If you’re worried that your child spends all weekend and every week night playing video games or sitting on the computer, don’t worry, there are some things you can still do. If you’d like to get your child to spend less time on video games and more time developing constructive skills or knowledge — there are plenty of fun activities that you can do with your child (or that they can do by themselves) that are both fun and educational.
If your child likes to read, or needs a bit of catch-up on reading skills, many cities, libraries, and even schools, have after school or weekend reading programs that you can enroll your child in, often for free. This will also be a great way for children who are interested in reading to find friends, or for children who resist reading to get some encouragement from peers.
There are always ways that you can volunteer with your children, and volunteering can be both a fun and interesting experience. In order to make volunteering not seem like a chore, you might give your child some choice in the matter (whether they’d like to volunteer at the homeless shelter, the local museum, or the Humane Society, for instance) or pick a volunteer project based on their interests. With younger children you will probably want to be with them, but with older children volunteering can be a great way for them to start to become more independent.
Plays, Writing, Animation
Do your children love books, television, or have wild imaginations? You could try adapting, acting, and filming out a Shakespeare play or scene with them over a series of weekends, or help them write and perform a small skit of their own. You could also just read and record classic stories, plays, or poems with them, encouraging them to practice the different voices.
Or, if your child likes art or drawing, you can point him or her in the right direction by helping them create a short animation or giving them a book on drawing comics. A multi-dimensional project like a skit or video is great because there are many different aspects that could appeal to different children, including making costumes, writing, learning about editing film, animation, and acting.
Make an Instrument or Radio
If your child is interested in music, electronics, or sculpture, making an instrument or radio might be the project for them, and it’s actually not as hard as it might seem. There are many, many, many tutorials on YouTube or Instructables.com that give simple instructions for making radios or instruments such as a homemade cigar box guitar or drums made out of gourds. You can also buy kits to make radios or instruments if you’d like to do it that way. In any case, making a musical instrument is a great way to introduce ideas of science and physics, such as a discussion of wavelengths or musical theory, while having a lot of fun making noise.
There are an infinite number of things that are both beneficial and fun, and if you work with your child for a little while to help them realize that there’s a whole world outside of cartoons and video games, they may start pursuing other interests and making projects on their own. Just remember that there’s no excuse to be bored in this fascinating world of opportunities!
is a children’s book enthusiast and online publisher for childrensbookstore.com. She enjoys blogging about reading and children’s books.