In case you missed it, there has been a lively discussion on the Unpreschool list on the merits and pitfalls of television viewing for young children. Author and lecturer Diane Flynn Keith provided a terrific list of activities to take the place of television viewing…
An Unpreschool List Member named Michelle wrote:
Our family will start the New Year out right, as of January 1 we will begin a 30-day TV fast. Anyone want to join me? We still are deciding what that will look like for us. Will we unplug the darn thing, or just finally limit it to 30 minutes a day? (Even if it’s 30 minutes a day, I think we’ll still unplug it in between times to help our self-control!)
It’s amazing how much more productively our time is used when we don’t have the fall back of the TV for entertainment. My kids actually pick up books to read, or help with household chores. My husband and I play board games (with or without the kids) and talk or read books. I totally agree with a poster yesterday who said they don’t want their kids to grow up dependent on the screen. What a gift it would be to my children if they learned at a young age how to entertain themselves and be comfortable with silence. I want to give them that gift. Anybody with me?
Unpreschool List Owner Diane replied:
Great idea, Michelle! If you need more motivation go to Kill Your Television.
You may or may not be aware of TV Turn Off Week in April of every year. It’s April 21-27 in 2008. Screen-Time offers suggestions on things you can do other than watch TV. They have kits and contests and all kinds of stuff.
I put together this list of things to do besides watch TV:
Alternatives to Television Watching
- Talk with your child. Conversation starters.
- Read. Books, magazines, newspapers, poetry, nursery rhymes, myths, etc. Go to the library for an evening storytime or go to a bookstore and hang out for a while.
- Go for a walk. Check out our Fun Walks ideas
- Start a hobby. Stamp collecting, rock collecting, coin collecting, jewelry making, collect things from nature, collect hats, dolls, action figures, stuffed animals, etc.
- Go for a drive. Bring along a family-friendly audio-book or music on CD. (Try the Jim Weiss Stories or Raffi music.)
- Do a jigsaw puzzle. Ravensburger has great Children’s Puzzle selections for kids.
- Clean up a mess or a room. Kids love to help. Play Trap the Toys! Take a big, empty cardboard box and write "Toy Trap" on it. Tell your child that you’ve noticed the toys keep escaping from the bedroom. They are everywhere throughout the house. Explain that you’ve built a toy trap to keep them in a safe place when your child isn’t playing with them. Ask your child to help you round up the toys and put them in the trap.
- Play with your kids. Have some flashlight fun: Turn off the lights in the room. Shine a flashlight on a bare wall. Ask your child to stand in front of the bright light and experiment with making shadows of all shapes and sizes on the wall. Show them how to make Hand Shadows. Experiment with casting different kinds of shadows by holding different objects up in front of the flashlight. Try a stuffed animal, scissors, a pencil, a toothbrush, small toys like cars and action figures or doll house dishes and cups. Puzzle pieces cast interesting shadows too. I’m sure your child think of many more to try.
- Show your children how to repair something. Sew on a missing button, mend a tear, change a light bulb, change a washer in the faucet, use a hammer and nail, use a screwdriver, etc.
- Paint! With a little advance preparation you can all have fun with relatively little mess. Check out this article for some simple painting ideas.
- Make up a Story. Check out these ideas for some story-telling fun.
- Build an Indoor Obstacle Course! Learn how.
- Go on an Indoor Scavenger Hunt – or try these "rainy day" activities that work every day.
- Have fun with Dry-Erase Markers! Try these fun activities.
- Color! Get the crayons out and start coloring. You’ll find free coloring pages to print out.
- Visit a friend. Bake a special treat to give to your friend.
- Dance! Turn the music on and have fun moving to the beat!
- Play board games. You’ll find a great selection of cooperative board games for little kids and their families.
- Go bowling! Even little kids can bumper bowl!
- Play Math Games! Here are some fun ones.
- Go on a Field Trip! Many of your local community services and stores offer tours such as the fire department, police department, grocery store, bank, hardware store, post office, bus and train stations, museums, zoos, state
parks, etc. Even large chain stores offer opportunities to see how things are made – such as Krispy Kreme donuts and Noah’s Bagels.
- Go to an entertainment event. Try a play or a concert.
- Play with the dog! Or go to a pet store and look at all of the animals, fish, reptiles, and other critters.
- Play with Balloons! Blow up different sizes and colors of balloons and bat them around. Bat them back and forth to each other. Kick the balloons! Who can keep the balloon from touching the ground the longest?
- Make something. Build with blocks, make a fort, make a piñata, make a paper chain, make a cereal necklace, make finger puppets and more. Check out these ideas.
Have fun not watching TV!
Protect your parental rights. Vote NO on Universal Preschool legislation and ask your representatives to do the same. For more information visit: http://www.UniversalPreschool.com
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Clueless in New Jersey
I opened my e-mail today and about fell off my chair. You can imagine my surprise, to find this e-mail waiting for me. I have posted it exactly as I received it.
The web site you have for hme schooling is the most ridiculous thing I ahve ever
read in my life. You have a comment in there that says home schooling cirriculum is good because the student can choose the reading material that suits his interest. Ok now you tell me what kind of intelligent decision a 5-11 year old can make on what he or she should be reading. Thats is why there is cirriculum in school.
It also states that the student has the ability to study and learn when they are well rested. How about a home schooled student whos parent is so lazy that she sleeps all day and makes the kid do schoolwork at 9 and 10 at night? Home schooling is not the right choice. Children need to be around other children and expanding their horizons without the constant hovering of the parents.
This is a bogus web site and anyone who falls into this is an idiot.
Schoolhouse Rock Parody
Jeff Horwich hits the nail on the head with this parody of a “Schoolhouse Rock” inspired look at the origins of the American education system. Originally recorded with a live audience for “In The Loop” at Minnesota Public Radio in May, 2007. This couldn’t be better if it was written and produced by homeschoolers (which it was not).
This is definitely one to share with family and friends – especially those who think we all gotta send our kids to school. Ha!
Music and lyrics by Jeff Horwich