Family activities together

In this day and age, it’s difficult to pry kids away from the computer, the television, their hand-held games or their gaming systems. It’s just a simple truth. Technology is the only “age” they have known to grow up in. It’s something that I have to be aware of, especially being the mom of 4 young boys.

My son William, who is 4 years old, knows how to turn the television on, knows how to change XBOX games, and loves to sit and play with his LeapFrog or turn on my computer to play Webkinz and Nick Jr. The question, “Is this something I should be worried about?” constantly goes through my mind.

When I was a little girl, I was never tied to the television, computer or a gaming system. I grew up with 4 kids in my family… when it was nice out, we would play outside. We would ride bikes, play basketball and hop skotch, work on our clubhouse, play on our swing set and dig in our sandbox. When it was cold out, we would play inside. Our play was usually imagination play – we would play Barbie, “house,” dolls and dress-up. My goodness, I remember spending hours and hours of playing with my sister. Just the two of us in our own little world. It was so much fun.

Today, things are so different. Or, at least, technology (which is a good thing!) has made the world of “play” different. We were given an XBOX by a friend 2 years ago. When we first got it, I worried my husband would be addicted to it. Now, I worry about my boys – specifically, William and Alexander (3). They both LOVE to play LEGO Indiana Jones and Batman. They could (and have) played for 2-3 hours at a time. During the day, when I’m working, is usually the time I will let them go on and play for an hour or so… and then when their little brothers are up, XBOX is off. But what amazes me is that William and Alexander know how to turn the games on, maneuver through the start-up and start playing.

I have to be honest… I sat down with my husband this past weekend and said, “That’s it. XBOX has a time limit and it’s time for outside play.”

I went out and bought a cooking timer. Now whenever the boys want to play, I set the timer for 30 minutes. That’s it. When it rings, XBOX is off.

I want to do more family activities with the boys. Even though they are all so young in age… I still know it’s possible to do activities together. One of our favorite things to do in the summer is walk the beach and collect shells. Last summer we had “contests” to see which boy could collect more shells. I want to continue to do fun things like that.

The boys are a little too young for bike rides and hikes through the park, but I know that doing things together – as a family – is the most important gift we could give the boys. I just want the activities to be ones where we are moving and being active. This is very, very important to me. I don’t want them to think that television watching and XBOX playing is the only thing to do with your brothers (and mom and dad).

What kinds of things do you do with your family to keep everyone together and active?

Disclosure: This blog post is sponsored by Healthy Choice. Please visit for more information on Healthy Choice and to print a free $1 off coupon.

About Audrey

Audrey McClelland has been a digital influencer since 2005. She’s a mom of 5 and shares tips on her three favorite things: parenting, fashion and beauty. She’s also a Contemporary Romance Author.

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  1. 5.19.09

    WE love hiking in the woods. And this summer we want to buy a bike trailer so we can start doing bike rides again – we have a river trail that goes from almost our house all the way into center city Philly 30 miles long. That would be an adventure with the kiddies!

  2. 5.19.09
    debindc said:

    We have a bit of a challenge with family activities in our house since the ranges of our4 children are toddler, pre-schooler, tween and teen! So clearly, all of their individual interests don’t always jive. We try our best to do some fun things together(playground, head down to DC for museums, zoo, etc.) but then sometimes, we just have to divide and conquer! I will say that there is definitely a time limit for tv, computer and videogames in our house – and we try to stick to it as much as we can – but I agree this is a very differernt generation and it will be interesting to see how 20 or 30 yrs from now, these kids fare “creatively” in this world when so much is already given to them “prepared.” Personally, I try to push playdoh, lego, painting and outdoor play as much as possible!

  3. 5.19.09

    Summer in Chicago is non-stop adventure. One of the activities that we have really embraced is gardening and learning how plants grow. Our daughter has her own set of tools and works with me to plant (and weed.) As soon as the pool opens, we will be regular attendees. When it is rainy (or cold which it is so much of the time) we try to come up various crafts and projects to do together. We recently painted wooden picture frames to give to the Grandmothers. We have painted kitchen towels (as gifts) and purchased small clay sculptures from the craft store to decorate and paint. Although I do find myself finishing these projects, they are timeless treasures.

  4. 5.22.09
    Jendi said:

    Oh, the timer. I’m in luv with my timer.

  5. 5.24.09
    Ginger said:

    I have 3 boys…5, 3, and almost 1. I am also entering the stage of video/computer games/television with the oldest. I need to get an egg timer to put downstairs with the video games, but I use my kitchen radio timer for cartoons/computer games. I want to cut back even more now that it’s nice outside. As for what we do together…we like to go to the zoo, walk to the park, library, play outside on the swing set, ride bikes/trikes, go to museums, etc.

    Good post! 🙂

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