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Blast From the Past: Try These Retro-Inspired Activities With Your Kids

slide to have real fun

 Are you stumped when it comes to finding more screen-free activities for your kids? The Kaiser Family Foundation found that kids aged 8 to 18 spent more than 7.5 hours per day, seven days per week consuming media on screens. That’s more than they’d spend at a full-time job.

Do you remember what people used to do before smartphones, tablets and big screen TVs existed? That type of screen-free entertainment created lasting memories.

Instead of watching another show or downloading another app, help your child turn off the tablet and try one of these retro-inspired activities for some old fashioned, screen-free fun.

Use Buttons to Spark Creativity & Outdoor Activities

Ever had a button pop off your shirt? Back in the day, most mothers and grandmothers kept a jar of buttons on hand for wardrobe malfunctions. At first thought, buttons may not seem very entertaining. But with a bit of creativity, there are many ways that kids can have fun using buttons. Multicolored, metallic, sparkly and mirrored, button collections are perfect for rainy day art projects. When the weather is nice, show your kids how to take buttons outdoors to use as hopscotch pieces.

Did you know that Tennessee has a rich history with button manufacturing? In the early 1900s, button factories lined the shores of the Tennessee River. These factories produced buttons using the shells of Tennessee river pearls, the official state gem. To learn more about the history of Tennessee river pearls, visit the Tennessee River Freshwater Pearl Museum in Camden, Tennessee.

Make a Loaf of Bread From Scratch

Fire up the oven and get out the mixing bowls — it’s time to dust off that decades-old family recipe and bake. From toddler to teenage, kids enjoy baking from scratch because the activity provides hours of different tasks to get involved with. Whether you choose to bake a classic loaf of bread, biscuits or even pita bread, the finished product is always a reward in itself – a yummy treat that the whole family can share.

If you’re not ready to tackle bread-baking solo, search for classes at bakeries and cooking stores in your area. Or try this beginner’s recipe.

Discover more ways to make the most of spending time with your family.

Show Your Kids Original Gaming With Marbles

Nothing says old-fashioned fun like a game of marbles. According to the National Toy Hall of Fame, the game dates back to the ancient Egyptians, who played using stones and nuts. Because there are countless variations of marbles games, marbles can provide children with screen-free entertainment for hours on end. Start by teaching your kids the basics, and then challenge them to invent their own game using marbles.

To learn more about marbles, mark your calendar for the National Rolley Hole Marble Tournament in September. Located at Standing Stone State Park in Overton County, Tennessee, the event includes tournament play, kids’ games, marble making, marble vendors and more. Featured by ESPN, CNN, National Geographic, this one-of-a-kind experience is fun for the whole family.

Get Groovy With Tie-Dye Tees

Nothing says the 1960s like a classic tie-dye t-shirt. Considered a form of artistic expression, tie-dye’s bright colors and swirling patterns quickly became an icon of the American hippie movement. Decades later, tie-dye is still a popular symbol of freedom and creativity as well as an enjoyable DIY craft.

Try tie-dying t-shirts as an activity at your child’s next birthday party. Because there are multiple tie-dying methods, no two tie-dye creations are the same and each child will leave with a unique party favor. For more information on how to tie-dye, read these how-to tips.

Personalize Your Own Pet Rock

In the mid-1970s, the “Pet Rock” swept the nation as the most popular (and bizarre) toy on the market. According to an article by NPR, the rocks were actually Mexican beach stones and each came in its own box complete with air holes and an owner’s manual.

Rather than purchasing a pet rock, make an afternoon out of making your own. Go for a hike or a walk in the park with your kids and look for rocks along the way. When you get home, let kids get creative and personalize their new pet. Draw a face with markers, glue on yarn for hair – the possibilities are endless.

Do you have any more favorite retro-inspired activities? Let us know in a comment!

Most outdoor activities have some level of risk, and you may need to consult an expert before engaging in the activity. Always check the current weather conditions before embarking on any outdoor activity.

Naomi Mannino

Naomi Mannino

Naomi Mannino is a health and personal finance journalist who specializes in helping consumers get the most from their health and financial choices. She enjoys sharing her personal experiences and never writes about anything she has not tried herself.

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Naomi Mannino

Naomi Mannino is a health and personal finance journalist who specializes in helping consumers get the most from their health and financial choices. She enjoys sharing her personal experiences and never writes about anything she has not tried herself.

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