Welcome to my blog. I am 'The Bunny Maker' - aka Anna, confuzzled mother of three boys, maker of sock bunnies for Widget and Friends, owner of The Warren Bunny Boarding and artist behind Half an Acre. Come on in and join the madness!

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Three kids, no telly and its war in our house!

Forget what I said last week about how I was going to do my Shopping List features with one seller only - as I'm away on holiday soon and really busy I'm combining my Saturday Shopping List post with one of my normal, rambling posts as I have serious issues to cover .... oh, yes.
I have three children .... boys and no TV ... and whilst we're at it ... no game boys, no X-box, no Nintendo and no other small boxy square things that entertain. When I was growing up there was a children's tv programme called "Why don't you switch off the tv and do something more interesting instead" .... yup, it was quite a mouthful.... so this post is dedicated to just that. My eldest son has just turned nine and we have been without a television for 10yrs now. It started because we moved to a house with terrible reception downstairs so the TV went up to our bedroom. We never watched it up there so we got rid of it. My husband and I are a total geeks because of it! We love jigsaws, scrabble, doing crosswords, reading, talking, painting Warhammer .......... but this is not about us adults it is about the children. Television has become the new babysitter. I know people who, on a beautiful sunny day, still have the TV on in the corner of the room and the kids are sat there glued to it. Or the kids are playing a game but with it on in the background - causing them to stop mid-game to stand and gawp when the adverts come on. TURN IT OFF!!! I am proud of my children - they play beautifully. There is something magical about watching them (aged 9,6 and 4) all engrossed in a game together. The 6 and 4 year old play board games together. Okay - in their own way! They get out the Monopoly and make up their own ways of playing. And they do it for hours - seriously. The 9yr old may be reading all this time - he reads and reads and reads - or he might be outside kicking a football or skateboarding around using an old broken broom handle as a punting pole. Then they write, and draw and colour and ask me to set them maths sums to answer. In the picture, above and to the right, my eldest and my husband are playing their latest obsession - a game called Memoir 44 - a strategy board game using real senarios from WWII. Not only is it a war game but there are tanks and men with guns to use as game pieces - oh, and sandbags. These are popular for some reason. You can also buy add-on senarios and different terrains for more Western Front anihilation. The game has won numerous awards over time and is good for ages 8 upwards although younger ones can join in too, with help. You can just see the feet of the younger two watching - they help to roll the dice and other er..'helpful' things! It all sounds sickly sweet and perfect but it is how it is. I don't 'school' them when they are at home - its just what they find to do when there is nothing for them to do. They are mellow, laid back, imaginative, creative, filthy, muddy, dirty, ripped, grazed, bruised and gorgeous. When they do say they are bored I tell them to stare at the walls until they think of something to do. When they have friends over I always get asked if they can 'watch something' - "NO!!! You've come over to play!" is my reply. To the left there is the little play house in our garden that my eldest has converted into a 'reading room' - we spent a great weekend cleaning it all out, painting it and hanging some of my wooden decorations up in it. Below are some great ideas, from Etsy sellers, for other things for children to do instead of relying on one of those box things for entertainment.

Orangemoontoys makes fabulous shadow puppets in all designs - turn off the lights, rig up a torch and re-create a sea-battle with these wonderful underwater ones. Get them outside and running around with this clever game from Sallyscreations or send them on one of Mykangaroos scavenger hunts around the house and garden. Craftpudding supplies all sorts of rubber stamps for putting stories together or making cards to send to friends. Bombus covers notebooks in wonderful decoupage cartoon strips and maps - let a child write and draw in their own - keep all the notebooks somewhere safe so you can look back on them when they are older - remember to date them. Come rain or shine chuck them out in the garden - they can make a camp and take up residence in this fantastic teepee from Babypop. Switch off the entertainments, provide a few basics and leave them to it - it is amazing what they will invent, how much calmer and how their concentration will improve.
Don't get me wrong - this isn't a perfect household - I don't sit down for hours and play with them, I don't bake with them or let them learn by helping me doing things round the house - and I shout at them a bit too - I'm a forgetful, scatty, paint-splattered mum who should spend more time with her children but I am proud that I have given them the 'boredom space' to become these wonderful individuals that they are starting to be.



  1. Aaah someone else, thank you!!!!! Im so tired of seeing houses with the tv on all day long!!! nobody reads anymore, listens to music, radio... play games...
    I am the same. I actually get bored and am not good at spending hours on the floor playing with legos. Thanks. I am always busy doing something else... but do try to engage..everynow and then. We do have a tv (no flat screen blabla...just a normal old one), where mostly we watch documentaries and movies. That's it.
    I say let the kids go playt poutside, get muddy, breath fresh air... read, play. turn off the xbox/tc and all of that. Better for them. incentivate the use of the imagination.

  2. I love those shadow puppets!! I keep looking at them...

    Marvellous, no tv!! We should remove ours, we watch it so rarely. Too many other things to be doing...the great outdoors especially!!

  3. When I was growing up there was a children's tv programme called "Why don't you switch off the tv and do something more interesting instead"

    I am surprised to see that we had a similar show here in the states when I was a kid. :) We had no computer, no im, no text and although there was a tv in our house we never really wanted to watch it because there was always something better to do outside with our friends. We made up games, we went to the park, we played with toys that did not involve electricity to run. the world is very different now but it is so nice to see there are still people who understand what it means to raise their kids without using the electronic babysitter. Bravo!

  4. Hello,
    I have joined shopping List Saturday and I have found you via fancypicnic.
    Great games.

  5. What a great, inspiring post - I have two children and we do watch tv, but only in moderation, some days not at all. I love your line about staring at the wall until.... I will try that one:)! Lovely blog, glad to have 'found' you. Cathy november moon

  6. I love it! Great post. And the new reading room looks fabulous. Such a great blue that will set off your fish etc really well. Happy playing!

  7. We also don't have a TV, gameboys, etc. Our kids have never asked for one! It's awesome to find someone else who doesn't! Good for you!

    I love the products you showcased!

  8. hahha tell that to my dad, glued to the tv for hours because there's nothing else to do! but no-tv is good, they make us distracted from work ... actually the computer can double up as a tv anyway =)