Article by Marika Siewert, who shares her answers for what to do in Vancouver to get your kids away from the screen on a rainy winter day.
A Facebook Manifesto[box style=”rounded”]”I refuse to allow my children to grow up in a generation of iWhatevers and iGadgets and have them become dependent on those things for their social activity and sense of ‘fun’. They will be kids who shake hands and are polite when meeting people, who thrive on human connection and eye contact, and are engaged in great conversation. They will be kids who hang out with the family and maybe even play board games and not just apps on a screen. They will learn that being in a relationship is something you do in person with respect and not over text messages, and they will love in real life. Technology has advanced us, but at the expense of stealing time and our kids’ social intelligence. I have great kids, but as they get older I see more of their dependence on the devices even for us being very involved parents. Making some changes in my household……”[/box]
This was a Facebook update I posted a few weeks ago, and it got me thinking that technology is not necessarily something that will go away, but it’s something we have to be able to manage in this day and age.
Less Screen Time, More Engagement
I have studied several articles and researched what the professionals are saying. There are many different opinions that are in support of technology, as well as against it. All parties however agree that there needs to be less screen time for kids, as it actually is rewiring how their brains are working. In general though it’s too early to tell the impact on this iGeneration we are raising. As busy parents, I believe we do need to slow down, take more time to engage our kids, even teach them safe practices on our gadgets and the internet, as well as moderate it for ourselves too. As a parent, I love my work, but I knew it was time for a change when I asked my youngest what I did for work and she said, “Um, I’m not sure, but you’re on your computer and your phone a lot.” Oh boy, that was a wake up call for me, given that I actually perform for real people for a living.
It’s February right now, and the weather isn’t the best. We know this. But it is possible to get out and have fun. For those of you who just need ideas, here are some great Vancouver family dates that will keep you present with your kids in real life. Some do have price tags, but if you think about what iPads and iPods cost, especially even in two-child household, these memberships are a deal. I also included some things our family does personally on some of our adventure days in the winter, especially when all we get is rain. The result is a list of ideas for what to do in Vancouver with your children.
What to do in Vancouver: Siewert Family Approved activities[unordered_list style=”bullet”]
- Vancouver Aquarium membership: $154.56 for one year.
- Science World membership: $165.00 for one year.
- Paint Your Own Ceramics: A fun event for the family. We like Cowboys and Angels in Vancouver, and Color Me Mine in Langley and Port Moody. Items start at $15 or even less.
- 4Cats: An art studio where kids are free to create like kids.
- Granville Island Market
- Fisherman’s Wharf: Even on a rainy day, this is a great choice for what to do in Vancouver. Talk to the fishermen (and women) and buy your local fish direct from the boat. There’s even a really great covered outdoor restaurant called Go Fish at 1505 W. 1st Avenue that is family fun even on a cold day.
- The YMCA of Greater Vancouver: They offer amazing family programs as well as workshops for kids. They also offer financial assistance so that all families can participate.
- White Rock: Go for a walk on the pier, drink hot chocolate and end up at Cupcakes by Heather and Lori, or Mink for fondue, at the shops at Morgan Crossing.
- Swimming: Most kids love swimming almost anywhere!
- Make a Difference as a Family: Most recently our family decided to work with Free the Children and WE DAY for campaigns that encourage youth to change their world (www.freethechildren.com). We collected pennies, as they are out of production now. One bag of $25.00 worth of pennies gives a child water for a lifetime in a third world country. It was my 10 year old who initiated this campaign, and now we are engaging more as a family in different activities like this.
- Go on a Mini Overnight Adventure in a Hotel: Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley boast some amazing – and kid-friendly – hotels. A night away from homesfeels like a getaway for kids, whether you live in the city or the suburbs. Explore our incredible surroundings in the area and find attractions, and and places you’ve never been before.
- Watch University or College Sports: Depending on the age of your kids, this can be a great free event that the family can enjoy, and even inspire if the kids love a certain sport.
- Family Photo Shoots: Any time, in any weather, any place. It doesn’t even need to be a special occasion, do it just for fun! One thing that resonates with all families, is looking back at real photo books and remembering fun family times. It doesn’t need to be a high maintenance shoot to be a great time, and capture some great memories.
What about you? What are your answers for what to do in Vancouver on a rainy winter day? Leave a reply and let us know!
Marika Siewert is a Vancovuer mom of three, a recording artist, and the CEO of Emerton Records. Find out about her music and her work at www.emertonrecords.com. She’s also recently started a blog. Visit that at marikaonline.wordpress.com.