A week for the truly brave (Apr. 21 to 27)

April 22, 2008

So are you participating in National TV Turnoff Week (Apr. 21 to 27)? If so, good for you — today’s post is dedicated to you and your family. If not, give me a holler and we can commiserate while our kids are glued to the tube. There are weeks where M. doesn’t care either way if he gets his daily limit of TV, but this is not one of them. I don’t know what triggers these cravings, all I know is he’s stuck in a deep one lately. My goal is to stick to his daily limit, and if I can make it through to Sunday without giving in, I’ll consider myself worth of a pat on the back from the week’s sponsor, the Center for Screen-Time Awareness.

There’s a Web site for the week, but it’s not got as many ideas for ways to fill TV time as I had hoped. I think the assumption is that the end of April is a good time to schedule this event, as kids will want to be outside anyway … but even so it’s good to have a few ideas for plein air entertainment up your sleeve. Here are some that we’ve enjoyed lately:

  • Sun-faded cards: Using construction paper and “found” objects, experiment with how quickly sunlight fades colors. Early in the day, set out a piece of paper with the objects positioned carefully on it (a diversity of shapes works best). As the day goes on, remove one or two objects for comparison; at the end of the day, see how much the entire paper has faded. This can be a very simple project or a more elaborate one (for older kids); for directions on making it “art” see the Martha Stewart version online.
  • Magic bubble wands: If you’ve got a Frisbee and a flyswatter, you have the tools for a great bubble-making experience, especially for kids too young to blow into those ridiculously tiny bottled wands. To make a very sturdy bubble solution (one that will still work with some dirt and debris in it), stir together 4 cups water, 1 cup dish detergent and 1/4 cup light corn syrup. Pour a bit into the upside-down Frisbee, dip in the flyswatter and wave it around. Voila! Bubbles everywhere.
  • A new park or playground: It always surprises me how many city parks we haven’t explored yet, let alone county parks, and new playgrounds are being installed all the time. Both St. Louis County and city have sites listing their parks and playgrounds; the county also has a list of its newest parks at the Municipal Park Grant Commission site.
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