I often hear parents lamenting over how much their kids are glued to their electronics. Whether it’s video games, the iPad, movie watching, cell phone addiction, the computer, or some other type of electronic gadget, many kids have become so accustomed to playing with their electronics, that they have almost lost the ability to entertain themselves in any other way.
While I don’t intend to write an entire post on why I think this is a problem, I’ll just sum it up by saying that this type of dependence on electronics breeds a lack of creativity, it negatively affects social development and relationships, and it passively contributes to a constant need to be entertained by someone or something else.
And don’t misunderstand me; I am not extreme in this view. I don’t think we need to remove these things all together. I just think we need to limit our children’s use, and one of the easiest ways to do that is to introduce them to other non-tech types of activities and encourage them to have some variety in what they do for entertainment. And as a side note, may I suggest that their dependence on electronics is a learned behavior? We model for our kids how electronics should be used, so it might be worth asking yourself if you have taken control of your own electronics.
That being said, let me introduce you to something that has been a major source of entertainment at our house over the last couple of months. Paper Airplanes! And if you want to talk about cheap entertainment, this one literally costs a few cents if you go the old-fashioned route and make them out of your own paper. If you want to get a little fancier, and perhaps a little more fun, you can buy a paper airplane book or gift set. After doing a brief search on Amazon, I quickly found numerous paper airplane books to choose from, and I’m sure you could find them in local bookstores as well. Most of these books include special paper with fun designs, and it shouldn’t cost you more than $15. Or if you’re lucky enough, maybe someone will give you one of these as a gift – thank you Auntie “Randa” and Uncle “Marcus!”
I should point out that the recommended age for these books is all over the place. Some are intended for children as young as 3, and some are advanced and recommended for ages 10 and up. Don’t let the age recommendation stop you from buying a particular one you want. The set we have is for ages 8 and up, and even though my 3-year- old can’t read the instructions and make the folds yet, he likes “helping” Daddy make them, and then all three of us enjoy flying them around the house.
If you don’t want to buy one of these books, just do a search on the internet for paper airplane instructions. I was literally astounded with all the results that came up. Not only can you find detailed instructions and images, you can download PDF templates to print out, as well as watch video demonstrations.
Now that you’ve got all the resources you need to make awesome paper airplanes, it’s time for the competition to begin. Keep your kids entertained even longer with various competition categories such as whose plane can fly the farthest, whose plane can fly for the longest time, who can throw their plane through a tight space, who can design the best looking plane, and anything else you (or your kids) can come up with.
A blast from the past like paper airplanes can bring out the kid in all of us, provide cheap family fun, and serve as one way to help put some distance between your kids and their electronics. Happy flying!