Hello from beautiful Montana,

Parents and grandparents, do you wish you had more quality time with the children you love? do you remember how much fun it was to play games as a child?  The families that come to my parenting classes have expressed a desire for more "fun time" with each other and less time spent in front of the television.  Many are not sure how to turn off the "third parent" and suggest alternative activities.  They are afraid the children might revolt if asked to give up electronic games and television. Gimmee a Break

Unplug and Play

Parents and Grandparents are the adults.  Homes should be respectful and democratic, but the parent is still in charge and still has the hand that can unplug the tv if necessary. There is a global campaign underway to educate families about the detrimental effects of too much screen time from television, computers, portable music players and cell phones.

Teach Them Some Outdoor Games

You may remember some of these fun games from your own childhood but not be sure about the rules. I have asked a number of adults and these rules are generally accepted.Try these outdoor games and activities that cost nothing but energy and pay back in healthy bodies, strong relationships and lots of happy memories.

Red Light Green Light

  • Whoever is "it" stands at least 50 feet from the rest of the kids, with back turned to them.  She yells "Green Light!" and everyone run toward her until she yells "Red Light"  It then turns around and tries to catch anyone who is still moving. If she sees someone moving, they have to go back to start line.  The game keeps going until someone tags "it" and then they are "it."

Hide and Go Seek

  • There are two variations on the old standard of hide and go seek in which one person hides their eyes and counts to 100 while the others hide.
  • Chain hide and seek gets a little wild but is easy for all ages. " It" counts to 50 while everyone hides.  When the first child is found, he takes "it" by the hand and goes with him to find the others.  Each child joins the chain as they are found. 
  • Sardines is really fun and a role reversal for kids. "It" hides while all the other kids count to 50.  Everyone looks for "it", but when they find him, quietly hides with "it"  Soon, the few remaining hunters realize they need to look for a hiding place that can hold lots of people.

Play Teaches About Life

Not every moment in play is a teachable moment, but many life lessons are learned on the playground. Not only do children get an opportunity to learn about sportsmanship, team building, taking turns, accepting rejection and leadership qualities.

These are the standards, values and character traits that are more easily learned on a playground than on a sofa in front of the television, eating potato chips.

In gratitude for all you do to make this a better world,

Judy H. Wright aka Auntie Artichoke, family relationship coach and author

PS: If your child or grandchild has difficulty making and keeping friends, please check out my book; The Left Out Child- The Importance of Friendship at http://www.artichokepress.com/products/ebooks/left_out_child.htm

TV – Free Activities To Do With Your Family