Each week, kids spend 56% more time in front of a screen than they do engaged in outdoor play.* It’s a sad statistic — and what’s even sadder is that it’s probably true for most families I know, including mine. We own 3 tv’s, 2 desktops, 2 laptops, 2 tablets, 4 smartphones, and 4 handheld videogames. I’m a blogger, and my husband is a computer engineer, and we both like to unwind in front of the television, so all their lives, my kids have seen us glued to one screen on another. Is it any wonder they’ve grown up following our example?
We have nothing against technology for learning or entertainment — hence the proliferation of gadgets — but we do stive for a better balance between screen time, creative indoor play and active outdoor play. That’s why we have a rule that every child must “earn” their screen time by spending an equivalent amount of time reading, practicing a musical instrument and playing outdoors. Once I’ve dragged them away from a video screen, they are always more than happy to jump rope, kick a ball around, draw sidewalk pictures with colored chalk, devise an obstacle course for scooters and skateboards, or make up a game of tennis ball ninja (don’t ask me what that is). That kind of creative, unstructured play can keep them occupied for hours!
That’s why I’m delighted to hear about the 2nd Annual CLIF Kid Backyard Game of the Year Playoffs. This past spring, kids from across the country submitted their original backyard game ideas, and six finalists will be traveling to San Francisco to unveil their creations for a chance to win a $10,000 scholarship and the title of Backyard Game of the Year. On July 14th, the Marina Green will come alive with the sights and sounds of children at play as the finalists unveil their backyard games — and everyone is invited! The first 200 kids get a free t-shirt to remember the day, and CLIF Kid will provide free organic snacks and entertainment. It’s a great opportunity for kids around the Bay Area to play the finalists’ games, and in the process, reconnect with nature and outdoor play. See you there!
* source: 2012 Kelton Survey
Disclaimer: CLIF Kids supplied information about the event; no form of compensation was provided. Bonggamom occasionally reviews CLIF Kid snacks on her review blog, Bonggamom Finds.