Some days I like to throw my kids in a fit of giggles and tell them of what we, the old people, did as kids to occupy our time. Those were the days without tablets, cable TV, cell phones, etc. Our kids think it’s the funniest thing that we would put together a 1,000-piece puzzle because it was rainy outside, or that I didn’t have cable growing up, and we only turned the TV on for T.G.I.F. and Saturday morning cartoons.
There were so many games and activities my sisters and I played throughout the day to stay out of my mom’s hair. Today, if our Wi-Fi is running slow my kids stare at me with blank faces repeating the phrase; “there’s nothing to do”. With all the technology and time-occupying things, our kids have lost a sense of fun. They seriously don’t think there’s anything to do because they can’t watch a YouTuber play a video game… how is that even fun? You’re watching someone play a video game… not playing the game yourself… I don’t get it!
I started “Tech-Less Tuesday” this summer with my kids. Every Tuesday we put the tablets away and actually play. I try my best to join in during down time at work, and as soon as 5pm hits, I jump in on the fun! Tech-Less Tuesday is not about depriving my kids of their electronics, nor is it about bashing electronics. There are times I thank The Lord we have tablets. I do feel that tablets and electronic have hurt our kids sense of play and fun however. My hope with Tech-Less Tuesday is to open my kids eyes and minds to something outside of YouTube and Emojis.
As a fun joke my husband and I started listing our favorite things to do as kids. Back when riding bikes, playing outside and staying out of the house was normal. I wanted to come up with a list of things to show our kids, with the hope this would spark them to come up with new favorite games.
Below are our top 5 “old-school” activities:
- Puzzle – We used to put puzzles together anytime we were cooped up in the house. I loved large puzzles with lots of pieces, and 3-D puzzles. My husband used to put together model airplanes, which I group in with puzzles. Puzzles are so good for your brain! They merge both sides of your brain to work your concentration, induce calmness and peace of mind, and help with your memory. Not only are they fun, they are functional too!
- Card Games – There are so many card games you can get your kids involved in. Growing up I played Rummy 500, War, Skip-o and Texas Hold ‘Em with my grandma. You can start with Go-Fish, War, Solitaire or Uno with young kids, and increase from there. Card games such as Go-Fish and Uno help strengthen memory skills while Rummy 500 and Skip-o help with counting and adding. Whichever game you’re playing with a group helps strengthen our communication and social skills – something I find lacking with younger kid that have their nose to a tablet or phone.
- Four Square – There’s nothing like getting outside and playing with your kids. Four Square is where you have a ball, and draw a big box cut into 4 sections. The goal is to bounce the ball into each other’s square. You either want to catch the ball, or return it after only 1 bounce. It’s similar to tennis in a way. I find Four Square to be a game that works on your reflexes, concentration, and social skills. Bonus, you’re exercising!
- Hot Lava – This game has so many different names. We played it as Hot Lava and some of my friends played it as Crocodile. This is the game where you jump from object to object without touching the ground. The goal is to be the first one to reach home base. We played this game all the time as kids! Next to Cops and Robbers, this was a great indoor or outdoor game. Yes, my mom used to yell that I would break my neck jumping from the coffee table to the chair, but I never did! Talk about a game with lots of benefits. You are working your balance, dexterity, social skills, and you’re exercising.
- Hide and Seek – This is an oldie, but a goodie! We spent hours playing Hide and Go Seek. You can play this game with three people, or like our neighborhood growing up; play with all the neighbor kids. We would have 10+ kids playing hide and seek on the entire street growing up. You had to stay outside, but you could go anywhere in front or back yards. Talk about a game that works your social skills, problem solving skills, and so much more!
After two months of “Tech-Less Tuesday” I am happy to report my kids are enjoying life outside of YouTube. Don’t get me wrong, that first day was rough. After a solid 30 minutes of crying after breakfast, the kids finally gave it a shot. Now, they don’t even ask about their tablets. They see it’s Tuesday, which means they get to play.
Mom and Dads, I encourage your to enjoy Tech-Less Tuesday with your kids as well. Put down the phones, don’t worry about taking a picture and alerting the media, and just have fun. The most important thing we can give our kids, is ourselves.