May 16, 2018

The New Big Threat to Our Children

Hi Friends!
Actually, three somethings.

I've just published my third post on

The first two were related to Emergency Preparedness. I felt pretty passionate about my topic when I wrote them. I feel even MORE passionate about this topic...

This one is called "The New Big Threat to Our Children" and it talks about raising babies and kids in a tech saturated world. I really hope you will go over there and read it and I would LOOOOOOOVE it if you left a comment on the post over there and then went and shared it on Facebook and with every mom of little kids you know! Otherwise it will die a sad death in Internet obscurity.

Pretty please with sugar on top??

I really appreciate it!!

Here's the link:
The New Big Threat to Our Children

Thanks again,

May 15, 2018

85 Ideas for Screen-Free Summer Fun

{I started with 50 ideas. Now I'm up to closer to 85/90! I've also added links to a few articles for parents at the end about why we need to get our kids outside. Oh, and I posted the directions for Kick-the-Can, Four-Square, and Hop Scotch one post back!}

It's almost summer time!!! And if you are anything like me, you feel an equal mixture of glee at "No more lunch packing or homework!!" and abject terror at the thought of hearing "I'm BORED" and "I'm STARVING is it breakfast/lunch/dinner time yet?" on repeat

For me, my goal, every summer, is exactly the same. To get my kids to do a little work in the  morning, (Summer Skills books {like the Star Wars ones}, scriptures, practice piano, make bed, unload dishes, etc...) and then to play happily and peacefully all afternoon. (Yes I know. I’m a little delusional.)

Yes, we will participate in some camps and will have trips to the library/beach/pool/ice cream parlor--just not every day!! {But if I make a Summer Bucket List and post it on the wall, you’d better believe they are going to bug me for Ice Cream constantly.}

Last year, if they got their “stuff” done, I was happy to let them chill on iPads, or play video games, or watch t.v. in the late afternoon. But this summer I’m not so sure. 
My kids are looking at screens way too much. They get 'em at home. School. The car. Friends houses...
I am super sick of it. So I’ve been cutting back on my own personal phone use and social media dependence, and removing screens from them. The iPads are out of circulation (until the next road trip.) Fortnite has been banished. The Minivan DVD player is turned off, and my phone no longer has any games on it. My husband is not ready to rid the house entirely of T.V.’s or the stupid X-Box, but you better believe they will be turned off most of the time if I can help it.

I want my kids to experience something closer to what I experienced as a kid: playing with friends or siblings or even alone (gasp!) for an entire day. 
Preferably outside. 
(I’m sorry for what you go through Arizona. No judgments if your let your kids veg all day. I get it.)

Two years ago I started this list and hung it on the wall, but it had one fatal flaw.
One of the items was...
"Make a Lego stop-motion video."

This was the ONLY item on the list that in any way involved electronics, so naturally, it was the only thing anyone ever wanted to do. Such is the addictive nature of technology. "Mom, can you unlock the iPad so I can make a Lego stop-motion video??" That only worked like the first 23 times, and then I cottoned on.

Obviously, it has been dashed from the list.

In the meantime, as people give me more ideas, I add them.

I recommend copying and pasting this list into a new document and customizing it to fit your kids, your interests, your games, and the play structures you have available!

It might even be helpful to get really specific. “Take a walk” might turn into “Take a walk to Aunt Betty’s house for a cookie” ;) These are kids who have become dependent on screens and tech to entertain them and do their thinking for them. They may need a little help re-awakening their creativity at first.
Hope this helps! Good luck to all of us!!!

Time for SUMMER FUN !

Take a walk
Ride bikes
Ride a scooter up the hill and back down
Go for a nature walk and collect sticks, leaves and cool rocks (but leave them outside.)
Climb a tree
Play Hide and Seek
Play Sardines
Play Kick Ball
Play Red-Rover
Put on a Puppet Show
Write a play and act it out with siblings (Jane Austen style)
Play Basketball
How many free throws can you make? (100=$1 from Mom)
     Knock out
Jump on the Trampoline
     Dead Man
Poison/Hot Lava
    Practice your flips
     Freeze Tag!
Read a book
     In your room
     Outside on a blanket
With a friend
     In a blanket fort!
Play in the Playroom
     Stuffed animals
Make a Lego village outside
    Make a Lego zip-line
Make a Lego universe
     Set up the train track
Play a board game or card game with a friend or younger sibling
Skip Bo
Exploding Kittens
Rat a Tat Cat
Play 9
Play with Play-Doh (outside with permission and you have to clean up after.)
Jump rope (set a new record for consecutive jumps!)
Cut shapes for a picture and glue together Leo Lionni style
Make a collage with pics cut from a magazine
Do Origami
Play Kickball
Play Wiffle Ball
Play Softball or Baseball
Play Badminton
Play Soccer
Play Frisbee or Ultimate Frisbee
Play Croquet
Play Bocce
Play Volleyball
Play Handball/Wallball
Keep an Art or Nature journal of your summer
Make mud pies
Make a Fairy House or Fairy Garden in the corner of the yard
Or make A Magical Forest with dragons and castles and knights. Or Dinosaurs. Or Star Wars guys. Or Army Men.
Build a fort (EVERYTHING needs to be put away after)
Eat lunch outside on a blanket
Press summer flowers for an art project later
Run through the sprinklers
Have a water gun or water balloon fight
Blow bubbles
Draw pictures with chalk outside
Use chalk to play Tic-Tac-Toe on the driveway
Memorize a scripture and earn $1
Read 10 stories to little sibling and earn $1
Do 10 extra chores to earn Special Time (art/cooking/clay) with Mom
Do a secret service for someone
Write someone an anonymous love note!
Draw a picture
Paint (with permission)
Paint beach rocks (with permission)
Make a panorama in a shoe box-but only if you can find your own shoe box. (Do not ask Mom to find you a shoe-box.)
Write and illustrate a story. Bind with yarn.
Write in your journal
Write to the missionaries
Open and use one of the many How To {craft/draw/experiment} Books Mom has bought for you!
Draw an imaginary creature and write a story about it
Make dinner for your family with Mom's approval.
Go to bed and stay in your bed until 7 am tomorrow ;)
Get extra practice on your instrument so you’ll be extra AMAZING
Don’t veg away your summer! Fill it with FUN ACTIVITIES!!!
Have a FABULOUS and FUN DAY!!!

Additional Reading For Parents/Caregivers:
“[The] first-person shooter game, Call of Duty has been played for 25 billion total hours, which adds up to 2.85 million years—longer than the course of human existence!”

‘“I just want him to be happy” is a low bar. You can do better. Your son can do better. No child is born wanting to be a great scientist, or composer, or teacher, or entrepreneur. They have to learn something of the scope of human possibility beyond what they see in a cartoon video game like Fortnite. In other words: it is your job, as the parent, to educate desire: to instill a longing for something better, more lasting, than video games.”

The average American child is said to spend 4 to 7 minutes a day in unstructured play outdoors, and over 7 hours a day in front of a screen.”

P.S. What did I miss? Do you have any brilliant summer time activities your kids love? Let me know in the comments!!

Summer Games to Play Outside

SUMMER IS COMING!!! (Cue ominous music.)
My goal this year, like every year, is to get my kids outside as much as possible. I've revised and updated my list of Screen Free Summer Fun, but realized there are a few suggestions on there that the boys legitimately can't follow. For example, they have never played Kick-the-Can and although I played it a lot as a kid, the actual rules were kinda hazy when I thought about it.
I tried to find a super cute one-page printable on Pinterest, but I couldn't. So I made a really boring but serviceable one. If only I had finished that Desktop Publishing degree--regrets--sigh.
I found these directions on WikiHow and modified them to make them more concise and printable. Not entirely sure they make total sense, but your kid can probably get the gist.
In addition to Kick the Can, we have rules for Hopscotch, Four-Square, and Ghost in the Graveyard.

Here ya go:

How to Play Kick the Can
  1. Gather a group of 3 or more people.
  2. Find a can or plastic bottle to use.
  3. Designate playing boundaries. Play in an area with plenty of hiding places. Playgrounds, parks, and cul-de-sacs work great.
  4. Designate a jail area. The jail is where players go when they’re caught by the seeker. Your jail should have clearly defined boundaries. The jail needs to fit all the players playing. (We had to sit on the curb of our cul-de-sac when we played as kids.) Other un-tagged hiders can free you from jail by tagging you, but they risk being caught by the seeker.
  5. Pick the seeker and agree on a count time. Use rock, paper, scissors to select or use whatever method you prefer.
  6. Set up the can. Place in a central location that is wide open and difficult to sneak up on. You may want to locate your can close to your jail. This way, if the can is kicked, the seeker will have to run towards the jail while jailed players are running away.
  7. Hide while the seeker counts with their eyes closed
  8. Go to jail when caught by the seeker. For the seeker to catch someone, they have to call out the hider’s name and hiding spot. Then the hider and seeker race pack to the can. If the seeker arrives first or tags you first, you go to jail. If you get to the can first, you must kick the can before being tagged.
  9. Reset the game when the can is kicked. After the can is kicked, the hider runs to find a new hiding place while the seeker gets the can and places it back where it was. All jailed player are freed when a hider kicks the can.
  10. Play until only one hider remains. The last hider is the winner.

* Add more seekers to your game. But no babysitting the can.
* Play in the dark with flashlights.

Alternate version of the rules here!

How to Play Hop-Scotch

  1. Draw a Hop-Scotch Design on the ground with chalk
  2. Throw a flat stone or small object into square one. It has to be all the way inside the square and can't be touching the line. If you miss, you lose your turn. (Did you know there is an official Hop-Scotch Hoppy Taw game marker? I had one as a kid!)
  3. Hop through the squares, skipping the one you have your marker on.  Each square gets one foot. Which foot you start with is up to you. You can't have more than one foot on the ground at a time, unless there are two number squares right next to each other. In that case, you can put down both feet simultaneously (one in each square). Always keep your feet inside the appropriate square(s); if you step on a line, hop on the wrong square, or step out of the square, you lose your turn.
  4. Pick up the marker on your way back. When you get to the last number, turn around (remaining on one foot) and hop your way back in reverse order. While you're on the square right before the one with your marker, lean down (probably on one foot still!) and pick it up. Then, skip over that square and finish up.
  5. Pass the marker on to the next person. If you completed the course with your marker on square one (and without losing your turn), then throw your marker onto square two on your next turn. Your goal is to complete the course with the marker on each square. The first person to do this wins the game!
How to Play Four-Square

Another classic: Ghost in the Graveyard

What are some games you played as a child that you would like to reintroduce to your kids? Let me know in the comments. Maybe I can add the rules to this post!