Iâ€™m a TV addict. Itâ€™s not that I sit and watch with rapt attention. No, for me the TV is more like background noise â€” akin to the constant sound of traffic in Manhattan or crickets in the country.Â Regardless of the show broadcasting â€” whether itâ€™s â€œThe Flintstonesâ€ or â€œModern Familyâ€ â€” I just need to hear the hum of voices.
I blame my parents for my obsessive need to have the television turned on at all times. Because television was the soundtrack of my childhood, and the TV could be heard at any given night at 3 a.m. emanating from my parentsâ€™ bedroom, itâ€™s become like a security blanket enveloping me in its digital world.
Iâ€™m trying my best not to engender this same artificial need for contrived sitcom plots in my kids. And to that end, Iâ€™m attempting to unplug my kids as often as possible from the tube and other tech gadgets.
So to that end here are some family night activities that donâ€™t involve any TV or computers so we can engage one another without all that noise cluttering up the space and air.
VIRTUALLY TRAVEL AT HOME
E.N. Joy (enjoywrites.com), author of the American Library Association award-winning book, â€œThe Secret Olivia Told Me,â€ believes a great way to spend a family night sans technology is to have the family virtually travel to a different country by turning their living room and kitchen into a country theyâ€™ve been dying to visit. They can, for example, pick up Hawaiian items at the local dollar store and decorate their living room and find some Hawaiian recipes on the Internet. Then next time they can go to Japan or Mexico â€” the destinations are endless.
Â How to get started: Hit up dollar stores. For anywhere between $20 to $50, you can nab all the decor and accessories you need such as Hawaiian leis, straw hats, expandable paper pineapples and pine trees for $1 and construction paper and cardboard to make passports. You even can order special stamps to stamp fake passport books.
What kids will go gaga for : Feeling like they have visited China, India, Hawaii, Mexico, etc. In addition to getting dressed up, and getting their parents to dress up, youâ€™ll get great pictures for a scrapbook.
Parent perks : The family will get to bond because itâ€™s a joint effort that takes everyone getting involved. Picture everyone writing down their desired destination, placing it in a bowl, then drawing out the winning destination. Have kids create a passport for every family member. Take out your own passport photos or dig through old photo albums.
Overall : Itâ€™s economical and a great way for parents to engage their kids. Even the act of revisiting your old photo albums will be a delight.
BOARD GAMES WITH A TWIST
It can be a challenge to get your kids to sit around a flat piece of cardboard, but these alternatives â€” that use just a tad of electricity â€” will keep your kids engaged.
HOVER HOCKEY : A fresh take on classic air hockey, the game provides even the littlest hockey fan hours of non-stop action. The only game on the market that relies on a fan built into the puck, it provides quick gliding movement on any hard surface.
DOOR JAMZ BASKETBALL : This arcade-style basketball game attaches to any door for anywhere play and includes a full electronic scoring system with countdown timer and a ball return that folds into a convenient carrying case for easy setup and take-down.
What kids will go gaga for : Hover Hockey: a puck that floats on the floor just like regular hockey; Door Jamz Basketball: the electronic scoring and transportability.
Parent perks : These games are a perfect way to burn off calories from dinner.
Overall : These games have an electronic component to keep kids interested while at the same time keep children and adults active by encouraging friendly competition away from a computer or television screen.
Information visit sportcraft.com.