GADGET-FREE FUN ACTIVITIES WITH KIDS
There was an era when introducing toys with light and sound to an infant was a necessity for the cognitive development of the child. In the millennial times, we parents carry with ourselves 24*7 a toy which is so fascinating for the kids that it becomes an inevitable part of their lives too. Are you wondering what toy I am talking about? Bingo!! Yes, that’s our mobile phones and tabs. Unknowingly we ourselves introduce these gadgets to our infants and children get fascinated by the lights, sound, music which slowly develops into an addiction that’s hard to give up.
Our innocent kids get accustomed to these gadgets and it becomes challenging to demonstrate to them the highly negative impact it creates, more so, because we ourselves either fail to understand it or at times even acknowledge the harm gadgets can do. Kids become so glued to it than any other activity doesn’t interest them. Mealtimes become a nightmare and then we wonder how to undo the damage and reduce the screen time of our kids, they don’t eat or sleep without cartoons or music playing on televisions or mobiles or tabs. Sometimes it becomes a go-to tool for mums so as to get some time to finish off the chores or office work while the child is busy in the demon in disguise (read electronic gadgets).
In the times of this pandemic, minimising screen time has become even a bigger challenge because outdoor activities have reduced to minimum for our children and they feel captivated creating more of tantrums. In the absence of open space for running and playing there is a lack of motor activities which drastically impacts their mental and physical growth.
Why Screen time should be avoided
Want to know why you should bother to make little efforts and do away with any kind of screen time? Here are some answers to your whys:
It is because screen time affects adversely on all of these following very important skills in a child
- Cognitive development
- Development of motor skills
- Involvement of mindful activities
- Building up of nerve connections in the brain
- Early language development
- Advancement of schematic play
- Enhancement of functional dependency
All this I can say because I have been there done that. I have faced this problem with my soon-to-be-two daughter. Living in a joint family setup has its own fair share of challenges where I realized that the slow poison of gadget and screens was being administered by everyone in our family. It was when we noticed the severe reduction in attention span of my daughter and increased level of tantrums , that we realized the main culprit. Luckily, everyone in my family took note of it and together we started exploring ways to engage the kid and keep her completely off screen. Of course, the elders had to sacrifice their entertainment a lot but they happily did so for the well being of our daughter.
Now, I can hear all you mums reading this, asking the solution, how to combat this issue and engage our kids in productive learning without getting any of us bored and fussy. So, here I am bringing 5 fun easy activities that you can try with your kid using things available at your convenience and have some amazing Gadget-free time with
5 Gadget-free Ways to have Fun with Kids
Have you ever noticed that pile of dolls and teddy bears and blocks lying aside and your baby is just happy with the roller pin of your kitchen? Yes, all the articles owned and used by adults are always an attraction for them; after all they want to become as good as their parents.
Items required – 4-5 different sizes of steel bowls, two ladles
Technique – You and your kiddo are a band and can play best of the drums with those bowls
Advancement – Fill bowls with different level of water and enjoy the beautiful sargam.
The one thing we always want to keep our children away from is dirt and germs. The more we want to keep them away more they are attracted towards it. But let me tell you a fun fact – Dirtier babies are healthier babies. Yes, they develop strong immunity with more exposure to dust, mud and soil.
Items required – 1 broom, 1 mop or a small piece of cloth
Technique – Adjust broom/ mop to smallest size and give it to your baby. Best part no further instruction required, the baby would himself figure out what to do and how. And the absence of a NO NO mom would make it more enjoyable. (If needed you can demonstrate how the baby can clean his dolls, toys, cars, plush toys and other belongings).
Advancement – Give a small height stool to provide access to tables, etc. This would make it exciting for the baby as trajectory is always a fun in any form. This activity would definitely need your vigilance.
The all time favorite sensory activity. The importance and benefits of sensory play can be explained in a separate article itself. I learnt a very easy recipe from my mentor to make sustainable dough which can be put in fridge and be used for 2-3 weeks. Surprising? Yes, it is. The high salt content would keep the baby away from tasting it, however, keeping an eye would be helpful.
Items required – 1 cup flour, ½ cup salt, 1 cup water with lemon juice, food color of your choice (or as per availability), 1 and a ½ tbspn of any vegetable oil
Technique – Mix everything and cook in a pan for 5 min on low flame. Right after that, knead dough. The super soft play dough is ready. Give it to your baby and enjoy cutting, rolling and making shapes.
Advancement – Add glitter and a drop of essential oil to make it more attractive. This can engage your kid upto 20-30 minutes straight.
Coloring is a therapy. Painting has myriad advantages over mental progress. This activity will not just help keeping your child engaged but will help the parent as well to soothe. Instead of regular painting with brush or crayons, use these ideas to make it more exciting and enhance sensory development.
Items required – Fingers / Ear buds, Food color(s) and paper (even newspaper would do)
Technique – Take out some color in a palette and just dip fingers/ ear bud etc and paint the canvas.. Paint it red!! Don’t worry if you don’t have an apron for the baby or a sheet and the baby paints himself or his clothes. The food color can be removed from any surface.
Advancement– Take the ladyfinger with its crown cut or any flower or a sponge to use as a block and make different designs.
Oh! Do you have your eyebrows raised reading the word PLAY GYM under easily available things? Don’t worry, as I promised, you don’t have to look out for any special items to be arranged. Play gyms are fun for any age group. Again, trajectory takes front seat here. It is difficult restricting our high energy packets to remain inside in these pandemic times and as they don’t find proper channel to release their energy, this leads to irritable kids and exhausted parents.
Items required – All sizes of pillows and cushions, a blanket/ quilt, large-sized plush toys to play as companions
Technique – Just pile everything near a bed or a sofa. Remove any hazardous or breakable items placed nearby. Do a foolproof check and then ask baby to jump. You just have to give them a go ahead once and then you would have to struggle hard to stop them. Climbing up the bed or sofa and then gliding/ sliding/ falling/ stumbling down over pillows would make it super fun for the kiddo. Its more fun than its sounding here, you will believe me when you will see your child in action!
Advancement – Add hard card boxes to the set and make them tunnels, place two chairs apart and put a bedsheet over it and make a tent.
The above activities are focused on the age group of 1.5 to 3 years of kids and this list is not exhaustive. You just need to apply your JUGAADU mom brain and I am sure you will find a plethora of ideas more to wean the kids off-screen. I hope you will try these and don’t forget to give your feedback and suggestions.
Content Contribution By: Shruti Gupta
Read other posts related to