It would be foolish to deny that technology has made our lives easier, safer, and better overall. However, everything has a dark side. When it comes to the prevalence of electronics in our everyday lives, that dark side comes at the cost of our children. According to statistics from a Kaiser Family Foundation study in 2010, “The average 8- to 10-year-old spends nearly eight hours a day with a variety of different media, and older children and teenagers spend more than 11 hours per day.” This is a problem, as screen addiction can have significant negative effects on a child’s behavior, health, and overall school performance. That’s why it is up to parents to break the habit and provide kids with fun, screen-free activities that keep them active and stimulate their minds.
When the weather is nice outside, prying your kids away from the television and computer is easier-- you can simply tell them to go outside and play. However, when it is raining or bitterly cold outside, it can be tempting to let your children indulge in too much electronics time. Rather than plopping them in front of the screen, try these fun and educational activities that keep kids entertained while stuck indoors.
Tap Into Their Inner Banksy
Go to your local thrift shop, and there is at least one rack full of donated sheets that cost maybe a buck each. Pick up a couple that are ideally white and unpatterned with at least one spare that you can lay on the ground for protection. These old sheets make the perfect canvases for large-scale painting and coloring. Your kids will love the grandiose nature of the activity. Be sure to use kid-friendly paints that wash off easily with soap and water.
For a unique way for your kids to get active inside while also learning game strategy and how to follow instructions, try pillow fighting! This is especially a great choice if you have more than one kid on your hands that needs to burn off excess energy. Believe it or not, there are rules and regulations to pillow fights. At the simplest level, everyone holds two of their favorite pillows, and the last one standing with both in their hands wins.
STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, and math. Encouraging your kids to participate in STEM activities has various benefits, including fostering a natural curiosity and improving their overall problem-solving abilities. There are tons of these educational and entertaining activities you likely already have around the house. Building with Legos, creating patterns with tiles, solving mazes, playing Jenga, and experimenting with magnets are all great ways to tap into your child’s inner Einstein. To help your kids with basic math and engineering principles, check out this lesson plan collection from HomeAdvisor, which will boost their measuring, planning, and creative skills through easy-to-understand, real-world applications.
Acceptable Screen Time Activities
Sure, you don’t want your kids to spend too much time in front of screens. But with your supervision, the internet can be a source of indoor fun when in a pinch. The secret is finding acceptable activities that encourage healthy habits rather than mindless media or video games. As long as you stay within the recommended time limits, add the following acceptable screen time activities into your rainy day repertoire:
● YouTube exercise videos
● Online music lessons
● Web-based learning games
● Online drawing tutorials
● Recipes and cooking tutorials
The average kid spends eight to 11 hours a day consuming electronic media. However, when kids spend too much time in front of screens, it can have significant negative effects on their behavior, health, and school performance. On days when the weather keeps children stuck inside, help entertain them with fun and educational activities like grand-scale painting, pillow fights, and STEM activities, and they won’t even miss the television or computer.
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