My kids love their computers. And their phones. And video games. Well….if I am being entirely honest, the four of us love our computers, phones and video games. We each have our own laptop or desktop computer, and we currently have three different consoles hooked up to the tv and another two consoles in the closet. I know it seems a bit excessive but we can’t get rid of the super nintendo or the 64 🙂
Basically everyone gets more than ample amount of screen time in this household (and I do appreciate the irony of complaining about too much computer time via my blog). In an effort to curb some of the youtube-ing and tumblr-ing, we enacted “no tech Thursday” two years ago. It did not go over well. I think it had a lot to do with the negative connotation of “no tech”, to the kids’ it felt like a punishment. Every week it was whining and crying about how we were ruining everyone’s life.
So for the first part of last year, we ditched “no tech Thursday” and started “library Wednesday”. This met with a lot less resistance from the teenage book worm, but the
little guy wasn’t exactly thrilled. He put up a good fight every week even though once he got there he actually enjoyed himself. Our nearest library has a nice outdoor seating area with a fountain, and he really liked sitting out there to do his homework. Yet every week it was complain-complain starting at dinner and lasting pretty much until we walked in the library door. Finally, he wore us down, and we abandoned our weekly book run.
I really didn’t want to just go back to everyone heading to their respective screens every night. After a bit of discussion, Rob and I decided to try “Family Fun Night”. Sounds better already right? We each wrote down 5-10 places we could go or activities we would like to do as a family, and each week we pick from the list. It has been super successful! We have very little complaining, and we have really had a lot of fun! Summer has kind of thrown us off schedule a bit, but with school starting up in a week, I am ready to get us back on track.
Here are five of our more successful activities:
1. Sky High Sports is an indoor recreational park with wall-to-wall trampolines, bouncy dodge ball courts, foam pit and overhead ropes course. You buy play time by the hour, and some week nights they have B1G1 deals. I have seen it listed on groupon a few times as well. It is a lot of sweaty fun, and makes for an early bedtime for my little one (double win).
2. The Wii has a lot of multiplayer games that are still fun even if the players all have various skill levels. We have played Mario Kart races and had tennis or bowling tournaments. This is a good fall back activity for nights when the kids have a lot of homework or one of us gets home from work a little late. We don’t have to waste time driving somewhere, and everyone can play in their PJ’s.
3. Going for a walk can be a fun and healthy activity as well. Charlotte has several green ways and nature trails that are easy to get to, and during the week they aren’t too crowded. One evening in the spring that was rather warm, we grabbed frappucinnos and walked over a mile on the green way nearest our house. Another night, we hiked the trails and climbed on the rocks at The Big Rock Nature Preserve. It is nice to get a few hours of fresh air after being cooped up at work and school all day.
4. Board and card games are an entertaining (and cheap) way to spend quality time. The little guy is obsessed with Monopoly which I hate, but I occasionally take one for the team especially since our edition has a speed version. Cards are pretty easy if you have little ones, games like gold fish or old maid are simple to teach and learn. We recently bought a game called “Exploding Kittens”; it is an absolutely ridiculous card game from the guy that created The Oatmeal.
5. Making banana splits was a big hit with everyone. We put all the ingredients out on the bar and everyone made their own creation. We got the hot fudge and caramel sauce from Trader Joe’s. Mm Mmm delicious!
I will try to write other blog posts about the fun things we get into this year. If you have some cool ideas to share, I would love to hear them! I am always looking to add new activities to our list.