Friday, March 25, 2011

Guest Post

7 Kid-Friendly Alternatives to Television

By Jessica P., who has written about online nursing classes and how to obtain a degree in social work.
Our kids are spending far too much time in front of glowing tubes, especially the television. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry states that the average American child spends about three to four hours per day watching TV! All this time in front of the electronic babysitter equates to increased rates of childhood obesity and an increased likelihood to receive misinformation from their favorite programs.
Luckily, there are a million fun things you can do with your kids to replace a few hours of their TV habit. Here are seven to get you started.
1. Write a Book
Reading books with your children is always a good idea - but have you thought about making one together? You and your kids can let your imaginations run wild, creating the story and writing it down by hand. After you've got it on paper, add illustrations. You can draw pictures or cartoons, cut pages out of magazines, or add old photographs. Not only will it make a great memento from their childhood, but it will also foster their creativity. Who knows, you may discover you have an Emily Dickenson or Van Gogh living under your roof!
2. Break out the Board Games
My family has always enjoyed playing board games together. Even though we are all adults, every time we get together, it's a guarantee that a game will be played. Not only are board games fun for everyone, but can help solidify and expand upon all types of useful skills for your kids, like math, reading, writing, and problem solving.
3. Take a Field Trip
One of the most-loved school activities for kids is going on fieldtrips. Local museums, the zoo, the library, or a local park all make great, short day trips. When you get home, ask your child to write a story about their visit or draw a picture illustrating their favorite parts.
4. Jam Session
You don't have to be a virtuoso to enjoy this activity - you don't even have to be able to play in tune. Grab a couple of instruments from around the house, like a keyboard, a bongo, or a guitar, and make up a few songs with your kids. If your house is lacking instruments, make some! You'd be surprised at what a few rubber bands tied across an empty can or an upside-down bucket can be used as.
5. Fashion Design
Go through your closets and pull out a few old t-shirts, socks, or hats. Next, get some beads, hot glue, glitter, paint, stencils, or whatever else you want to decorate these clothes. You can make new pajamas, funky holiday socks, or an island-themed hat for the beach.
6. Fun with Photos
If you're like most families, you probably have a few boxes of photos lying around the house. On a long Sunday afternoon, pull out these old photographs and organize them into albums. If your child has specific fond memories of certain events, ask them to write it down and place the note towards the bottom of the photo. For another fun option, you can ask your child to help you decorate divider pages for groups of photos, like "Family Day at the Beach" or "Grandma's 75th Birthday."
7. Face Painting
No matter how old your child is, they are guaranteed to have a blast with this activity. Invite some neighbors over, and have kids paint each other's faces as an animal, with funny symbols on the sides, or with outrageous makeup. Be careful that they don't fight over who gets to paint your face!

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