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What does your DS10 do with his time?


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DS10 was/is grounded from screens for two weeks, except for TV when the whole family is in the living room together watching it.

 

So, last week he spent his time studying his astronomy textbook, reading the first two Maze Runner books, and drawing a picture of planets. He's been taken on some errands, including a service opportunity with our church, gone on walks with DH, and sat around doing nothing. He's not complaining, but it is obvious that he is very bored. Our intent is not for him to be bored, just to get him time away from screens.

 

He simply doesn't know how to entertain himself without a tablet or computer. Other than running around on errands with us or reading, he's completely lost on what to do.

 

He asked what I did as a child before computers, but my childhood isn't much help. Between public school and homework, I had much less free time than he does. I also had neighbor kids to play with. All the rest of my time was spent reading or drawing.

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I'm very interested to see the responses you get... I have a 11 year old ds who spends a lot of time on the computer, tablet, or gaming systems. He does read a lot, and play Legos, but he seems to gravitate more towards electronics.

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DS11 builds with Legos, builds paper and plastic models, shoots hoops, practices soccer, explores woods, plays board games, has Nerf battles with brother or friends, reads, draws, plays with dog, reenacts WWII battles with toy soldiers, plays with Bey Blades (I hate those), rides his bike, and, if he says he's bored, gets stuck with chores.

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Legos!

 

Pretend play in the back yard with younger brother and sister

 

Directing and acting in plays with younger brother and sister in backyard

 

Reading

 

Writing stories

 

This is my one child who is never ever bored. He can always come up with something fun to do, usually involving other kids in the family. He's almost 12 now, but he's always been like this.

 

BTW, we don't have video games in the house, except games on the ipod.

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He mostly comes up with weird imaginary missions/scenarios that he can draft his sisters into playing. He also draws, plays with legos, beyblades, bakugan, redakai, and reads comics (like Calvin and Hobbes- not superheros). Sometimes he'll direct little stop motion videos with their toys. They aren't allowed to watch tv or play video games during the week. If he were allowed, he'd be on the computer or game console all the time.

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My 11 year old is Catholic, and has always given up all electronics for Lent.

 

He spends a significant amount of time plotting -- writing, reading, designing, creating -- various experiments and doodads. For example, his latest project has been on-going for about 6 months now; he's rigged a pulley system between four of the (very mature) trees in our yard, and he's always tweaking the materials and such. This involves a lot of tree climbing :) The project before that was trying to re-direct the creek that runs nearby. Futile, but fun for us to watch and something to keep him busy. It's not like I have a picket fence he can paint LOL.

 

My son is good about yard work. He doesn't love it, but he doesn't really mind it much either. He mows, weeds, plants, ... this year Lent has coincided with planting season, so without electronics he has had more time to be outside figuring out how he wants his garden to grow this year. I threw a book at him called lasagna gardening, so he's spent some time plotting and building a frame for that. My 10 and 12 year old nephews aren't Catholic and don't do Lent, and they've spent a good deal of time outside with my son helping him out with this project in particular.

 

Legos. Games with the family. Re-arranging the boys' bedroom LOL. I ask for his help with chores - not the mundane ones, but the "never get around to them" ones like sorting pictures. He'd come and go as I sorted, and we got in some good family history time. Over Christmas my sister taught him how to crochet, and the next time I see him bored I'll suggest he start a project.

 

Scout stuff. Even if yours isn't in Scouts, he can work through the book (my nephews do alongside my son, for fun). My boys also have a few science experiment books that I let them have free reign with. Their interest comes and gos, but they do everything themselves. Janice Van Cleave's books are particularly easy for them to do independently, with the added benefit of being in the collections of many libraries.

 

And sometimes he's just bored LOL. And that's okay, too.

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Ours plays outside a lot, riding bikes, hunting insects, running, digging in the dirt, etc.

 

He loves to draw using his "Draw Write Now" books. He also does what we call "Copy Color." We have a lot of really nice Dover coloring books. He chooses a picture, copies it on our copier, then colors it with Prismacolor pencils.

 

He reads a lot and also enjoys when I read aloud to him.

 

Currently, he is also designing tons of paper airplanes and comparing how they fly.

 

He has very little screen time so his norm is the above.

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My 9 year old boy recently went screen-free M to F. Although I was initially very skeptical, it has been a good change for us and I think we'll make it permanent. He's nicer even when he's "using" on the weekend.

 

Anyway, what he does:

plays with Lego and playmobil

plays with his brother

plays outside

plays with neighbors

draws

board games

listens to music or audio books

looks at pictures in books (like DK or others with interesting pictures)

 

Still haven't caught him reading for fun.

 

I *have* cut loose with some things I used to keep for car trips and the like -- finish a sketch books, fun puzzle games, etc.

 

He doesn't seem unable to amuse himself anymore. The first week or two was hard.

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Legos: He has a small set of basic bricks and leftover pieces from a Star Wars model we never completed. He doesn't seem to know what to do with them.

 

Toys: We don't own Playmobile, toy soldiers, bey blades, bakugan (?), redakai (?), a basketball hoop, baseball bat, etc.

 

Tools: I can't imagine him using real tools, or at least cutting tools, by himself. He has nothing to use them on anyway. I admire those of you who have kids who can use tools, build things with tools, and have the materials to use tools with.

 

Models: We like this idea. He could use practice with the fine motor skills that would require. DH is going to look for a beginner kit for him tomorrow.

 

Woods: We have a small nature preserve across the street but haven't allowed the kids in it on their own. We've been told about occasional coyotes and questionable people in it. I'll call the police department and ask them about the safety of letting them go in there tomorrow.

 

Biking: We live right off a major highway and a major arterial. There's not really a safe place for them to ride and I don't feel comfortable about them using the bike lanes on a 40mph road, though we are starting to consider letting them walk to the grocery store on or to the coffee shop a mile down the road on their own.

 

Weather: Our weather is currently very cold and wet. Well, it is wet 9 months of the year. We don't spend very much time outside until late spring. We don't really have the clothing to allow it even if they wanted.

 

 

How do you handle letting your older kids go outside when the younger ones freak out every time someone walks out the front door without them? They want to go out, too, but I can't always (or don't want to) go outside with them. If it's a choice between cooking dinner or going outside in the freezing cold wet weather, dinner wins every time.

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My son's idea of something fun to do is to buy a 6 inch Newtonian reflector telescope and using it to measure the parallax of a star. The likelihood of him getting a $800-$1,000 telescope is about zero.

 

Sounds like he needs to spend some time learning the art of grant-writing :D

 

Our neighbor converted one of his upper-level rooms into a mini-planetarium, complete with small retractable roof. He has a regular group of cronies over for star-gazing, and he LOVES when the kids come over. He's super passionate about this stuff.

 

Obviously an expensive telescope is out of reach for your son, but there are still a ton of ways to build off of that interest. I'd start with a book of astronomy projects, give him $50 for supplies and let him go to town. Or have him start figuring out jobs he can do from home to save up to buy his own. My neighbor is the kind of guy who would absolutely give a grant to a 10 year old boy with that kind of interest level in his hobby ... what astronomy clubs or planetariums are nearby that you can hook your son up with?

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My screen addict is older (almost thirteen) but I've been reading this thread with interest. I recently grounded him from Xbox/non family tv for two weeks. The mega fit he threw immediately bought him a third week. We are three days in and he is acting like he is dying. I implemented a mandatory bedtime reading time. The book choices are all well within his reading range and I specifically picked several that fit his interests and gave him a choice between them. You would have thought I had suggested he read war and peace in one sitting. I hate to say it but I'm pretty sure he has a serious addiction to screens. I'm not sure we will ever be able to reinstate them here. If he has that option he absolutely ignores all else.

 

He *has* managed to get out and skateboard for a bit this afternoon and he and his siblings started filming a miniseries in my mothers woods. That's been the extent of his creativity. He thought he wanted to do stop motions and we bought him a kit at Christmas but that a) took work and thought and b) he wasn't producing cinema quality shows right away so he never picked it up after the first try. To say I'm frustrated with him is an understatement. If I could find one thing he likes *besides* Halo.

Edited by Gingerbread Mama
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Would you be comfortable letting the 5-year-old outside with him? Last year my then 11yo taught the 5yo how to ride a bike! Awesome!

 

I'd also try to get him interested in playing with the younger two, especially the 5yo since they can have tons of fun together. My older ds loves doing things like building forts for the younger ones, or helping them set up scenarios with their stuffed animals, etc. I think he does feel a bit old for some of that stuff, but he does still enjoy it at some level, and definitely enjoys seeing them get excited about what he has built. Because of course he can build something way cooler than they can.

 

Other ideas he could do with the 5yo:

- draw a treasure map

- have a birthday party for the stuffed animals (this takes my boys all afternoon...no idea why!) - we don't serve real cake or anything, but maybe let him cook something out of a ready-made mix where you just add water?

- Write a book for himself or for the 5yo (based on his interests)

- matchbox car races, etc.

- toy dinosaurs? set them up, preferably outside

 

LEGOS! You mentioned you have some bricks and parts of a set never completed. I thought all boys loved, loved legos. Does your younger ds like them? All three of my boys play with them for hours and hours and hours. I'd buy an inexpensive set (under $20) to get him interested. We have a huge box full of interesting parts from many sets (jetwing fighters, etc.) and they make all sorts of things out of that. My 6yo built an American Flag once (red/white stripes, w/ blue area and "stars").

 

Puzzles?

 

Football cards. They spend hours reading them.

 

Good luck - that's hard! Sounds like he's trying.

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My ds isn't 10 yet, but he likes to spend his time building with Legos, riding his bike in the driveway, playing with our dog and cat, drawing, playing chess, jigsaw puzzles, Snap Circuits, and just generally running around outside with his younger sister and the neighbor kid. He likes to watch birds so we've recently hung a couple of bird-feeders outside of his bedroom window where he can sit with his bird identification books and watch them.

 

I see that you say he isn't into Legos and your road isn't safe for riding bikes. Do you have a driveway or sidewalks? You listed all the toys he doesn't have: Beyblades, Bakugans, a bat, basketball hoop, Playmobil, etc. but what toys does he have? Does he like puzzles? Does he like to draw? My ds loves drawing books and I'm sure you can find some at your library. What about board games? Chess? Checkers? Cards? Skateboard? Hunting for bugs, snails, worms or other critters outdoors?

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Sounds like he needs to spend some time learning the art of grant-writing :D

 

Our neighbor converted one of his upper-level rooms into a mini-planetarium, complete with small retractable roof. He has a regular group of cronies over for star-gazing, and he LOVES when the kids come over. He's super passionate about this stuff.

 

Obviously an expensive telescope is out of reach for your son, but there are still a ton of ways to build off of that interest. I'd start with a book of astronomy projects, give him $50 for supplies and let him go to town. Or have him start figuring out jobs he can do from home to save up to buy his own. My neighbor is the kind of guy who would absolutely give a grant to a 10 year old boy with that kind of interest level in his hobby ... what astronomy clubs or planetariums are nearby that you can hook your son up with?

 

Yeah, finding him a math mentor and astronomy mentor is something I've thought of doing. I'm not sure how to go about finding them.

 

The most local and active astronomy club is about 30-40 minutes away w/o traffic and has a student meetings on the last Friday of the month, during his sparring club for TKD. We've been talking about letting him skip sparring to do astronomy instead those weeks.

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My 13yo has been busy making repairs to his fort for warmer weather. I would second the idea for Dangerous Book for Boys. My ds really loved the book a couple of years ago. There are all sorts of ideas in there that he might have fun with. Some other things my boys enjoyed at that age:

 

Board games

Logic puzzle books

Digging and playing in the stream behind our house

Making his own bow and arrows.

Making a shelter in the woods

Backyard Ballistics

 

 

For his astronomy interest, have you seen the Stellarscope at Home Training Tools?

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My ds is 11. We have very limited screen time for the kids, and he does well with that. Generally, if he isn't doing school or doing chores, he can be found doing any of the following.

 

(1)Reading

 

(2)Creating elaborate math equations...I know this one seems odd, but that's my kid... (He has actually checked out calculus books for fun...)

 

(3)Playing with his BB gun (I save my Diet Pepsi cans for him...)

 

(4)Playing with his bow and arrows (Currently seems to be on a quest to improve the distance he can shoot)

 

(5)Playing with his Nerf guns

 

(6)Teaching himself magic tricks (He received some trick decks of cards for Christmas, and really enjoys practicing)

 

(7)Drumming (I'm pretty amazed at how much he has self-taught himself since receiving the set and a How-To book for Christmas)

 

(8)Playing board games (when he can convince a sibling or parent to play)

 

(9)Exploring in our wooded area

 

(10)Meandering...he actually enjoys just puttering around in the yard, getting lost in his own thoughts...

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My son's idea of something fun to do is to buy a 6 inch Newtonian reflector telescope and using it to measure the parallax of a star. The likelihood of him getting a $800-$1,000 telescope is about zero.

 

But, there are only 2 days a year there where it is not cloudy or rainy and he could actually use it! :lol::lol::lol:

 

We had a neighbor with a telescope growing up, it was at least 5 months after he bought it that there was a day nice enough to use it! (It must have been sometime in August, August usually has some nice days.) And, by the time he got it figured it out and found something, it had started to get cloudy again.

 

:grouphug:

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Would you be comfortable letting the 5-year-old outside with him? Last year my then 11yo taught the 5yo how to ride a bike! .

 

No way! Never. The boys do not get along and never have.

 

Neither of the boys play with the Legos. Seriously. I even bought him the Unofficial Lego Builders Guide to help him figure out how to build with them. He did read it.

 

Do you have a driveway or sidewalks? You listed all the toys he doesn't have: Beyblades, Bakugans, a bat, basketball hoop, Playmobil, etc. but what toys does he have? Does he like puzzles? Does he like to draw? My ds loves drawing books and I'm sure you can find some at your library. What about board games? Chess? Checkers? Cards? Skateboard? Hunting for bugs, snails, worms or other critters outdoors?

 

I just listed items that people had mentioned. We have a short cul-de-sac he could ride on but it's pretty boring so he doesn't do it. The connecting street is a small one (barely room for two cars to pass) without sidewalks. They just finished construction on the major street which opened our road up again. Our neighbor has cautioned us to be very careful of cars speeding down our little street now that it is open. Apparently, some people think 25mph means 40+ mph.

 

He has some Nerf guns they play with once every week or two. There's the Legos. He has a Kodak easy share camera. We have some old Hot Wheels cars and a car play rug. We have a lot of Webkinz that he's not interested in anymore. We have a basketball, a softball, and a kids softball glove. He has a skateboard, but he doesn't know how to ride it and hasn't tried more than a few times when we bought it last summer. Maybe I should make him go outside and try again. We have a cheap telescope that is very difficult to use and really can't be used this season due to cloud cover. We do have quite a few games that he likes to play when he can get his sister to play with him. Puzzles don't appeal to any of us. He might go look for bugs. I'll suggest that to him; usually I'm the one who finds and brings the bugs in to look at. I'm giving the kids drawing lessons for school; he doesn't show talent for it and doesn't care for it. They did fingerprint drawings a few days using Ed Emberly books and the old ink pads we own. I need to get them more ink pads, but the color ones are expensive so I haven't been able to do that yet.

 

Mostly, he likes math and astronomy. He does do quite a bit of both but I think he needs more to do than just study textbooks. He did read two YA books last week, and I made him start another today when I found him laying on the couch doing nothing.

Edited by joannqn
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For his astronomy interest, have you seen the Stellarscope at Home Training Tools?

 

He'd probably like that. I'll see if I can get him one this summer. We can't afford it right now, and well, the sky is cloudy almost every day.

 

But, there are only 2 days a year there where it is not cloudy or rainy and he could actually use it! :lol::lol::lol:

 

No kidding! We missed the whole moon, Jupiter, and Venus line up. We also missed the most recent eclipse. He's hoping the sky will be clear the night Venus transits the sun this year. I think he has about a 50-50 chance of seeing that.

Edited by joannqn
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We live in a colder, wet climate as well. We have a personal trampoline that my 10 yo likes to bounce on a lot. He also has a large exercise ball that He bounces on in his room. He reads a lot of non-fiction. He and his brother play chess. Until recently they played with a much loved Rescue Hero's set. They build with Lego's. A nice alternative to Lego's that your son might like are Wedgits. My children prefer the larger sets to the mini sets.

 

 

I need to get them more ink pads, but the color ones are expensive so I haven't been able to do that yet.
The Dollar Tree has red, blue, green, yellow and black ink pads for a dollar each. We use baby wipes to get the ink off fingers after stamping (also a dollar).

 

...He did read two YA books last week, and I made him start another today when I found him laying on the couch doing nothing.
I have found that my 10yo does some really imaginative thinking when he seem to be just lying on the couch doing nothing.
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My son's idea of something fun to do is to buy a 6 inch Newtonian reflector telescope and using it to measure the parallax of a star. The likelihood of him getting a $800-$1,000 telescope is about zero.

 

Orion XT6 Classic Dobsonian Telescope & Beginner Barlow Kit on sale right now for $299, free shipping. This is a good deal!

 

http://www.telescope.com/Telescopes/Dobsonian-Telescopes/Classic-Dobsonians/Orion-XT6-Classic-Dobsonian-Telescope-amp-Beginner-Barlow-Kit/pc/1/c/12/sc/13/p/27160.uts

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I feel like my children just missed the techno childhood. My son, at age 16 I think, was the first person in our town to own an iPod! We had THREE computer games -- Robinhood, Castle Explorer, and Carmen San Diego. (There just wasn't much available back then!) We were lucky; I'm sure it would be much more of a challenge to have a young child in today's world.

As it was, my son spent the majority of his time with Legos. We had a little card table set up in his room, so he could work on his Lego creations and not have to put it away every night. This was a huge, huge part of his childhood.

Other than that, he read books a LOT. He probably went through six books/week. He also wrote stories. He played lots of imagination games with his sisters. He rode his bike.

But, he is an artist at heart. I'm not sure what I would have done if he wasn't...if he just wanted to rough house and be physically active all the time. He was very content to just sit and work on an artistic projects.

Later, he got into sports heavy-duty, but by then, he was old enough to be on school teams.

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Legos, learn to whittle, learn to do other handcrafts (crochet, leather working, build a little something), make some recipes by himself with supervision, get a book on making flubber/goop,etc. Learn to sew a button, hem pants. Play some board/card games with siblings. Learn about a country and make a dish from there. Visit the library...spend time really perusing the shelves. Make a fort, fish, explore the land around with a sibling (we have a lot of land around us), identify the trees/plants on your property, make a night time flash light and map the stars you can see in your area at night. Paint, draw, make clay sculptures...these are some of the things my kids have done.

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Nerf gun "missions" and wars. Legos and Bionicles. Drawing mazes, hidden picture pages and other puzzle type stuff for his siblings to do. We taught him how to play Solitaire. LOL He has a lot of Star Wars figures (and other figure sets) that he likes to set up all over any room. He reads all kinds of books. Games with any siblings he can wrangle into playing. Paper airplanes and simple origami. A few times he's made one of those Incredible Machine type things, kwim? Sometimes he'll go into his cardboard playhouse and talk to himself. LOL!

 

None of these things come easily to him, btw, because he DOES like the computer and xBox best. lol It's helpful that we have a lot here for him to do, though.

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My 10 year old builds go-carts and mini-forts with scrap wood. He builds model airplanes. He reads lots of chapter books about things like castles and cowboys (well, that's this week). He plays with his siblings. Yesterday, he built a gun that shoots three rubber bands using some scrap wood, clothespins, and some hot glue. He plays around with wires, batteries, LED lights to make cars, etc. He sometimes plays with K'nex, Legos, or FischerTechniks (sp?), but he'd much prefer to make something from scratch.

 

I think he's creative out of necessity, since he doesn't really have access to any screens unless we watch a DVD as a family in the afternoon or evening or if I let him look something up on wikipedia (which is rare).

 

Oh ... he reads our encyclopedias a lot too.

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DS10 was/is grounded from screens for two weeks, except for TV when the whole family is in the living room together watching it.

 

So, last week he spent his time studying his astronomy textbook, reading the first two Maze Runner books, and drawing a picture of planets. He's been taken on some errands, including a service opportunity with our church, gone on walks with DH, and sat around doing nothing. He's not complaining, but it is obvious that he is very bored. Our intent is not for him to be bored, just to get him time away from screens.

 

He simply doesn't know how to entertain himself without a tablet or computer. Other than running around on errands with us or reading, he's completely lost on what to do.

 

He asked what I did as a child before computers, but my childhood isn't much help. Between public school and homework, I had much less free time than he does. I also had neighbor kids to play with. All the rest of my time was spent reading or drawing.

 

We don't let DS10 have screen time other than family time during the week. It was as though we could watch his brain power being slowly drained from him making school miserable for everyone one, and his behavior toward others in the family worsens with the more screen time he has.

 

Legos: He loves Legos. K'Nex. Erector sets. Anything he can build. He really likes the sets that don't take forever to put together so he can get build and play in a relatively short period of time. The larger sets take a long time to build and he gets frustrated when they fall apart when he plays with them.

 

Nerf: He and his sister and the neighborhood kids spend hours playing with Nerf, sometimes with the darts and sometimes without. They act out scenarios from movies, video games, and their imaginations.

 

Hot Wheels: He still loves Hot Wheels. He will set up his tracks and play or just go through his collection of cars arranging them by type, color, or level of coolness.

 

Scout stuff: Even though your son isn't a Scout, you should take a look at a Webelos book on line. There are a lot of great ideas in there: http://moorescouting.org/Forms/Handbooks/Webelos%20Handbook%2033452.pdf Start at page 89 on the file (pg 83 in the handbook). The activities are divided into 4 groups: Physical, Mental, Technology, Community, and Outdoor.

 

Baking/cooking: DS loves to help in the kitchen.

 

Playing with neighborhood kids: He anxiously awaits the arrival of the school bus so he can call his friends, jump on his bike and go play. Nearly every night either an extra kid is here or mine is elsewhere.

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My DS9 isn't allowed to use screens except for school-related stuff during the week...so.....

 

He does a lot of sports-hockey and tennis, practices piano, plays with his brother (forts, spies, board games, Monopoly is a favorite). He runs errands with me, does chores (bathroom, washing dog), goes inline skating, biking around our community...unfortunately he doesn't read much in his free time :glare: except for Calvin and Hobbes.

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School 7:30-3pm

includes 1 hour piano practice

1 hour silent reading for history

1/2 hour mom reading aloud

 

After school 3pm-

2x week travel team baseball practice several hours

baseball tournemants on weekends

rec basketball in off season

pick up basketball, trading sports cards, or nerf guns with neighbor kids after school

board games with family and friends

mindstorms

building technic sets

building erector, knex, or engino

surfing espn info maybe 15 min a day

reading in bed at least 1 hour at night, usually much more

 

No tv - except sports - pro football, college basketball and pro baseball

No video games

No pc games by choice - we have tons for special needs brother

No movies or dvds, doesn't like them...

Edited by LNC
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My son only gets screen time when we are watching an educational movie. No computer. No video games. He...

 

1. Builds forts outside and plays in them.

2. Rides his bike with friends.

3. Reads and/or listens to books.

4. Plays with Legos and Playmobil. Yesterday he built Middle Earth using his Playmobil. (pix below)

5. Builds aliens using cardboard and egg cartons.

6. Plays with Knex and Snap Circuits

7. Draws matchbox cities on the driveway with chalk and plays with cars and planes.

8. Builds airplane models.

9. Chores

10. Draw maps, cars, etc.

11. Fencing lessons

 

003+%281280x769%29.jpg

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We don't do a lot of screen time. We only have a tv for dvds and the kids can only watch those on special occasions or if we are sick. They only have a few Lego games for the Wii and those are limited too. Computer is mostly just for school related stuff but if they are going to do something creative then I'll allow it for that. For example they have made up stories as a Power Point presentation and currently they are making cards for an airplane game. Other things my 10 and 13 year olds like:

 

Legos

Playmobil

Snap circuits

Nerf guns

Board games

Marble run

Puzzles

Bike riding

Drawing

Making their own stories/ comics

Reading

Listening to music or audiobooks

Baking

 

My 10 year old is also learning to knit. It's not a typical boy thing but it keeps his hands busy and helps him focus.

Edited by elinnea
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My 11yo wanders in and out of rooms sighing frequently until told to "please find a book to read or so help me you'll be doing chores until you're 15."

 

:lol: Sounds like mine. If he can't entertain himself with k'nex or outside and even 'looks' bored to me, he gets a job to do. Amazingly, he comes up with something to do!

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My nine- and eleven-year-old sons play with Legos, play Magic the Gathering or reassemble their decks, play Dungeons & Dragons or work on their campaigns, play card games like Munchkin or Killer Bunnies, play board games like Puerto Rico or Settlers of Catan, work on their electronics projects, work on small scale woodworking projects, draw diagrams of usually imaginary scifi things, draw comics, write fan fiction, read fantasy novels, read popular science books and magazines, ride their bicycles to the library or to the state museum, throw a ball around for the dog, make entire-city-block-long sidewalk chalk masterpieces, play tag and other city kid games with the neighbors on the sidewalks and stoops, create little worlds and characters out of cardboard, make mini weapons of mass destruction from the book titled like so and launch mini wars, and, most dorkeliciously, dress up in crazy costumes and take foam weaponry to the local park where they battle it out to the "death" for hours.

 

Sounds like your son needs some regular non-punitive screen-free time so he can remember how to use his own imagination.

Edited by dragons in the flower bed
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Could you make him a homemade chemistry set? I know there was a list of items here a couple of years ago.

 

Are there any magazines he might like to subscribe to? Boy's Life still seems ok.

 

Can you afford snap circuits?

 

What about roller blades? Do you have a sidewalk he could practice on?

 

How about getting him a rat? They are intelligent, easy keepers, and he could play with it by giving it challenges and that sort of thing.

 

Could he learn to use some tools with his dad? A hammer is a good start.

 

One year, dh showed the boys how to paint, and they painted the basement for pocket money. He wrote on each wall with pencil the price he'd pay them.

 

Do you have anything smallish he could learn to refinish?

 

How about inviting friends over?

 

Could he learn to cook or bake with you? A man who can make killer brownies will have a happy wife...:001_smile:

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Do you have a basketball goal? My ds loves to shoot hoops. He also hits tennis balls over the house-one of his favorite past times for some reason. He putts and chips golf balls in the back yard. Throws the football. Shoots his Nerf gun. Rides his bike and scooter. Naps:0) If this child ever slows down, he crashes. He occasionally sets up forts with his little sister, or plays Playmobiles with her. He does not like to read, but loves to do anything with a ball. And golf, golf, golf.

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My screen addict is older (almost thirteen) but I've been reading this thread with interest. I recently grounded him from Xbox/non family tv for two weeks. The mega fit he threw immediately bought him a third week. We are three days in and he is acting like he is dying. I implemented a mandatory bedtime reading time. The book choices are all well within his reading range and I specifically picked several that fit his interests and gave him a choice between them. You would have thought I had suggested he read war and peace in one sitting. I hate to say it but I'm pretty sure he has a serious addiction to screens. I'm not sure we will ever be able to reinstate them here. If he has that option he absolutely ignores all else.

 

He *has* managed to get out and skateboard for a bit this afternoon and he and his siblings started filming a miniseries in my mothers woods. That's been the extent of his creativity. He thought he wanted to do stop motions and we bought him a kit at Christmas but that a) took work and thought and b) he wasn't producing cinema quality shows right away so he never picked it up after the first try. To say I'm frustrated with him is an understatement. If I could find one thing he likes *besides* Halo.

 

Your ds sounds like my youngest, but mine is 9. I bought him a book/cd rom to make his own video games aaaand, well, he said it was too hard and basically my ds11 took it over. My ds, also like yours is a perfectionist (at least they sound similar).

 

To the OP: We just moved video games to after dinner only on school days. It actually went well. I'm considering taking them away on school days, period. It's a freeing feeling without them, really.

 

My ds9 is our house screen addict. Some days I feel like I'm going to lose my mind. I'm serious. If he's not watching tv, playing video games, looking on the internet (see a screen theme here?), he's TALKING about them.

 

On the plus side, he's recently discovered air soft guns. His brother, friends and himself have air soft wars (with protective gear).

 

So, air soft/tv/video games are the extent of his interest. Sad? Yes, but I'm trying to introduce other stuff. It's hard b/c almost all the time he's not interested. That and dh is laid-off, so we don't have any extra money for "stuff".

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My 11 year old still enjoys playing with his brother and sister, legos, playmobil, building forts, whatever...

 

Screen time is strictly limited here - no TV, DVDs with family only, ITouch only after school and other activities (or while sitting at siblings gym meets for hours...)

 

He spends 1-2 hours a day playing his violin, 12 hours a week doing gymnastics, and 4 or 5 hours playing with his quartet or orchestra. Volunteers at church, does chores here at home...

 

Loves to sit in his room and listen to audiobooks or read...can also sit for what seems like forever daydreaming...

 

I don't think I've ever heard him say he was bored, actually....

 

almost 8 year old would be more likely to fill his day with screen time if given the chance, but can play well by himself also...

 

I think it does help to take those "external" entertainments away (or really limit them) so kids can figure out what they want to do with themselves....there is always mopping the floor, etc...

Erin

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So, an update of what we've figured out...

 

I called both the city police department and the county sheriff and they both feel it would be safe enough for DD12 and DS10 to play together in the nature preserve across the street. They haven't had any calls in there for the last three months at least. I found a neighborhood crime thingy where you can put in your address and see what crimes have been reported and there aren't many around here. The kids want to fish there, which is allowed, so I need to go buy them bait, tie smaller hooks to their lines, and teach them to tie their own hooks on.

 

I also called the sheriff's department sex offender registry officer to get more information on the offenders that live on the next street over where it would be safer (traffic-wise) for them to ride their bikes. Given more detail of the crimes they committed and how they've behaved since, they should be fine riding over there together. I'll have them look at the offenders' pictures and remind them what to do should they or anyone else approach them.

 

DH is going to take DS over to a hobby shop 3 blocks away (we didn't know it was there) and find a beginner model for him to put together. They will be looking for space-related models.

 

I found out that we can pay for sparring class on a class-by-class basis, so DS will skip the last Friday of the month, and I'll take him to the student meetings of the astronomy club about 40 minutes from here. I think he'll be really happy with that because he NEEDS someone to talk astronomy with that is both interested and knows what he's talking about. All I can do is nod my head while he talks.

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My ds9 loves

Remote control cars

Keva planks with army guys

Setting up targets to shoot w nerf guns

Nerf battles w siblings

Marble run (we made one out of PVC pipes and PVC attachment thingies)

Rock collection

Football cards

Taking things apart...electronic things...old computers, radio, etc. He has then used some of the pieces to create cool little robot guys

 

Would he be interested in inventing something new? Or rube Goldberg type of creations?

Would he want to create his own type of football cards about astronomy related things? Like for each planet, specific moons, comets, etc. He could draw a picture or diagram, list all of the facts, color code by category or something. Then he could come up with a cool way to display them.

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