Gadget-free playdates for kids have become rare in this age where technology is everywhere. But gadget overuse can have harmful effects on your children: excessive dependence on devices can lead to disrupted sleep, delayed speech development, and disrupted learning patterns.
So how about unplugging for this weekend’s playdate, mom and dad? Pursuit of Passion has put together six playdate ideas for you to try with your child and their friends.
These are meant to entertain kids for a few hours without relying on any electronic device. Give your kid a taste of how you played before the age of the Internet.
Do the body chalk outline
There are so many possibilities when you put art and little kids together. Here’s one: lay down sheets of Manila paper on the floor—one sheet per kid. Have each kid lay down flat on their sheet in any position they want. Now all the adults have to scramble and trace each kid’s outline using permanent markers.
Once done, set out colored markers, crayons, stickers, glue, buttons, ribbons, etc. that the kids can use to decorate their own outline. Complete each artwork by scrawling each kid’s name on their artwork.
Build a pillow fort
What kid (or occasional parent) doesn’t squeal with delight when presented with a magnificent fort made of pillows, blankets, and clothespins? We thought so.
Clear out an area in the playdate venue (i.e. someone’s house) and ask the “attendees” to bring their own pillow and blanket. This builds up the anticipation for the activity. When everyone is gathered, start building the fort!
Pillows can be barricades; blankets can be the roof and walls, and clothespins will hold everything together. Once it’s up, role play a favorite children’s story!
Make some edible slime
If all the parents of this playgroup are okay with their kids getting messy (or high on sugar for a bit), then try this recipe from Parent Digital.
You will need marshmallows, 1 tablespoon cooking oil, and powdered (or confectioner’s) sugar. Put one cup of marshmallows in a microwave-safe bowl, then pour the oil over all of it. Nuke in the microwave on high for 30 seconds. Add half a tablespoon of sugar at a time to thicken the “slime,” mixing well after each addition. Keep adding sugar until the slime feels like putty. Let the kids add food color onto their slime as a finishing touch.
(Here’s a tip: unless you want a house full of extra-hyper kids, don’t tell them it’s edible. Making the slime edible is just insurance in case someone decides they want to taste their slime.)
Go on a scavenger hunt
Divide the kids into two teams and give each team a map that leads them throughout the house. (The map doesn’t need to be at scale. Just a simple sketch of the house will do.)
For kids over 5 years old, you can make it more exciting by posing challenges at every station—for example, put together a small jigsaw puzzle, sing Lupang Hinirang, do a Tala dance-off. Remember to hide the “treasure” at the last station!
Jump into sand, balloon, and water pits
Set up a few inflatable pools in someone’s garden or garage. Fill up one pool with inflated balloons and another with sand (which you can buy at hardware stores). Throw some plastic digging accessories into the sandpit. Then step back to watch the frenzy.
After about an hour, fill a third pool with water, hose down everyone, and turn it into a swimming party! (Save the balloons and reuse for future playdates.)
Patintero, taguan, agawan-base, sipa, langit-lupa. These are the street games you probably grew up with, right, mom and dad? How about you teach these to the kids this weekend? That will make for hours of laughter and fun for both you and the kids. (This is for kids over six, though; the ones who will understand and retain the rules of the games.)
It may be difficult, at first, to extract your child from their gadgets. But once they realize how much fun they can still have without the Internet and video games, you’ll be the one begging for a break to catch your breath.
Your kids deserve a happy childhood in a neighborhood where they can safely and freely play with their friends. Explore Avida Land’s house and lot options: you’ll learn about homes with green spaces where your kids can play, gadget-free, located in communities ideal for raising families.