These days it’s all too easy to keep your kids occupied with a game on a tablet or smartphone — they’re mesmerized by the bright colors and noises, you have more free time to yourself. But there’s a simple, irreplaceable joy in teaching children more old-fashioned, hands-on activities like marbles, card games, and hide-and-seek. After all, these are the games we grew up with. Think of the joy we had in looking at the swirl of colors in a glass marble, or in finding a friend hidden behind a curtain. Don’t you want your kids to experience that same joy, interacting with the world around them, instead of staring at a screen?
If you can’t remember how to play marbles (or if you never played them yourself), there are loads of great guides online — and many include suggestions for lots of other, hands-on games, too.
Here are four great reasons to get your kids away from computer screens and involved in these kinds of activities:
- Your kids will develop better social skills — Too often, playing computer games is a solitary activity. But with marbles, sports, and other games, your kids will learn how to interact with their peers, whether it’s trying to flick each other’s marbles out of the ring or playing in a team in a relay.
- It’s great physical exercise — Games like marbles are a fun way for your kid to develop hand-eye coordination, and more physical activities like tag or climbing trees are good exercise for their muscles and cardiovascular systems. It’s certainly much healthier than swiping away at a touch-screen!
- Your kids will start to appreciate the world around them — Computer games create an artificial world that mesmerizes your kid’s attention, but we live in a real, physical world that your child shouldn’t be afraid to explore. If they’re outdoors breathing fresh air, laughing with friends, or admiring the visual beauty of a marble, they’re learning to savor all the wonderful things the world has to offer outside a computer screen.
- You can play with your kids, and create invaluable family time — There’s only so much parental bonding that can happen through a computer screen. But real-world activities, where you teach your kids how to flick a marble or shuffle a deck of cards, also make family memories that will last a lifetime.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with the occasional game on a tablet to keep the kids busy in a waiting room. But knowing how fun and simple it is to learn how to play marbles, there’s no excuse not to engage your children in the kinds of old-fashioned activities that are healthy for both their minds and bodies. The Internet is full of useful parenting tips — don’t hesitate to make the most of these resources, but once you’ve found what you’re looking for, get off the computer and start involving your kids in good old-fashioned fun!