Welcome to Plugging Into Your Kids from Direct Energy. In this series, we will share ways you can spend focused time with your children – specifically by unplugging from technology. We want to help your family make a conscious effort to connect with each other by avoiding electronic devices and enjoying some real-life interaction
Much of our modern lives can be found spent commuting to and from school, traveling on vacations, trips to soccer practice and dental check ups, or other moments that require waiting around.
It’s in these windows of time that parents often turn to their devices to entertain their kids, to ease their impending boredom, and to get from one moment to the next.
But a great opportunity lies here, one that can lead to a great conversation, an exchange to learn more about each other, or simply to have some silly fun playing a game. So much can be learned about our children through games and play, and we might even learn a thing or two about ourselves.
These games don’t use iPads, smart phones, video game units, art supplies, or soccer balls, for that matter. All you need is a bit of imagination, and you’ll find a collaborative game or two to have a bit of fun without having to plug in. Here are our top ten favorites to pass the time.
1. Eye Spy
This is the oldest game in the book! Great for children who are learning to read, this is an easy game where you find something you spy beginning with a letter, and the other person has to guess what it is.
Make it more challenging by allowing adjectives that describe the nouns, and make sure the person is hinting the letter that the adjective starts with. For example, if you said “I spy something blue” you would hint that the letter is “B.” This can make the game a little more complicated and harder to guess the object.
2. Penny Drop
Grab a penny from your purse or wallet, and try to drop it so it lands on your shoe without falling off. This can get goofy, and is harder than you think!
3. Build a Story
One child begins a story with a single sentence. Building upon that sentence the next child continues the story with his own sentence. Continue along and make the story take outrageous turns! Continue in this manner until you all arrive at “The End.”
4. Word Chain
Choose a topic, such as food. The first person says a word, and then the second person says that word plus his own. The third person says the first two words plus her own, and continues until someone can no longer remember the word chain. It’s a test of endurance to the short term memory bank!
One player begins with a sentence such as “Fortunately, the bus is coming.” The next player counters with a sentence such as, “Unfortunately, it turned into an airplane and flew away!” The next player starts again with “Fortunately…” and continues the story back and forth until you can no longer continue on.
6. Mirror Mirror
Face your child. Have your child start to move very slowly and as the parent, try to mirror his movements as closely as possibly. For parents with more than one child, have the two children face each other and do the same thing. See if the parent can guess who is leading the movement.
7. What Did I Change?
Have your child take stock of what you look like. Then ask them to close their eyes. Change one item in your appearance, such as removing an earring, or untying a shoe. Then ask your child to open their eyes, and identify what has changed!
8. In My Purse Story
Pull out 3-4 items from your purse, and have your child invent a story around those three items. You’ll be amazed at their creativity on this one!
9. Inventing Limericks
A limerick is a funny poem that consists of five lines. Traditionally the first, second and fifth lines must have seven to ten syllables while rhyming, and have the same verbal cantor. The third and fourth lines only have to have five to seven syllables. These lines also rhyme with each other, and have the same rhythm. Start with “There was an old man from….” and continue from there. They turn silly very quickly, and are a great collaborative activity!
10. Magazine Hunt
Turn a magazine into a scavenger hunt by instructing your kids to find certain items that begin with a particular letter, or something even more specific, like “Find something green that starts with the letter R.” It will keep them entertained for a good while!