Now that Summer is here, you’ve got the BBQ ready for the family and are looking forward to road trips and summer pool parties. But balancing summer activities and gaming can be challenging, but no worries! We’ve got you covered with some great, simple ideas that will give you the best of both worlds!
One thing about the gaming industry you may or may not know is that during the summer, most game developers know that people are away enjoying the weather, so they try not to bring out new, blockbuster titles. That means summertime is a great opportunity to try some of the independent titles we review, and you can choose games that are both fun and helpful with cognitive skills development. So, with that, here are some fun actives that you can do with your gaming family to have a great balance out summer fun and gaming!
Plan A Family Gaming Night and Game
Having a laid-out plan for gaming night will help you and your family have a more relaxing night. Having some drinks as well finger foods or snacks helps with the bonding and family fun. It’s best to pick out a game that is a couch co-op or multiplayer game that the whole family can play. Also, when in doubt, both the Microsoft and PlayStation Digital Stores have great games that are very co-op friendly for something new in the digital library. Keep gaming night short, like around 90 minutes or less, as this will keep the family members that have other plans from feeling burned out by just being inside. We usually recommend family gaming night during the middle of the week as this is a great time when all family members will be at home.
Battery Banks for Road Trips
For families that are getting ready for those long road trips, nothing will drive that gamer in your family crazy on a road trip like having their gaming device die on them mid-trip. Most cars have some type of either USB ports in the back seats or a cigarette lighter port that is there, and if you have those you want to get a USB 4 Port charger that is at least 2.4 amps; this will allow them to get the fastest charge as well keep power in their devices. If you do not have mobile power in the car, the next best thing is a battery bank. Amazon is a great resource to get battery banks inexpensively. Our best suggestion is to get one that is 10,000 MAH as it will at least give 2 full charges to most portable tablets and gaming consoles.
Set Up Some Sight Seeing During the Trip
As we all know with road trips, kids get lost in their devices, so this is where you break them out of their “bent necks” and play a verbal road trip game with them. Some good examples are “I-Spy” or something educational. This both helps reinforce core family bonding and breaks them from being attached to their device from the time the car starts to the end of the trip. Here are some great road trip games that you can play with your children and love ones that only require their minds and imagination!
- I Spy – One person spies on something and says the line, ending with a clue. Everyone else takes turns trying to guess what it is.
- 20 Questions – A easy game for children where you one person thinks of a person, place or thing and everyone else takes turns asking questions that can be answered by either yes or no. After each answer the questioner gets one guess, the game continues until a player guesses correctly.
- The Alphabet Game – One person goes with the right-hand side of the road and another have the left. Each player looks for letters of the alphabet that appears on signs or car license plates. The goal of the game is to point out all of the letters of the alphabet from A-Z, first one to do this win (great for children to play in teams)
- The Theme Song Game – One person hums a tune from a TV show and everyone else tries to guess what it is the fastest that they can. The person that guesses this correctly hums the next song.
- Restaurant Race – The goal is choose a restaurant and then seeing their signs on markers, signs or mentioned on the radio, set a time limit and whoever gets the most points, wins.
Reverse Your Outdoor Schedule
In some areas, it may be too hot to go outside and play, so the next best thing is to go out in the late afternoon or evening time to get that outdoor time in. Set up a time for the family to go outside later in the day and spend the hotter hours indoors, in the cool air. This is especially good for younger children and children with breathing issues as the extreme heat can come bearing down with health risks. Set up time for the gaming family to play, and then once it is cooler, it will be time to put the devices down and have fun outdoor time. A good practice is to set up an afternoon gaming time; we recommend two hours – that will give them something to do while the sun blazes, and you can encourage them to go outside to play once the heat goes down. Reversing your schedule to beat the heat has other benefits, too! Nearly all research shows that gaming (or any activity that requires a screen) right before bed can disrupt sleep; gaming while it’s hottest out, then bringing them outside to burn off energy after the heat but before it’s time to wind down, can work wonders.
A Friendly Weekly Tournament
A good way to keep the summertime fun going is to have a outdoor/indoor tournament, in which the children go out and play a game or do an activity then in the later evening they can play a friendly game in which a score is kept for both. This is a good way to keep them engaged and a simple reward can be something small as a treat or a movie of their choice on movie night. This is where you can let loose and make a tournament schedule to keep the family active both out and indoors. One example is to have a friendly game of baseball, and then for the evening, set up a 1 round game in which you go by the score of the game that you choose.
Reward Outdoor Time With Gaming
For parents who worry that their children are spending way too much time on the tablet, phone or console, reward them for playing outside and doing outdoor activities. For an example, you can set up a reward system in which for every hour they are outside having fun they will get ½ hour on their gaming device. This also works with the chores they hate doing during the hot weather. This may seem like bribing them, but in the long run, this will encourage your children to go outside and try different things to do outdoors.
Now as all families are different, the best advice that we can give is to try some of these steps or create a plan for your family during the summer so they will be able to enjoy both the outdoors and gaming in the healthiest, most fun way possible.