When my husband and I were first married, we lived in a tiny attic above an insurance company. We were students, with very little income, so when we realized that some things would have to be cut from the budget the TV got nixed.
My husband now has a stable, secure, well-paying job, and we have yet to add a cable bill back into the budget. When friends and acquaintances come to visit, many times they ask where the TV is (since it is nowhere to be found in our front room.) When they discover that we actually don't own a television, many diverse comments follow. Some say they wish they didn't have one either, others respond with, "What in the world do you do?"
We usually reassure them that we aren't completely screen-free (we do, in fact, own a computer with the Internet), but I believe that because we don't own a television we have been impacted greatly (for the better), and it has allowed us to be more creative with our family time.
Now, I'm not suggesting that all families get rid of their televisions. However, I do think that decreasing the amount of time children (and ourselves) spend in front of the TV will help enhance our relationships with the people we love most.
Here are some activities to try as you embark on the path to less screen time:
Go on a mystery road trip! Pile in the car, determine which direction to drive, set a time limit, and see where you end up! Try out a new restaurant, or visit a new museum.
Create a family time capsule (this one is adorable.) Did you ever make one of these during your school days? For added excitement, bury it outside in the family garden and uncover it in a few years.
Make a Washi tape car track for hours of entertainment!
Read a chapter book aloud as a family. Janssen, at Everyday Reading, has written a beautiful post on the power and magic of reading aloud as a family.
Make some gooey oobleck!
Raise butterflies and then set them free. How magical does that sound?
Put the kids in the tub and let them go to town with this puffy tub paint!
Do you have children interested in science? If they aren't, they will be now! Modern Parents Messy Kids has some great scientific experiments using common household items found here and here. I already know my kids would love the gummy bear lab and the magnetic silly putty!
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