Unplug Your Fun With Me

Hello? Is this thing on?

Cuyahoga Valley National Park Family Hiking

It’s been awhile! Nearly two years to be exact. While I may not be writing about our adventures on here anymore, that doesn’t mean we haven’t been having lots of fun. As my kids grow older (14 and 9 now!), the lure of the screen gets stronger. Instead of giving up and just submitting to constant distraction as a way of life, I’m more determined than ever to find ways to engage my kids in a world outside of Xbox and Snapchat.

Boy at Skatepark

That’s why I’m really excited about a new venture I’m taking on that I think you’ll really like. I’ve joined the team at Unplug Your Fun, a family-owned business whose mission aligns perfectly with The Risky Kid Mission: worry less, play more, and bring back screen-free family fun. Unplug Your Fun sells games, toys and puzzles that go hand-in-hand with screen-free play and family game time. In addition to the online store, Unplug Your Fun’s blog aims to be a resource for families that want to find ways to connect by disconnecting from our devices. We’re just starting out together, but I hope you’ll join us on the journey and become a part of the Unplug Your Fun community.

Bring Back Family Fun With Unplug Your Fun!

Connect with Unplug Your Fun by subscribing to the blog and by following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Let me know what you’d like to see us cover and I’ll try to make it happen. Thank you!

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Risky Reads: The Acorns and Leaves Galore Edition

basket of acorns

Well, it’s that time of year again … the two months out of the year where we simultaneously gaze in wonder at the fall beauty of our wooded backyard, while at the same time shaking our fists at the flurry of leaves falling to the ground. We filled 12 giant bags with leaves on Sunday, and by Monday morning you couldn’t even tell we’d raked. It is a family affair, though, and it gets us all outside and working together. Silver linings, right?

I’ve raked up a few things around the web over the last month that I thought you might find interesting, too!

Now that you know our leaf situation, I imagine we could spare at least a few said leaves for this sweet Fall DIY wreath.

With cooler weather on the horizon, I love the idea of putting together a tinkering station for young builders and aspiring engineers.

” … and on it goes, a million zigzagging what ifs, and I think that’s what drives some people to become nasty judgmental parenting-topic trolls, it’s the belief that you can actually control all that sh*t.”  Three cheers for this essay from All & Sundry

As if we needed more convincing to play games … but this is a cool piece on how family game night can make kids into better students (bonus: it has some great game suggestions you might not have heard of).

Over at Bedtime Math, we brought back a cheesy game, took a hammer to our bushel crop of acorns, and worked on our target practice.

For more risky inspiration, follow us on Pinterest and like us on Facebook.  And if you ever see anything you think we’d like, please share it with us!

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Risky Reads: The Puppy Edition

Homework is better with a buddy

I can’t believe I haven’t mentioned it already, but last month The Risky Family grew! We added a four-legged member to the club, a lab-mix puppy. He’s 5 months old, and full of energy! But he’s also full of licks and snuggles. We adopted him from a local agency that fosters animals, and he was rescued from a shelter in Alabama just hours before he was to be euthanized. It took us 4 days and an intense family vote, but we settled on the name Gus. Puppies are a lot of work, but seeing the kids rise to the responsibility, and the joy he brings to them, makes it all worth it.

When wasn’t pulling socks or acorns out of the puppy’s mouth, I managed to find a few things online that I though you might find interesting:

Relax: when it comes to feeding your kids, chances are you’re doing it right (filed under: There are many paths in this parenting journey).

Did you know you can call worms? (Yes, but what should we call them?!)

Need something to make you smile? Check out these photos of children playing around the world.

Have you ever tried to make a stop motion animation movie? It’s a great activity that merges imaginative play with tech (which means my kids love doing it). Here’s a great tutorial from TinkerLab.

Interesting article on why modern parenting is in crisis. Can you relate to any of these parenting dilemmas?

Over at Bedtime Math, we’ve whipped up an ooey, gooey, stinky, sweet potion to attract moths at night. We saw some pretty cool moths, but the coolest was the big luna moth we discovered the next morning. We kept the ooey, gooey, sweet theme going, only this time we made homemade marshmallows (hint: it’s way easier than you think!). And just in time for Talk Like a Pirate Day this Friday, check out the latest pirate-themed printable!

For more risky inspiration, follow us on Pinterest and like us on Facebook.  And if you ever see anything you think we’d like, please share it with us!

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A Summer Bus Route Just For Kids

kids using public transportation

If only she had access to public transportation she could use on her own in our hometown.

Just on the heels of my post about unaccompanied minors, and how we might make the towns and cities we live here in the US more accessible for kids to get around without always relying on adults, I came across this:

Nashua Announces Summer Recreation Bus Route

The city of Nashua, New Hampshire is operating a pilot transportation program this summer aimed at providing free public transportation to various recreational spots around the city. Kids ages 6-18 whose parents register them for a free bus pass can ride the bus to places like the park, ball fields, the pool, the library, and the Boys and Girls Club. They can go to the skate park, meet friends at the pool, visit the library to play Dungeons and Dragons or take a soldering class. Dang, I want to be a kid in Nashua, NH!

While it specifies that children under 10 can’t ride the bus alone, they are allowed to ride with someone over 10. I’m so envious! If we had a service like this in my town, I could send Elena and Eli to the library on their own. It’s these kinds of interactions – learning how to use public transportation, learning bus/train etiquette and manners, going on errands solo and interacting with librarians, shop owners, and other adults – that build a solid foundation for knowing how to be an independent, fully-functional adult. How forward thinking of Nashua to realize that by providing a service like the recreational bus route, they are giving kids a safe, age-appropriate stepping stone to be able to handle adult responsibilities later in life. It solves a myriad of problems, such as boredom, and dependence on cars and adults to go where they want, while also empowering kids and boosting their confidence.

Nashua’s town slogan just happens to be “Dare to Begin.” How appropriate, as providing this bus service aimed at youth they seem to be saying, “Let’s dare to begin treating our kids as capable individuals, instead of keeping them in a bubble and fearing the worst.”

Would you welcome a service like this in your hometown?

(A link to the Nashua Summer Recreation Bus Route first appeared on the Free Range Kids blog. You can read Lenore’s take on the service here.)

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Risky Reads: The Laundry Basket Edition

Asleep in the laundry basket

For about a week last month, Eli became mildly obsessed with the laundry basket. Sadly, it had nothing to do with folding the clothing in the laundry basket. But he did drag it around with him through the house, using it as a boat, a jail for his LEGOs, and a cozy, blanket and pillow-filled reading nook. One evening I checked in on him before bed. He was sleeping in the laundry basket! He did this for a couple of nights. Can you imagine if we tried to sleep like that? My neck would never be the same again!

While Eli found 101 uses for a laundry basket, I found a few things around the internet I thought you might enjoy (and that won’t give you a crick in the neck).

Have a kid that’s interested in coding? Check out this fabulous roundup of 20 resources for teaching kids how to code.

Homework can be such a burden on some families. This dad worried about the amount and intensity of his 8th-grade daughter’s homework, so he decided to do her homework for a week. The result is this essay, “My Daughter’s Homework is Killing Me.”

If that has you down, get ready to be inspired! Have you seen Childhood Unplugged? A group of photographers submits photos monthly of kids engaged in the art of play. All is not lost, friends.

This insect hotel, made of natural materials, would be a beautiful and practical addition to a natural backyard. What a great project for kids to study beneficial insects in their own backyard!

I love this DIY Upcycled Inventor’s Box. It would keep my kids busy for hours, and I’d love to see what creations they’d come up with.

I write for the parenting blog over at Bedtime Math. Last month we explored tessellations, made our own lava lamps, and created some cool domino cascades. This week we found a way to color Easter Eggs volcano-style. Lots of cool stuff going on over there – be sure to check it out!

For more risky inspiration, follow us on Pinterest and like us on Facebook.  And if you ever see anything you think we’d like, please share it with us!

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