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Winter Survival Ideas: No Screens, All Fun.

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by Grant Stenzel, MS Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor

Winter Survival Ideas: No Screens, All Fun.

Your family is hanging at home. Everyone is bored. And you can’t go outside because it’s a trillion below. So the million-dollar question is, “What should we do for fun?”

Cue the phones, tablets, games and TVs. Or as I like to call them, the conversation killers.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m a big fan of screen time. Watching sports or movies is how I like to unwind sometimes after a long day. But when the whole family is together, that’s time that can be used for talking, hanging and having fun. These light moments can make your family unit stronger and get rid of some of that nasty cabin fever.

I have a big list of fun your family can have together this winter. I promise you’ll love at least one. Before I get to that, though, I have a challenge for you.

Challenge: No Screens!

TV off. Phones and tablets in another room. The outside world can wait. It’s cold out there, and this is family time. These things will get you communicating and learning more about each other in a fun and light-hearted way.

  1. Play Board Games

Don’t just stick to one. Let every family member choose the game they want to play, and enforce a time limit for each game to make sure you don’t get tired of playing the same thing. I’ve seen relationships reach breaking points thanks to a 12-hour session of Monopoly.

  1. Build A Fort

Adults love forts just as much as kids, but they think they’re not allowed to love them anymore because they pay taxes and have a job and everything. Not so. Construct an architectural marvel together, then hang out and under the cozy canopy.

  1. Bake Together

Preparing food as a family works wonders. Everyone is working toward the same goal, and then everyone gets to enjoy the fruits of their labor together. As we all know, food tastes even better when you put some effort into making it. Maybe it’s homemade pizza (a staple in the Stenzel house). Maybe it’s chocolate chip cookies. It might be both! If it’s both, I like your style.

  1. Write A Movie

Everyone loves movies. Some of you (not naming names) might want to be watching one right now instead of having family time! So do the next best thing: Script your own movie. Have someone think of a title, have someone else write a one-sentence summary, then you’re off to the races.

  1. Play Catch With The Question Ball

This is the brainchild of one of the therapists at Stenzel. A whole bunch of questions are written on the question ball, and when you catch it, your thumbs will land on two of them. You then choose the one you want to answer. It might be a question about your favorite thing, what you’d try if you knew you wouldn’t fail or a famous person you’d really like to meet.

  1. Create Some Artwork

You can make it a contest with prizes, or just sit around a table with a bunch of supplies and see what the results are. There will be moments of quiet concentration and moments of conversation and connection.

  1. DJ Dance Party And Karaoke

Okay, ONE device is permitted. Take turns launching a song to dance or sing to. It’s great exercise and a whole lot of fun.

  1. Two Words: Sundae Bar

Just do it.

One final note: You don’t have to do one of these eight things. Every family is unique, and yours might enjoy something totally different. For example, when our kids were younger, my wife and I would randomly shout “fun time run!” and whisk them somewhere they weren’t expecting like bowling or ice cream or a movie. It was fun, spontaneous and brought us closer together. They still talk about those surprising moments.

So whatever your family chooses to do, do it together and have fun while you’re at it. You can’t go wrong.