‘What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men …… That is what love looks like.’ - St. Augustine

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

100 Alternatives for Young TV Junkies

First, thanks for all the well-wishes! I think I am on the mend. Spent the whole day in bed again(with frequent trips to a certain other room in the house...) I won't burden you with the details.

So....onto the subject of this post:

As I mentioned, Anastasia has been a tv junkie the past few days. She knows I've been incapable of monitoring her 'intake'. This afternoon, as I was starting to feel better, I suggested she try to break away from it a bit. "Mom, there is nothing to do! Plus, I'm not good at anything." she whined. She's an expert whiner. I took the chance to remind her of this fact. "See?" I said, "You're good at something. You're the best whiner on the eastern seaboard. That's got to count for something."

She made a grumpy face, but then couldn't help giggling a little.

I decided to drag out the list I made her two years ago. It's a list I made for just such a time like this. If I tell her things she can do, I get every excuse in the book. But if I hand her this long list, sometimes it actually inspires her a little. Here is the list. It's not actually 100, but it does the trick:

100 ALTERNATIVES to Watching Television

1. READ a book!
2. BAKE cupcakes!
3. PLAN a a picnic!
4. MAKE water balloons!
5. START a gratitude journal!
6. GO to the library!
7. BUILD a fort
8. LEARN sign language
9. START an indoor garden!
10. TAKE a bike ride
11. USE your roller blades!
12.PAINT a picture, or wood or a rock…
13. GO on a walk
14. CREATE a book from scratch.
15. WRITE your sister or grandmother or someone far away a letter
16. PLAY with your puppy, TEACH her tricks
17. LEARN a new song
18. PLAY your drum
19. GO to the beach
20.PLANT a tree
21.VISIT the nursing home down the street
22. START a dog walking business
23.VISIT Celeste or Sharon, or any other neighborhood girl
24. CLEAN your room
25. MAKE UP a song
26. DRAW cartoons
27. TAKE photos in the neighborhood
28. MAKE a movie with your video camera
29. COLLECT state quarters
30. COUNT all the change in your piggy bank
31. TRY ON costumes from my giant costume storeroom
32. WORK ON your scrap book
33. ALPHABETIZE your dvd collection
34. BRAID your hair into a million little braids
35. MAKE UP a dance to your favorite song
36. WRITE THE PRESIDENT @ The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington D.C. 20500.
37. Make a NATURE SCULPTURE by collecting shells, rock, sticks, and pine cones and things from around the neighborhood. Use glue to create a unique sculpture with it.
38. Make JUICE BARS. Easy to do with just toothpicks & an ice tray! Experiment with combinations of juices.
39. Cut out interesting pictures from magazines and organize them into the illustrations for a BOOK YOU WRITE.
40. Learn the NAMES OF TREES all the trees in our neighborhood. Or better yet, give them names yourself!
41.Make a "Family Map". Hang up a large world map and place stickers on places where all our cousins and aunts and uncles live.
42. Set up a cozy OUTDOOR READING CAVE. ( or indoors if its February..lol) Use cushions, pillows and blankets from around the house.
43. Make FAERIE ICE CUBES by freezing an ice tray ½ full and then adding edible petals (lavender, nasturtium, roses) Cover other 1/2 with water and freeze hard.
44. Make ICE HANDS by filling latex gloves with water and closing them with rubber bands. Put them in the freezer & Pull off the gloves when frozen. ( don't like them, just stick them on the front lawn & watch people laugh)
45. COLLECT ACTUAL STARDUST at the beach. Drag a strong magnet along the beach. About 20% of the nickel and iron particles collected on the magnet are bits from meteors.
46. Make your own PLAY-DO. Combine 2 cups flour, 1 cup salt, & 2 tsp cream of tartar. Pour 2 cups warm water, 2 tbsp oil, and 1 packet Kool-Aide in a pan and add the dry ingredients, mixing well over heat on stove for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat when hard to mix and knead while cooling. Store in airtight container.
47.Make PAPER "FAERIE" LANTERNS to line the front walk. Decorate the outside of lunchbags and roll down a 3" to 4" cuff. Put several inches of sand in each bag and a votive candle.
48. Build a FAERIE COTTAGE out of twigs and things.
49. Create a SCAVENGER HUNT in the house!
50. Make your own puzzle out of a photograph or big painting you made.

And here is what Anastasia ended up doing today after reading this list:
~She made a 'time capsule' and hid it in our attic space for future tenants.
~She made fried potatoes but cut them into the shape of letters that are in our names.
~Finally, she found an old bottle with a stopper. She cleaned it out, and then wrote a letter and put it inside. She then called my friend Carmel and asked her to drive her to the lighthouse so she could throw it off the cliff into the ocean. And she did!

Now share some of your ideas!


  1. What a great idea. She picked some good ones too. I need to sit down and come up with a list for the Butterfly now. She's a video addict.

  2. hi, thanks for the comment. anyway, nice ways to avoid tv. very useful for a tv addict like me. haha.

  3. Hey,
    I loved your post! I look foward to following your blog. My daughter came to me last night right before I fell asleep. I was so aware of her. It wasn't long enough. I dream her, but there not as clear. Hope I don't sound like a nut! jeNN

  4. I'm stealing the list.. and I'm jealous you live by a lighthouse & the ocean.. super cool :O

  5. Yes ! Steal it CJ! Steal it! And you are welcome to visit our little seaside town anytime. I have tried living away from the ocean but it never works..lol. Even with the cold, ( and MAN is it cold today) I love living on the rocky New England coast. I don't think I could be truly happy anywhere else.

  6. My kids looooove old boxes or any sort, toilet paper rolls, old wrapping paper rolls, etc. THey actually fight over them. They are boats, swords, dog houses, soldiers' barracks, etc....Add tumble rocks (they love the rock tumbler), collect and press leaves, play football (or soccer, or hit tennis balls), ride your scooter, ask the neighbor if you can entertain her toddler foster child, vacuum the house, visit the neighbors cat, jump on the trampoline, practice your violin, make drawings for people......


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