Have Some Fun Without The Television!

By Dana Kamp

So you gave in and allowed Santa to bring the Xbox 360 this year. You put off having a game system as long as you could, but when you realized the games are as much fun for parents as they are for kiddos, you softened. The fact that you play the games standing up and moving your body, as opposed to lounging on the couch and only moving your thumbs, does help the argument for modern gaming. What doesn’t help is the realization that you are still spending quality family time in front of a TV screen. Whether it’s a game system or “Yo Gabba Gabba!” keeping everyone in front of the tube, now is a great time to take a break and engage your little ones in fun activities away from the television.

Sidewalk Chalk Fun

A favorite in our house! Colored chalk is inexpensive (the local dollar store usually stocks it) and there is endless fun with it! Aside from the tried-and-true hopscotch game, you can draw race tracks, playhouses and family portraits. We even practice math facts and weekly spelling words. Writing a chalk note for Daddy to see when he pulls in the driveway is always a hit!

Get in the Kitchen

Hands-on cooking activities can be fun and helpful! Whether it’s baking a special treat, preparing dinner or packing tomorrow’s lunches, there’s something everyone can do. Even the smallest hands can stir and sprinkle. An added reward is that they get to gobble up their finished product!

Build Something

Pull out the Legos, blocks, track pieces, playing cards or even empty cups and boxes. Clear a space on the floor or a table to give them plenty of room for building. Let their creative minds go to work and see what they can create.

Make Believe

Bring out the container of old Halloween costumes. Grab last year’s recital tutus and baseball uniforms. Add some of Mommy’s and Daddy’s shoes, hats and jewelry. They can dress up and role-play or put on a play or fashion show. Either way they’re having fun, being imaginative and actively playing, not just watching.

Family Game Night

Choose a night when there are no extra-curricular activities going on and the whole family is home. Pop some popcorn or make a favorite family treat. Take turns choosing a board game (or a made-up game) and enjoy each other’s company!