I am a firm believer that kids need to use their imaginations. I will probably take a lot of flak for this, but I am NOT a fan of video games! I want my kids to work with their hands, not their thumbs.
For many years I outlawed them in my house completely. Then when the Gym Rat was a sophomore in high school, we gave him a challenge we never thought he would accomplish. We told him that if he would complete a full season with the Color Guard in the marching band, we would buy him a playstation. He agreed and he learned to spin a flag with the best of them! When the season was over, as promised we bought him that coveted gaming platform and we have had them in our home ever since. That was in 2001.
But just because we have game stations, that doesn't mean we have to allow the kids unlimited free access. Other than the exercise games, Just Dance and Dance Dance Revolution (and even with those they ask first), the kids have to earn the right to turn on a video game and in my house it only happens maybe once a month for an hour or so.
Oh, it's not that the kids don't want to play. They just know that isn't our culture here. If we have free time, we spend it doing other more productive things. Let me give you an example. I told you yesterday that Sport works at a preschool during his off-track time. Well, today he helped the kids make little cars that fit over their bodies out of cardboard boxes. The kids always love this project and Sport loves vehicles, so it was perfect for him.
When he got home, he went looking for a box to make a vehicle of his own. But he wasn't satisfied with just a tiny single-seater one. Oh no, he wanted to make a bus!
He had already asked his dad for a box he spotted yesterday in the garage that housed a nativity set (although I think in hind-sight that box probably belonged to Bossy... SORRY!!) and he first covered it with green paper. He wanted it to look good.
Then he cut out the windows and the bottom, added paper plate wheels and some other accessories. The kids have been having a great time "driving" the bus around the house. Sport gets on his knees and he is always the bus driver while the little ones walk behind in the back "seat" and enjoy the ride. And they always have huge grins on their faces.
What did he learn? A lot about engineering and structural stability. We had quite a discussion about how big the windows should be and where he should place them so the box didn't collapse. He asked me to help once, but I politely declined and suggested a way he could easily do it without me. I wanted him to feel the euphoria that comes from completing a project that he conceived and executed all by himself.
You can't get that from a video game.