Sunday, August 18, 2013

the next best thing

A few months ago, we took the children to a Japanese steakhouse and while the chef was putting forth this amazing show for the guests at his table, with onions stacked in the shape of a volcano that spewed steam ... and flash fires that would reach six feet in the air ... and chopping various items, like shrimp tails that he'd flip with his knife to the top of his chef hat; I was distracted with a young boy that was sitting at our table and missed the entire culinary performance because his eyes were glued to a portable electronic gaming device.  I whispered to our kids, "When you ask me why you can't have a Game Boy or DSI ... THAT'S WHY. They are addictive and make you miss out on the wonderful things happening in real life."

I'm not a stick in the mud about everything (i.e., we saw Iron Man 3 opening weekend), but I will not buy handheld games for our kids, and have passed on to others, those that we've received as hand me downs.  Of course our children have indicated that they'd still like one (especially William) because all the other boys on the bus have them (or so he says).  But my theory (that our children will repeat verbatim), is that instead of zone out on a handheld video game, they can read a book. Or do a crossword. Or color a picture. Or solve a Rubik's Cube. Or talk with someone. And if they're home - the reason we bought THIS house, is because of THIS yard, so they can get outside and PLAY.

Not to mention, they've all been blessed with amazing imaginations - it is their job to put those imaginations to work. With that in mind, this is what I found tonight, while cleaning up their rooms:


I didn't know what exactly they were, until I flipped them over.  Using leftover wood from the treehouse that Charlie constructed last month, it looks they've made wooden Nintendo DSIs. I've got to say, I'm impressed....


That's what I call putting an imagination to work!

(And best of all, they don't require any batteries!)


  1. Remember, a kid will only use a hand held device as much or little as their parents allow. And, remember the story of the forbidden fruit? My boys (14, 10, and 7) have never had restrictions on hand held games or gaming systems or TV. We have just never been the parents who say, "you are only allowed 30 minutes per day." And, our neighbors are ALWAYS telling us how much they see our kids outside playing and how they wish their kids wanted to play outside as much as ours. In fact, someone asked me about what kind of gaming systems we have...we have a Wii and and XBOX 360...but I also told her that we could probably get rid of them because they get used VERY LITTLE. (maybe a little more in the winter) Our kids are NEVER allowed to play games at the dinner table..whether at home or out. I think it all stems from what are your expectations and do your kids understand them.

  2. My rule of thumb has been to wait until the kids are 10 to buy video games/dsi/xboxes etc. Fiona turned 10 and hasn't asked for one. Shepard will be chomping at the bit for his tenth birthday.
    The kids did save up their money and purchased ipod touches. Believe it or not they have technology day at the school and are encouraged to bring them. I do limit the access as you can have games on them. The whole gaming thing is so difficult. Joel is entering his junior year at UC Irvine. I was a nervous nelly whether or not he would fail his freshman year without his Mom yelling at him to do his homework and stop playing games!

  3. We avoided video games like the plague until my 2nd child was 10. We eased into the Nintendo DS first and it was perfect for long car rides (we don't do movies in the car) and limited access at home. You'll get there eventually. Christmas is coming :)