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My kids love their computers. And their phones. And their 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 it’s not like we can get rid of the Super Nintendo or the 64 🙂
Everyone gets more than ample amounts of screen time in this household (and I do appreciate the irony of complaining about too much computer time via my blog.) So, 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 really 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 their lives.
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 bookworm, but the little guy wasn’t exactly thrilled. He put up a good fight every week even though once he got actually got to the library 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, complain. It started at dinner and lasted pretty much until we walked through the library door. He finally 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, though, and 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 then each week we pick from the list. It has been super successful! There has been 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.
Since I am sure many of you struggle to spend quality time, I compiled a list of 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 weeknights they have B1G1 deals. I have seen it listed on Groupon a few times as well. It is a lot of sweaty fun, and all the jumping 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 varying 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 greenways 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 frappuccinos and walked over a mile on the greenway 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. 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 goldfish or old maid are simple to teach and learn. We recently bought a game called Exploding Kittens, and it is an absolutely ridiculous card game from the guy that created The Oatmeal.
5. Making banana splits is a big hit with everyone. We put all the ingredients out on the bar and everyone makes their own creation. We get hot fudge, caramel sauce, whipped cream, cherries, and crushed peanuts. Mm Mmm, delicious!
I will try to continue writing posts about the fun things we get into as a family! 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.
How do you and your family spend quality time?