Summer is in full swing. Yet, the swing set looks abandoned. The ball is still in the middle of your vibrant green yard. The Fort Magic kit remains piled in the playroom. And, while you can clearly hear the sweet tweets of the birds and the deep voice of the bullfrogs near evening, it is eerily quiet. Where are the kids?!
A quick search finds them. Yes, the kids restfully bask in the glow of … well, not the rays of the August sun, but the light of an electronic device. The fighting and rages of earlier relegate to this calm. And, while all seems right with the world, something appears terribly amiss. What if we suggest an electronics fast that perhaps lasts for the rest of the season? Do these suggestions make your parental heart race a bit too quickly? Please give us a moment to explain.
Truth told research suggests that daily use of electronics plays significantly into a child’s symptoms of irritability and appearing wired and tired. And, this state of high arousal hinders memory and the ability to relate. This can affect kids both academically and socially. So, what can be done? Experts suggest that fasting from electronics for several weeks resets the nervous system. Actually, the absence of electronic devices for a period even reverses the physiological disruption caused by daily ingestion of content via a screen. Now, we suppose this news may cause some disruption for you. Breathe deep. We will not leave you hanging. We are here to help.
So, if you decided to do the fast, what type of aftermath would you come up against? Well, it might be dicey at first. Weeping and gnashing of teeth might ensue. We are being honest. But, let’s consider an alternative. Before you say a word, grab that Fort Magic kit off the playroom floor. Pile it in the middle of the room. Remove the electronics from view and engage your kids in creating. The Fort Magic customer gallery, blog, and build ideas offer plenty of inspiration, links and website suggestions to fill a whole year with non-digital adventure, fun, and stimulation. (We are not suggesting this, by the way.) But, let’s start with a smaller chunk to chew.
What if we built a teepee fort? After all, over a century ago nobody had knowledge of modern electronics. Plus, not many kids can resist the fun of constructing and playing in this fort design. So, get your kids off the couch, hand them a few Fort Magic sticks and connectors to start, and watch the creative spark ignite. After they have figured out the basic shape, materials for the outer skin of the teepee require hunting down. Sheers for a breezy fort, butcher paper for an authentic look or colorful sheets are patch-worked over the fort offering an artistic feel. Each express the individuality of your chief builder. If setting up camp outside, consider collecting long, thin tree limbs to lean against the Fort Magic sticks. Twine the top of the bundle to complete an earthy teepee exterior.
Traditionally, a small fire occupied the center of the teepee. While we would not suggest live fire in a teepee fort, red, yellow and orange tissue paper flames with twinkle lights beneath offer a kid-friendly alternative. Furry blankets and animal skin patterned throws add to the authenticity as well. The local library offers picture books with teepees. Pick up a few and let the photographs inspire your kids to incorporate the ideas into their teepee fort design and play. Viewing teepee exteriors and interiors, cultural dress and daily activities offer hours, even days of creating and imaginative play for kids. And, shhh, do not say a word, but they are learning as well!
Once the fort resembles the teepee of their dreams, the games begin. Consider the games of skill from yesterday. Races, tug-of-war, stickball games and hide and seek entertained children ages ago. You will be amazed by the hours of engagement they provide still today. Quieter games and crafts represent the culture as well. Chance games with sticks and dice and guessing competitions bring the experience back inside the teepee. Crafting with natural materials such as wood, grass and corn husks proves reminiscent of this culture. Non-toxic paint illustrates stories with symbols and signs on the exterior of butcher paper forts.
And, at the end of the day, nestling into the blankets with a few favorite reads, or a family storyteller spinning tales, creates cherished memories for all in attendance. Take stock. One teepee fort idea plus one imagination equals endless, screen-less adventures. What could two ideas produce? Plus, the fresh air, physical exertion, and creativity may just result in happier, calmer and stronger kids. Ready to fast?
What type of activities would your family love to inspire in your children with teepee fort building? We’d love to hear your comments below! 🙂
Pin It for Later!
Play At Home Mom Blog: This super-amazing blog is definitely one of our favorites. Loaded with fun ideas for DIY playtime, with an always-present educational spin.
Surviving A Teacher’s Salary Blog: Education + Fun is definitely the focus of this creative mom blog. Checkout all of the cool DIY playtime posts for kids.