Many children these days spend a huge amount of time online, whether that’s for homework, play or social media. Not only does this mean negative effects for physical and mental health, but makes them more at risk of online bullying, self-harm and dodgy people surfing the net to groom younger people. You can report anything suspect at Internet Watch Foundation.
Build Your Own Personalised Binoculars with this fun kit, made from cardboard. Perfect for bird-watching, nature walks and observing wildlife, they have incredible 6x magnification, a central focus slider and eyepiece for finer adjustments, for clean sharp images. And with a bold green colour and zingy pops of lime, they look super cool too.
Nature writer Richard Louv says one of the saddest moments of his research was when he asked a boy where his favourite place was. His reply? ‘Inside – because that’s where all the sockets are’. He notes that when he was a child, ‘nature was my Ritalin’, and talks with doctors say that the emergency room diagnosis has changed – not so much broken bones from falling from trees – but repetitive strain injury and depression, from too much time on computers.
Back to Board Games!
Ellie Dix who wrote the book The Board Game Family says that having a family game night is far better to get back traditional conversation skills and improve health and social norms. It’s not just Monopoly anymore – you can find board games to help save the planet and endangered creatures and the new game Pandemic is where specialists work to control an infection across the world. Her book includes instructions to over 100 board games, and the benefits of playing them. Keep small board game parts away from pets and children.
Learn to Play Chess
Chess is one of the world’s most popular board games, and ideal to avoid watching junk on TV that destroys your brain cells. Instead, increase your brain cells by learning how to play this popular form of entertainment, either with someone else, or you can even play chess with yourself! It’s also one of the best Columbo episodes (if it ever comes on TV!)
This wooden chess set is made from wood in a sturdy cardboard packaging, and also can be used to play chequers. Ideal for older children age 6 and over, this conforms to European safety standards, and includes full game rules. Beautifully illustrated.
Scientifically proven to raise your IQ, a chess board has 64 pieces arranged on a grid. One person has white pieces, the other has black pieces. There are the main players (one king and queen, two rooks, two knights, two bishops and 8 pawns), then you try to ‘checkmate’ your opponent, by ensuring the king cannot escape.
Chess is traced back to the Indian empire, and means ‘Shah’ or ‘king’ in Persian. Unfortunately the first pieces were made from ivory, although today you can find more eco-friendly and animal-friendly versions. Played extensively in Europe, computer chess became popular after a computer beat the world chess champion Garry Kasparov, although it rather defeats the fun of the game.
Read Reset Your Child’s Brain, a no-cost 4-week program by a child psychiatrist to treat Electronic Screen Syndrome. This book gradually gets children away from over-ruse of computers, video games, smartphones and tablets, which can overstimulate a child’s nervous system.
Dinosaur Memory Snap Game is a portable back of 44 beautifully illustrated cards, to help children pronounce each dinosaur name. A classic memory game for children and adults, to boost memory, recognition and concentration, speech and vocabulary, confidence and happiness.
This Handcrafted Snakes & Ladders Game is handcrafted from maple wood. CE tested and approved. Instead of plastic, even the counters and dice are made from biodegradable wood, all handcrafted in the beautiful New Forest. The game is also personalised with the family’s name, and sits on a cork base (no trees are chopped down to make cork). Includes full instructions, and cute illustrations in a beautiful colour palette. Not for children under 6 due to small parts. Remove all packaging and assemble correctly.
How to Prevent Online Bullying
Years ago, sensitive children had to put up with bullying at school in the playground. Today it’s even worse, as they can’t get away from bullies online either. Install Bark app that still respects privacy, but can intercede to stop bullying, before it starts (and alert you to any issues). This affordable app has already prevented many suicides and a few school shootings in the US.
Rethink App is another good invention, created by an Indian teen who was upset about hearing of a teen suicide in the US. It basically reads messages of anyone that is about to send bullying words and asks ‘Do you really want to do this?’ It appears to work, with most of the potential cyber-bullies choosing to delete the message, rather than send it.