I don’t know if you noticed some of my Tweets over the past week? Well, I must admit it has been a little bit more challenging after school than usual as we have valiantly been taking part in the E.ON Switch Off Challenge. Basically, the kids have not been able to use the gadgets and television after school for at least two hours and instead have had to engage in an activity!
E.ON kindly gave us a voucher to buy a few bits and bobs to entertain ourselves, so off I went at the start of the week to John Lewis and Waitrose to stock up. I decided upon wool for crochet lessons, some ingredients to make banana cake with Ned, Bananagrams and some new pens for drawing.
Monday: Drumming class and practice. This was loads of fun as our eldest (the rock star drumming expert) attempted to teach the younger children some of the tricks of the trade. Its always lovely to see them interacting and it made my day to see him teaching the younger ones and enjoying the process.
Tuesday: Playdate! A playdate is a brilliant way to avoid all the technology and get the kids running about doing things. In the space of our two hours they even managed to organise themselves into a small theatrical troup providing the adults with a little show.
Wednesday: Cooking. I think its a really good idea to get all the children into the kitchen and give them arguably the most important life skill that you can. The older children were tasked with finding and cooking a dish which didn’t use too much electricity (after all the over riding theme here of the challenge is to switch off and save energy) and me and little Ned worked together to make a delicious sugar free banana cake. I was intregued to see what the children would choose to cook. In the end they opted for some home-made pizza’s which we could pop into the oven at the same time as the cake. Result!
Whilst everything was cooking the children did some fantastic drawings, just check me out (shockingly realistic):
Thursday: This was the day of our great Bananagrams challenge. If you haven’t heard of it before, Bananagrams uses scrabble tiles to spell out words. Its a very versitile and portable little game. I decided to let the children play with it how they wanted. They developed a game where they had to make up the tiles into a wordsearch using all the tiles to make a large 10 x 10 square. Fifi then decided to explore the alphabet and see if she could remember it. I was quite impressed as she is only just 6 years old. Its surprising how long these activities can occupy them for. Since its quite a sedentary activity we finished up with a little mini disco, something we have been doing for a few years and the children love.
Friday: I thought this would be the best day to tackle some crafting. Fifi decided to use the wool to do some crochet, of which she is rather keen and manufactured a belt. The boy (7) is getting to grips with knitting and he sat trying to make a little monster. There is a bit of a way to go, but I have to give him 10/10 for effort. Whilst the older children did this little Ned indulged in his favourite activity which is sticking and scribbling. After an hour of so we had a game of indoor football using a soft ball.
Saturday: Two hours of den building and reading! There really is nothing my children like more than rebuilding the various sofas and using all the cushions and throws in our house to create dens. Once they built their den they played loads of games and read books in the den.
I think our experience really brings alive the research that E.ON have been doing wheree they found that a quarter of families feel that they dont spend enough time together with one in three naming technology as being respnsible for that. We are most definitely guilty in this household of an over reliance on technology! 1 in 5 parents in the report stated that they didn’t think their children could go tech free for 2 hours without complaining and 1 in 6 had the same problem! I think that my children and husband definitely fall into that category so this week was a real challenge for them!
Overall, I think that the children had a lovely time and it can only be a good thing to switch off the technology and get back to interacting in the real world. The other really good thing is that there was a massive increase in interest in books from my ‘reluctant reader’ and the other children. We’ve had all sorts of books on the go this week from Squishy McFluff, Tom Gates, Percy Jackson through to Zoe and Beans. Its been lovely to see. I think if I can manage to keep this us for a whole month I will have changed our family quality of life for the better, lets see! If you want to see how much electricity each of your gadgets uses there is a handy guide on saving energy here.