a while with my "no, it's not movie day." in response to the constant pleas, but then i always give in again simply because i'm too tired and busy to do those other things with them at the moment. Thankfully, mine are now getting old enough to play board games together. That's been nice.