Like all parents I’m intent on providing my children with every possible recreational opportunity; I’ve done the kiddie gym, music and movement classes and even splurged on high-tech gadgets and games. And more than ever I am ready to institute these Tips for Unplugged Play: The Ultimate in Quality Family Time.
I have had occasional lingering thoughts about instituting more old-fashioned types of play opportunities. Unfortunately like every other parent with a super-saturated schedule- I’ve been too busy to actually follow-through and make those changes. Then we had a blackout, courtesy of a thunderstorm, and a change was literally forced upon us.
There is nothing like a blackout, which robs you of all the modern conveniences you take for granted, and brings with it a kind of deafening silence that compels you to take stock of the family dynamic that exists between you and your kids.
In my family’s case, after we all freaked out for a solid five minutes, my kids were upset that they couldn’t watch television as while my husband and I frantically ransacked the house for our one working flashlight (note to self- buy emergency supplies!). Then something quite unexpected occurred, we lit candles, plopped ourselves on the couch and proceeded to play!
I know-it sounds very kumbayish- but you’ll have to take my word for it that it’s true. This compulsory family time- forced us to engage in basic play like; word games, charades and sing-a-longs.
For two-hours we were so occupied in our unplugged play games we barely noticed that there was no electricity. Of course, once the lights went back on, we each rushed back to our respective corners- e-mailing, watching SpongeBob Square Pants, but jointly vow to participate in unplugged play at least once a week.
Keep reading for Tips for Unplugged Play: The Ultimate in Quality Family Time! I’m sharing some wonderful activities that require no batteries or electrical outlets- just good old-fashioned brain power.
Tips for Unplugged Play: The Ultimate in Quality Family Time
Old Fashioned Child’s Play is Vital to Development
Play is how young children make sense of their world. Open-ended play provides children with the ability to learn how to solve problems, make judgments, build social skills and learn math, science, reading and language.
A child can learn how to count more effectively setting a table for a tea party as opposed to using computer software or a video game.
Best unplugged play bets:
Two to four years old: Playing with blocks, legos, play dough, finger and easel painting.
Playing in water –fill the sink with bubbles, running around the yard, walking the dog and dramatic play scenarios.
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Five to seven years old: More board games, outdoor games like red light/green light, more cooking, woodworking with parents (don’t want to use nails? use wood glue!).
Eight to ten years old: Open-ended art experiences; clay modeling, and spin-art. Elaborate play scenarios, board games, cooking, and athletic games like wiffle ball, frisbee and pick-up soccer.
Bottom line: Parents should really get to know their children’s interests. If children love blocks, get some or create them out of boxes and contact paper. If they love art, give them a spot with their own art table with supplies. If children love to read, go to the library and check out books each week. Use car time together for singing, talking and playing games. MODEL the behavior unplug yourself…and enjoy it!
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Find activities that will help Inspire valuable, creative play that includes the essential ingredients of childhood: fresh air, make-believe, arts and crafts, problem solving, and physical challenges.
CRAFT-TASTIC The Macrame Owl Necklace
Making this owl necklace is a hoot. With six cheerful colors and step by step directions, you’ll have fun making this adorable owl necklace. You can make a super simple version or a more involved one, its up to you. Whichever one you make, you’ll love wearing it and getting compliments. With this craft kit they’re having fun and learning fine motor skills that translate to the critical thinking they’ll need as they get older.
Board Games- Anything but Boring!
A good board game requires a combination of skills that include critical thinking, logic, strategy, reading comprehension, visual acuity, mathematics, and intuition. It will also drive this skill development without the child even knowing it…learning cleverly disguised as fun! Board games are similar to value of the family dinner; put families together around a board game and good things happen.
Two to four years old: Any classic matching game like the artistic versions made by a company called Eeboo. Start with simple color or shape identification games and progress to more complex memory games.
Five to seven years old: At a pre-reading level, visual games such as Castle Logix work well. For kids with reading and spelling skills, Apples to Apples and Bananagrams.
Eight to ten years old: Game of life, one of the all time great board games. This Life Linen Bookshelf Edition Is The Perfect Combination Of Form, Function And Fun! The Stylish Linen-Wrapped Book Looks Absolutely Beautiful On Display On Your Bookshelf. Open ThE book And It Will Reveal Premium Components Inspired By The Original Edition Stored Neatly Inside.
Bottom line- my kids and I have been pretty good at sticking to our unplugged play vows, AND BONDING although it’s certainly been a lesson in self-restraint that nifty little invention known as electricity is a hard habit to break!
So Do you have any of your own tips to add to Tips for Unplugged Play: The Ultimate in Quality Family Time?
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Sometimes, life gives you a gentle reminder of how much fun it can be to actually interact with each other in a real way. Some of my greatest memories actually involve the power going out. LOL
Krystel | Travel on a Budget says
This is so important. Family time, off the phones, focus on each other. I appreciate this
Amy Desrosiers says
It is so sad how our family is so electricity dependant. 2 months ago our power went out and we had no idea what to do with ourselves!
Old fashioned games are always actual. Every kid and family need those games!
We are big board game players and love to gather around the table for any type of board games. My granddaughter lovers her tea sets.
Alli Smith says
It’s so important for a family to unplug often and interact with each other by playing games, etc. You’ve got a great list of suggested games to play.
Ruth I says
They say to let the kids be bored. Kids will be creative in their play that way. My niece likes playing Lego and dolls.
I loved when my kids were little. We always made sure to have reading time and play time each day
MELANIE EDJOURIAN says
I do try to keep the kids off ipads, computers and tv’s. It’s not always easy though. I do prefer it when they play with their toys and interact with each other. My son loves lego which I am trying to encourage.
Amber Myers says
These are some fun ideas. We like to do some game nights. Or we’ll do movie nights, which isn’t exactly unplugging, but at least it’s not a YouTube screen!
Our family does quite a bit of board games. I used to participate in game night at with my friend’s family and it was something I wish my family had done.
Claudia Krusch says
All these are great toys! We love a good board game! Such a great way to spend family time!
these are great tips- our kids dont watch too much tv but we try to keep them as entertained as possible with games or coloring- playing and even going on walks if the weather is nice 🙂 great tips
Luckily my 6-year old likes old fashioned games and he absolutely loves playing with Legos. He did have a period when all he wanted to do was to play on his dad’s smartphone but luckily he is not interested any more.
Since we moved, our kids have spent so much time outdoors and less time with their devices. It was the best decision ever.
Marcie W. says
Fun activity ideas! Thankfully electronic devices were not as popular when my kids were little, so we had a lot of opportunities for hands on play. These days we enjoy venturing outdoors as a family.
Lisa Martin says
We love doing this. Our kids love playing board games with us. We try to do it at least once a week. It’s nice to get away from all the noise of technology.
Terri Steffes says
I love board games and I think it can be a really good thing to teach kids how to lose, play properly and get to know each other better.
It sounds like you’re having lots of fun being unplugged! I think it is really important for family bonding as well as creativity to have time away from the screens.
I agree, us parents should support our kids’ interests. If they like blocks, give them blocks. If they like books, provide them with books. And the list goes on.
I love unplugging, luckily it is not that hard for us. My husband barely uses his phone. I like that we have lots of board games. We also love playing 21 questions. We have even made up games.
These all sound like great ideas for unplugging and being creative. I have to admit that I need to have the kids spend less time on their electronics. That dim sum kit looks adorable!