Coming up with ideas for children’s entertainment that don’t involve video games, apps, or other forms of electronics can be a real challenge. Reaching out to kids amid the constant buzz of technology often requires a bit of creativity and an in-depth understanding of their interests. So the next time you feel like putting together a quality family fun experience that motivates your child to put down their phone, tablet, or game console, try some of these ideas:

Give your child a leading role.

One way to get your kids to embrace the notion of family outings (which don’t involve gadgets) is to put them in the middle of the night. For example, you can look for events and activities that allow children the opportunity to wear a crown, be knighted, or become bailiffs for a day, etc. in a fun and memorable setting.

Or you can draw attention to your child by asking him to be the master of ceremonies or host for the evening. If you are going out to dinner, for example, your child can order the entire table or “pay”, depending on their host role. If you are going to see a show, you can ask your child to find information about the venue and then make the announcement or presentation to the rest of the family about the evening’s agenda.

Explore the past.

Time travel is another great option to add flavor and excitement to a family outing or activity. And don’t worry if you can’t get hold of a real time machine, because there are many other ways to travel through time, both real and virtual.

Let’s say you want to plan a board game night. You can declare it’s 50s night and all dress, conversation, and food and drinks must have a 50s theme. You can play 50s music in the background, dress in ponytails, pompadours, or skirts poodle and serve cheeseburgers and shakes for dinner. To get everyone in the mood that afternoon, consider streaming a couple of ’50s sitcom episodes on Netflix on your TV or home computer.

You can plan everything yourself and surprise the rest of your family, or you can ask your children to help you with planning. The research they do will help them learn a little about the era you are highlighting; furthermore, getting them involved will be a great help to get them involved in the spirit of things.

Attend a live performance.

In an age when almost everything can be experienced on a television, tablet, or laptop, many children have very little exposure to live theater, dinner theater, and other forms of live entertainment. Taking them to see a dinner show or theater production can be the thrill of a lifetime, and it will also open their eyes to a whole new world of arts and entertainment.

Create a themed family evening.

Surprise your children by announcing one Saturday morning that tonight will be about a special theme, such as “Medieval Night”, “Night of the 70s” or “Sports Night”. Tell them that they have the day to decide what to wear that night, and you can also ask them to research some fun facts related to the theme to share with the rest of the group.

When night falls, you can serve themed appetizers or snacks before heading to the main attraction, a themed activity. If it’s “Sports Night,” you can go to a college or professional sports game; If the theme is the 1970s, you can turn the living room into a retro disco. For the medieval themed night (or should we say knight?), You can attend a local tournament game or a reenactment show from the Middle Ages.

(Bonus Tip: Enhance the fun when you challenge your family to stay in character all night using the language, slang, or jargon associated with your chosen theme or era.)

Have a family sleepover.

Stack mattresses, blankets and sleeping bags in the living room and get ready to have fun – it’s a sleepover for the whole family! You can make it really authentic when you surprise your kids at the breakfast table with printed party invitations. For activities, some to consider are ghost stories, joke contests, craft activities, watching movies, and board games. Other conveniences to consider adding are making popcorn, midnight snacks, making Coke floats, and sleepover pranks.

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