I know how hard it is to prise a child away from their tech. Be that the phone, tablet, laptop or games console. It holds such a draw for them that left to their own devices (pardon the pun), they’d probably spend all their time on it. It’s up to us as parents to gently cajole them into action, to try and find some ways that will engage them, lift their spirits and widen their horizons. It’s so easy, especially when you have other children that need more attention and busy working lives, to leave them to it. If we don’t take William out every weekend and actively engage with him, he is quite happy watching youtube videos or playing games by himself most of the time.
I’m working on it by switching up the play room, which is at the moment looking like a junk room and William’s gaming room. If I make it more of a universal play room, where everyone has a mutual say in what goes on the TV, and a space for a desk to do homework, it may help. Here are my ideas for keeping a tech addicted child active:
Outdoor active games – any outdoor space will do:
Grandmother’s footsteps – the ‘Grandmother’ stands at the top, then 50 feet or so behind are the others. Grandmother stays with their back to the others and periodically turns around. The aim is for the others to get close enough to touch Grandmother, but if she turns round and catches anyone moving, they have to go back to the start.
Tag – still as good as it was.
Rounders, baseball, cricket, football – make a makeshift goal or bases. The most important thing is to join in and play with them. They’ll love it.
Welly wang – get Dad’s wellies and make a line. Take turns in throwing the welly to see who gets the furthest. Just watch the greenhouse!
Oldie but goodie, the park. They still love it, even up to teenage years.
Add an extra element like rollerskates, a skate board or scooter. Our park and most of them now have some sort of skate park. They may even turn into a Skate Hut Kid!
I’ve mentioned geocaching before, it involves an element of tech so the tech addicted child will respond well to it, plus it’s free and gets them outdoors and active. It’s basically a treasure hunt with GPS.
Trampolining – if you don’t have one, hunt down someone who has a trampoline. Or book one of those trampoline parks, they’re awesome and you can join in too.
Set them a challenge – can they reach the end of the garden before a timer runs out? Do 20 tuck jumps in 30 seconds? Stack cups or tins in a triangle without them falling? Push them to see what they can do and they’ll love the challenge. Film it for them if you can so it has a YouTube like element.
Wacky races – the old egg and spoon race, balance something on their head, think up some weird race types and pit siblings or friends against each other. Space hopper races are our favourites!
Get them to a beach – avoid the arcades!
Get back to nature with forest school or bushcraft. There are lots of taster sessions around the country, we’re going to Camp Wilderness soon to show our children how to survive.
Indoor active games
Duck Duck Goose – everyone sits in a circle and someone is the goose. The goose walks around the outside of the circle tapping each child on the head saying duck, duck, duck until they say Goose! Then both players run around the circle and back to the gap that’s left. The first person back gets a place again, then the one left over is the goose.
Treasure hunt – can be played with one or more children. Come up with a list of everyday items, ones they’ll know where to find. Could be a white sock, a toothbrush, cuddly toy. Make it a competition, the first person back with one or more items wins. They’ll be dashing about the house like mad things. Make sure you have a little prize ready.
Hide and Seek – it’s a classic for a reason, when all the cousins get together here that’s all they play.
Simon says – someone is Simon and they give the players instructions like ‘Simon says do 5 jumping jacks!’ until they give a command without saying Simon says. If someone does it, they’re out and they have to be Simon. Make the tasks active and fun.
Charades. Not strictly that active, but each player has to stand up and act out, and if you’re the one making the suggestions, make them full of actions.
Break out the Wii and do the sports games or a dance game. If you have Xbox kinect, do some of the active games. Play together and have some fun.
Get that old exercise DVD out and do it together – you’ll all benefit. Even toddlers can join in.
Make an assault course out of cushions, bean bags, household items. Make it a challenge with fastest time wins.
I hope this has given you some inspiration to get your gamer kids active. Setting limits helps too, and a timetable that works for the family. It’s enforcing it that’s the hard bit.
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