A confession:  My boys spend too much goddamn time staring at screens as their primary form of entertainment.  DS… Wii… Runescape… Facebook… Guitar Hero.  This list is long.   As parents, Dave and I do our best to ask them to turn the equipment off when we notice that their eyeballs are bleeding.  And we remain united in solidarity on no video games at the dinner table, in the synagogue, or on car rides under 30 20 10 minutes.  Needless to say, if the Universe was giving out grades to parents for their ability to limit their children’s screen time, we would get a solid C – … if the universe was being generous.

The problem does not lie in our desire to have our kids do other things; it lies in our ineptness at providing them better alternatives.  The conversation usually goes like this:

Me or Dave:  Noah/Chase!  You have been on that thing for an hour.  Do something else!
Noah/Chase:  There is nothing else to do.
Us:  Read a book?  Practice guitar?  Draw a picture?  Relax with your thoughts?  Talk to me?  A board game?
Them:  No. Maybe later. Not now. Very funny.  Nah.  No one to play with.  I’m soooooo bored. (sulk)

So basically, we got nothin’.  It’s hard to make the case for them to do something else when you can’t come up with anything that appeals to them.

But last weekend, I caught a glimmer of hope for parents of video addicted kids.  And lo and behold, I held the answer in my memory all along.

To engage in the present, go back to your past……

On Mother’s Day, Uncle Scott showed Noah a little game to play.


The kid who isn’t interested in anything that doesn’t appear in pixels has spent the last week perfecting his coin catching skills.  Chase has jumped on the bandwagon as well.


Dave and I sit back and reminisce about the Book of Records coin catching at Arnold’s.  Remember Fonzie’s cousin Angie??  Check out the 3:25 mark.

I can see why the brothers are drawn to coin catching.  It has similar elements to video games.  You can play against yourself.  Take it anywhere.  There are bragging rights for the highest score.  And you get to scream EPIC FAIL when you miss!  The difference is that  – besides the coin shrapnel — it doesn’t involve batteries, there is a welcome dose of nostalgia with every session, and its rated E for everyone.  Especially Moms with a soft spot for Fonzie.

So MoB readers, what should we introduce the brothers to next?  What interesting games did you play as a pre-teen before PONG was invented?  
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