Take this from someone who’s clocked years in virtual realms and runs a gaming blog 3 nights a week – too much of one thing is no good for anything.
As parents, we know that our kids play PC games excessively. But do we know the magnitude of how frequently our children are detached from the real world?
Chuck’em a console and be on your way; right? 😂
Here’s some perspective for you.
In a controlled survey of 2,000 children by the Kaiser Foundation, 70% of children between the ages of 8-15 say they play video games almost every day for up to 5 hours each day. That’s 49,000 hours a week or 2,000 days a week for the quick studies among us.
Don’t even get me started on Facebook, YouTube and TikTok!
With deep lore fantasies, high-octane and even educational video games with friends, it comes as no surprise that video games consume households. And, for the most part, I applaud how many modern video games nurture creativity.
However, when it comes to our children and the negative impacts of excessive video gaming, well, I’m not so thrilled.
Whether it’s your children who cannot put the controller down or Dad who comes home from a hard days work and immediately starts working on his FIFA career, I have no doubt there are many kids who would love some quality time with their parents too.
So, if you are a parent who’s scrambling for activities other than gaming for your children to enjoy this summer, let’s pack your schedules full of exciting new hobbies to explore that don’t involve a console! 👇
8 Fun Video Game Alternatives
For some of my recommended activities to become a huge hit with your family, you’re going to have to spice up the adventure a little. After all, if you tell your kids that you’re going hiking they might hit you with hysteria – for all the wrong reasons.
So, while this list will speak broadly about each video game alternative, it’s up to you to take these ideas and transform them into the coolest activities eveeeeer!
Here are the 8 best alternatives to video games for your kids:
If you’re looking for a great way to spend a few hours with your kids this summer, jigsaw puzzles are perfect at nurturing your little tikes problem-solving skills and concentration. They are inexpensive and if you are really short for cash, a home made jigsaw puzzle will do just fine. Simply ask your children to draw a picture on thick card, cut this up into little jigsaw pieces and with a little bit of glue, you have your very own jigsaw masterpiece!
As an excellent alternative activity for kids that is more productive than video games, jigsaw puzzles have also improved greatly long since we stopped playing with them. Heck, you’ll probably find one that’s video game related anyways!
Failing that, you can also find some seriously cool jigsaw puzzles online. For example, take a look at the unique jigsaw collection from Lubiwood which represents all of your little ones favourite animals. They’re absolute works of art and well worth hanging up in your kids bedrooms once you’re done!
Hiking! You must be joking, right?
If that was your immediate reaction to this recommendation, I suggest you go and watch the movie ‘The Parent Trap‘ which is the perfect example of how much fun hiking and camping trips can be for kids. I’ll apologise in advance if you wind up floating on your inflatable mattress in the middle of the lake! 😂
There’s a big wide world out there and our kids need to explore it!
As one of the best alternative hobbies to video games, hiking (or just low key trekking) is an adventure like no other for your kids this summer. Through hiking, your children will learn about their natural surroundings and also build confidence in the big wide world. I know all too well that being cooped up inside for weeks upon is not good for mental health and since I started hiking, my own personal anxieties are much more controllable.
To make your hiking or walking trip more appealing, bring a picnic, some games for the road and plenty of singalongs. Make it a full family outing enjoyable for every one!
In school, one of your kids favourite classes is most likely art class.
Why? Because much like all of the games kids will play on Switch, artistic activities unlock your children’s abilities to express themselves in the greatest of ways without confinements. And so, another great video game alternative to bond with your children is painting by numbers or following one of the awesome art tutorials you can pickup on YouTube.
Just mention YouTube and your kids will be there in a flash.
Like gaming, painting harvests your children’s creative side and allows them to engage with new talents. You never know, you might just have the next Picasso in your family tree! From online art classes to lessons at your local community center, make new friends and get artsy with just a few basic materials.
Failing venturing outside of your home, there are also many painting groups on Facebook and other social media platforms that you can join to practice your skills. Just be sure you cover your furniture. Kids will be kids after all!
Another awesome (and often forgotten) video game alternative to enjoy with your kids is reading books together. Sure, the teenage Kevin and Perry’s of the world might run for the hills, lock their doors and get up to whatever teenagers get up to in their foul smelling abodes these days. However, there’s a limited window of time where your little ones will be all for a bit of storytelling – no doubt that time is running out!
One of my favourite childhood memories was when my father used to read ‘Fawlty Towers‘ to my sister and I whilst performing all of the characters voices. Story time was always the night before a soccer match and I look back at this now with so much love.
It was the best weekly ritual of my tweenage years and I remember these moments far more vividly than I do the thousands of hours I spent as a teenager playing video games. He was so good at re-enacting each scene from the UK hit TV series that I can still recount the storyline today. I guarantee your children will look back later on in life and cherish these moments with you too.
The popularity of video gaming means that there are no doubt tons of books with spin-off storylines featuring your kids favourite video game characters too. So, while books might seem unappealing compared to your kids heart-racing adventures online, they’ll be much more inclined to participate if you can collide both worlds together.
Did you know that a study of over 1,000 children in the UK determined that dancing, “how to be brave” and “how to make people laugh” were within the top 30 classes kids wished were available at school? Alright, “how to be good at video games” was number 4 of the list but they’re already the masters of that so let’s try a video game alternative instead!
Dancing is a great way to exercise, meet new people and let loose. You can join local dance classes or even learn a few dance steps on your own via YouTube. And, if you really cannot get your kids away from the screen, you can buy a dance game to play so they’re at least getting some blood flowing.
There are many different types of dances you can choose from, such as country, salsa, ballroom, tango, hip-hop, and many more. Dancing is a great alternative to video games; helping your children discover new talents and nurture social skills. Heck, why not embarrass yourself a little and bust some moves from your own era! No, don’t do that… 😂
Writing & Drawing
Why not write story with your children this summer? It could even be gaming related if they really are that addicted to video games.
Writing and drawing is another great way to improve your children’s reading and vocabulary skills whilst also being creative. There are many different types of journals and books that you can use, such as spiral notebooks, paint journals, or composition notebooks. Or, just pen and paper!
For both writing and drawing activities, you can also join creative groups on Facebook and make new friends along the way. There are thousands of online writing groups where you can create your own works. No doubt one of you reading this will have given birth to a future Shakespeare so it’s time to unlock those talents!
I’m a huge fan of martial arts classes for kids; no matter their age.
Not only does martial arts teach discipline, I am a huge advocate of teaching all children martial arts as the ability to defend ones self cannot be under-estimated. It’s structured, social and offers a degree of exercise that other activities cannot provide.
There are many different disciplines of martial arts you can choose from, such as karate, judo, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, wrestling, and many more. The techniques and philosophy of each are different, however, the principles of controlled combat are very much the same.
Like most of these alternative hobbies instead of video games, with martial arts, you can also join local martial arts clubs or classes and make new friends. Or, there are plenty of online martial arts classes to find online should you not have a local dojo!
For me, growing up was a repeat of four key activities. School, video gaming, dinner and soccer. That was my entire childhood. Now, when you take away the soccer, besides school, that would be a fairly lonely existence.
Sports games and summer clubs are a great way to get your children active with friends. You can play sports games at the local community center, park or even at your home. There’s such a wide variety of clubs to choose from so ask your little one what they are interested in playing and enroll them!
You might find that they are reluctant at first, however, I guarantee that once they are there learning new skills and scoring goals, they will have a total blast!
The Final Word
Whatever you do this school holidays, make sure that you diversify your children’s activities. There’s absolutely no way you’re going to strip them from gaming entirely. Unless, of course, you want to be the worst parent in the world.
However, every new activity you can introduce instead of video gaming will go a long way to developing your little tikes into well-rounded adults. It doesn’t have to be much, just one or two activities a week that takes them away from the screen and back into the world.
As I said, I’m a big advocate of video games. But not as a singular activity.
Don’t give into games consoles. It’s all too easy.
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