Back to Basics
The kids have such a long Summer holiday that taking a family trip somewhere usually can only fill up part of it, while camps and other sports activities for the rest of the time can be costly. So, if we don’t want the kiddies to stare at the screen for the rest of their break, we need to come up with more home activities and hobbies to fill up their time. *Sigh*, the first day of school seems still so far away! This got me thinking back on how I spent my summer holidays when I was a kid, before TV streaming, the Internet, and Social Media existed. Actually, many of these toys still exist and are very good entertainment alternatives to phones and tablets. Here are some of them and maybe they can give you and your kids a few ideas to fill up your summer days with family fun the old-fashion way!
Good Ole Barbie
When it comes to my most memorable toy growing up, it has to be Barbie! The live-action movie that comes out this summer brings Barbie back into the limelight. Looking at the history of Barbie and the controversies that followed this doll through the years, it has come a long way. From having a very stereotyped image of a blond, white girl with an unrealistic body shape that only had “feminine careers”, Barbie and her friends have evolved into a family that embraces diversity in race, beauty, and gender roles. Initially, I was a bit reluctant to let my daughters play with it when they were young. But I thought if I explained to them the story of Barbie and her evolution through the years in the context of women’s rights and diversity, the children would look at Barbie in a different light and appreciate her in a more meaningful way than just being a dress-up doll.
Board Games Rule!!
An alternative to switching on the TV or playing a computer game, a family can always count on the good ole board games! They promote family bonding and encourage social skills in the “traditional” way (no hiding behind the screen and communicating by text messages). My favorite used to be Pictionary, and there is the children’s version that even the younger members can play too! There are so many new games in recent years that the choices are practically endless, with various themes such as adventure, sports-related, or trivia. I prefer the kind of board game that the players need to work together to solve a problem or to achieve a goal (instead of having the player compete against each other), so that the family can work together as a team.
Last but not least, there are crime-solving or mystery detective games that the whole family can play together! You can even create your own to play with younger kids and start helping them develop problem-solving skills early on! These games encourage the kids to approach the “case” with an analytical mind, think out-of-the-box, and learn to work with others to improve their social skills. There are so many really cool toys that we have grown up with in the 80s and 90s that our kids would still love to play with, that they would gladly lay down their electronic devices for! What else would you recommend?Stay Sparky!