Ways to spend nerdy quality time with your kids
Just being in the same room with your kids isn’t enough to foster connection. Set a timer if you need and then dedicate your time to them with absolutely no distractions. Put your phone on silent and on the charger. In the other room.
When you use your own interests to come up with fun ways to spend time with your kids, it makes you both more engaged and entertained. Think of ways your kids could enjoy your own favorite activities and do that!
1. Game with them!
Gaming with a timer can also model for them the important lesson of not losing themselves in a game for hours at a time. Set it for fifteen to thirty minutes and when it goes off, save and close at your next available opportunity.
You probably already have the games you like in your household, but this enginerd is going to cast yet another vote for Minecraft.
If you have a Nintendo Switch, the Pokemon Let’s Go! games are also great for since you can play as your kid’s backup.
2. Board game with them.
Video games are fun, but there are tons of great board games for kids too, and they’re generally quick enough that you can squeeze a game or two in throughout the day and then get back to the rest of your busy life.
3. Roleplaying game with them.
Tabletop RPGs and pretend play go hand-in-hand. Introduce early RPG concepts in a kid-friendly way for great fun for you both.
4. Go outside on a treasure hunt
Search for cool rocks or sticks or seashells if you’re lucky enough to live somewhere that those can be found. We sometimes find bird eggs!
5. Make a Green Screen video
Once you’ve set up your green screen and software, making the videos is so easy. Just pull out your phone and start recording, then pop it over to your PC or Mac to replace the green with your background of choice. Remember you’re not looking for professional grade here, so don’t stress over every single wrinkle or shadow.
6. Build a Fort. Or a tower. Whatever – just build!
Just remember that we have to walk the line between helping make their buildings strong, and teaching them good building practices without actually taking over. Let them be the contractor while you act as the engineer.
Take it outside and make a lean-to out of sticks!
7. Go to the library, and do what they want.
Even if it’s not reading. Most libraries these days have tons of options for kids to play. Play with them, putting them in charge. If you go after the playground though, they may want to just curl up and read.
8. Make a scale model of the solar system
Haha just kidding. But I like to begin doing something like this just to show them why we can’t, as a tangible demonstration of scale. Another option: offer to reduce their allowance to a single penny, but tell them that you’ll double it each week. (Or if they don’t have an allowance yet give them the choice between getting their age in dollars or the penny-doubling option every week.) When they turn down the penny, grab a jar of pennies and start stacking them to show how much they turned down.
Warning – if you think your kid is likely to pick the pennies, be ready to apologize because even Jeff Bezos can’t afford that allowance.
9. Do chores together.
This one is very different from some of the other things on the list, but it really works. Remember that quality time is 100% about connection, so where saying “Go clean your room!” is a disconnecting approach, “Let’s go clean your room!” makes for quality time. Break big tasks like “clean your room” into very small, specific goals, like “pick up all of your stuffed animals and put them in the box,” “take all your books to the shelf,” and “match your socks and put them in the drawer.” And kids can probably do more chores than you think at a younger age than you expect.
10. Cook together whenever you can. Let them choose dinner one night a week.
We struggle with this because 95% of our cooking is a simple two step process
- Cut up vegetables
- Apply heat
Neither step is super kid friendly. But the more you can involve your kids in the cooking process, the more invested they’ll be in those home-cooked meals and the more likely they are to eat them. Measuring and mixing are fun for kids and good learning opportunities too.
11. Read to them. A lot.
I covered this in my post about my homeschooling method, but it bears repeating. To add to that…
12. Read comic books and manga, as soon as they’re old enough to not eat the books. And then…
13. Draw fan art. Write fanfic. Be a fan!
Don’t expect to do all of these every day. Pick the ones that work for you and your kids. And one other thing, don’t forget to also spend quality time with yourself!
What do you do for quality time with your kids?
Answer in the comments or get in on the discussion on the nerdishmom facebook page!