A major challenge for parents today: how to lessen your children’s video game time! How indeed, when those online games hold them mesmerized for hours on end? Which means little to no time spent reading actual books, building stuff, creating with their hands, playing rough and tumble physical games, even talking to one another—and to you!
There is hope, though. To get your kids—specifically boys in Grades 2 to 5—to do all these things, the key is to introduce educational games and activities like these 10 we recommend. These are designed to be just as cool and challenging as the video games your youngsters are so hooked on. Best of all, they develop your children’s mental and physical abilities as well as their talents and interests in such fun ways, they’ll forget they’re not gaming. Just what we’re all looking for, right? (*this post contains affiliate links)
Alternatives to Offer Your Kids in Place of Video Games
#1 Learn to program your own games.
Try out Scratch, a free programming language and online community where your kids can create their own interactive stories, games, and animations. Scratch is a project of the Lifelong Kindergarten Group at the MIT Media Lab. This programs runs on the Kano Computer available on Amazon.
#2 Get better at Math while challenging opponents and yourself!
Through Calculation Nation®, children are able to investigate significant mathematical content and practice fundamental skills—while challenging opponents from anywhere in the world.
#3 Do logic puzzles and brain twisters.
Brain Games for Clever Kids: Puzzles to Exercise Your Mind (via Amazon)
Activity books to make kids figure things out, solve problems, work on formulas, and the like are now so attractively designed and illustrated, children are sure to love them! See more books like these titles on Amazon.
#4 Play cool board games with your friends.
Battleship Game by Hasbro (via Amazon)
This classic game of sea battles will intrigue and entertain kids the old-fashioned way—by actually moving plastic ships on a board!
#5 Build your own computer and learn how to code!
Piper Computer Kit (2018 Edition) – Teach Kids to Code – STEM Learning Toy with Minecraft: Raspberry Pi (via Amazon)
Beyond just being a gadget user, your child can be a gadget maker! This kit includes everything your child needs to build his own computer from start to finish. And even solve puzzles using the Raspberry Pi edition of Minecraft.
#6 Get started on a book series about exciting characters, places and adventures.
Who knows? It may take just a few adventure-filled stories to win your youngster over to the fascinating world of books. Here are some tried and tested series (all available on Amazon) that have become children’s favorites over the years.
- The Test of Time (Geronimo Stilton Journey Through Time #6); See more Geronimo Stilton books on Amazon.
- Big Nate: In a Class by Himself By Lincoln Peirce
- Magic Tree House Boxed Set (Books 1-4: Dinosaurs Before Dark, The Knight at Dawn, Mummies in the Morning, and Pirates Past Noon) By Mary Pope Osborne; See more Magic Tree House books by Ms. Osborne on Amazon.
- Dog Man: The Epic Collection: From the Creator of Captain Underpants (Dog Man #1-3 Boxed Set) – By Dav Pilkey; See more of Dav Pilkey’s books on Amazon.
- Treasure of the Gold Dragon: A Branches Book (Dragon Masters #12) By Tracey West; See more of Tracey West’s books.
- Hardy Boys Starter Set – Books 1-5 (The Hardy Boys) By Franklin W. Dixon; See more Hardy Boys books.
#7 Build your own robot and develop an interest in robotics.
For older kids (7-12) Lego Boost Creative Toolbox Set combines Lego building and robotics. How cool is that!
#8 Take up a sport or martial arts, and enjoy it with your friends.
Whether it’s baseball, hockey, basketball, soccer, karate, taekwondo, or any other physical activity, sports and martial arts are fantastic ways to develop your son’s athleticism as well as self-confidence, discipline, and sportsmanship.
Turn this endeavor into a complete learning experience for your child with books (like the one below), social events, and field trips—best if enjoyed with a group of friends and their parents, too!
The Everything Kids’ Soccer Book: Rules, Techniques, and More About Your Favorite Sport!
#9 “Take acting or singing lessons.”
Your child need not be headed for a career on stage for you to check out a nearby academy offering classes in acting and singing. The fun factor here is being together with other young people learning these skills—and performing together in simple productions. A great way to boost your youngster’s confidence, too! Get a book on vocal exercises:
Vocal Warm-Ups and Technical Exercises for Kids!
This book offers fun and educational singing activities that guide children through simple vocal warm-ups and exercises. Fun to do at home or with friends as practice between formal singing lessons.
#10 Go on camping trips or nature hikes to learn about nature in the great outdoors.
There’s nothing like actual outdoor experiences to get your son interested in nature. Seeing animal and plant life “up close and personal” is sure to spark curiosity, wonder, and delight—that no video game can match! Start them off with a nature outdoor kit:
Back 2 Nature Outdoor Toy Set – Kids Binoculars, Flashlight, Compass, Magnifying Glass
So there you have them, parents! Our picks of educational games and activities that can be your “weapons” in the battle against non-stop video game playing. Good luck!