We moved house recently.
And though moving is always an upheaval, this move irrevocably changed the dynamic and landscape of our household, because (completely unintentionally), we moved to a house that didn’t have TV reception.
As such a simple thing, it’s not something we thought to check for in a city rental. It was nonetheless a huge departure from normal living. And after a few confused phone calls with the real estate agent, along the lines of, ‘There should be an aerial, somewhere’, we had to accept our fate that this was to be the way of life for a while.
No Giggle and Hoot every morning to tell us when it’s time for school.
No cartoons on the weekend to buy us a sneaky lie-in.
No ABC 4 Kids when we need a distraction.
Now, if a month ago someone told me that we had to get through a week of kiddy care without TV I would have laughed manically before hiding in a corner, frantically wondering what I would actually do with the kids!
But actually, life has been OK.
Giggle and Hoot has been replaced with colouring or reading.
Weekend cartoons (which to be honest, never really bought me a lie in anyway), have been replaced with a coffee at the play park.
The ABC distraction has been happily eclipsed with a session of Mathletics.
Therefore, after many weeks of trialing a range of TV alternatives, here are my top 5 box-free activities:
Create your own story
Get out the pencils, paper, glue and stickers, and make your own tale. Even the littlest kids can get involved (my one-year-old loves doing this), telling you what to draw and letting their imagination run riot.
Build a cubby house
That couch that we like to sit on? Turn the cushions on their end, throw a blanket over the top and hey presto, you have your very own (and very comfy!) cubby house! Invite the toys in for a cup of tea or a story.
There’s no better way to dispel these colder afternoons than dancing around the lounge room with bub to your favourite tunes (yes dance hits from ‘99 is perfectly acceptable in our house). You will have fun, and the babies love it too.
Make your own movie
Everyone has a video recorder on a phone nowadays. Older kids can operate it themselves but even the toddlers can get involved, making toys dance or appearing in the movie themselves.
Yes, it gets messy, but kids love baking. Blue biscuits, pink oatcakes, yellow muffins… anything to get them involved in the kitchen excited about new foods.
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