Video games, smart phones and computers aren’t necessarily incompatible with family activities. Instead of mandating a ban on the electronic devices that are an inextricable part of most kids’ lives, try these fun and enriching pursuits that will have everyone smiling together.
1. Plan a dream vacation. Give everyone 10 minutes to pick a country and surf the web for information on how to get there, where to stay and what sights to see. Make expenses no object and see what intriguing destinations everyone comes up with! Sites such as Canada 411 are helpful starting places.
2. Hold a family game night. Expand your options beyond Pictionary and let younger family members pick their favorite video games that everyone must agree to play, at least for one round or level. They’ll get a kick out of watching Mom, Dad or Grandpa try to work the controllers (it’s good to be humbled once in a while).
3. Wrap your brain around backwards speech. A free app for the iPhone called iReverseSpeech lets you record yourself saying a sentence or singing a line of a song, and then plays it backwards for you. You then try to record the backwards version and see how close you come to your original phrase! This is truly hilarious fun.
4. Run Wikiraces. You’ll need at least two computers. The referee picks two unrelated terms (like “refrigerator” and “postmodernism”). Players start by looking up the first term on Wikipedia; they then have to click links that take them through related articles until they reach the second term. Fastest surfer wins!