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  • Writer's pictureThe Farmer's Wife

My Thumb's War (and our coolest craft yet!)

Hi friend! I’ve got a really fun summer craft idea for your kids (or YOU!)

Sometimes all you need is the idea, because, let’s face it: I like screens.

When I need a break, screens numb my brain and mute my children.

I’m guessing it’s the same for you.

I’m currently in a thumb war with myself and chances are you are too. Not the “1,2,3,4 I declare” kind. (That’s actually impossible…)

(….Please tell me I'm not the only one who just tried to thumb war myself:)

It’s not that kind. It is the silent, sneaky, scrolling kind that beats you before you realize what happened.

Before you think I’m swinging the pendulum to go join the Amish, hear me out - because I’m guessing we’re all in the same boat.

Sometimes you just need someone else to come up with a cool Summer activity. So here we are!! My girls stuck with this activity over several days, in several different locations, and it was really fun to see their excitement over the finished product.

Truthfully, I think detailed coloring books are super fun and a super waste of time.

Sure it’s maybe relaxing, but there are always 50 things “more important” to do - especially being a mom. Trouble is - I WANT to be the mom that colors with her kids.

I want them to remember me taking time to “waste” time with them.

I say “waste” because I fully recognize that there is no waste in intentional time with your kids. It just FEELS like a waste to my personality to spend hours on something that will sit in a book.

After my farm sign escapades (Here) I thought it would be fun to do some artwork for the girl’s room. I had been keeping my eye out for inexpensive art for MONTHS and haven’t found anything.

I began asking, what if we could make something together that would give them a sense of accomplishment and remind them of our time together? Fast forward a few weeks of some intense coloring sessions, and a little bit of modge podge and here you have it! Wall art :)

WHY should we color?

I totally get why screens are a thing.

Imagine selling a “timeout remote” on Amazon: “press here for a quiet house”... instant best seller.

What other singular activity could your kids (or YOU!) do for hours on end, sitting in one spot, without speaking? It actually sounds like torture for a kid...unless they had a screen :)

Maybe your kid is a reader [way to go!], and they could sit silently with a book all day, but unfortunately, that’s probably more of the exception, not the rule.

Much the opposite, “...American 8-to-12-year-olds spend 4 hours and 44 minutes on screen media each day” That’s 36.5% of their time if they are awake for 13 hours. (Common Sense Media)*

Teens are even more dramatic averaging 7 hours 22 minutes a day (or more depending on the study you look at)**

That’s 48.3% of their time if your teen is awake for 15 hours a day. Last time I checked, 48.3% was really close to 50%.

If we’re spending literally HALF of our lives doing something, it better be worthwhile.

Well - that’s just kids!

A few months ago, I was challenged by a podcast to turn on the “Screen Time” setting on my phone. If you’re like me, you didn’t know this feature existed… so now you do :). The Screen Time setting tracks how much time you spend on your phone. “I’m not on my phone all day,” I thought… “I don’t really need to track it.” I actually ACTIVELY purpose to NOT be on my phone around my kids whenever possible.

I want them to remember my face, not my phone case.

Well - after tracking my phone usage for a few weeks, I’m over here eating humble pie like it’s my job.

If you want to thoroughly freak yourself out in the best way possible, go into the settings of our phone and turn on “Screen Time” just for a month. Let it tell you how many hours a day you spend scrolling through people’s lives that you don’t actually care about.

Ask yourself if people you don’t even know deserve such a large percentage of your life.

Then I’ll make some more humble pie and we’ll eat it together. :)

Maybe this all sounds a little extreme.

But when is the last time war wasn’t extreme? (Ok, ok, thumb wars are usually pretty mild)

But explain to me why scrolling is when my brain doesn’t even really care what my old college acquaintance is having for dinner.

If I don’t care what they are eating, why keep scrolling?

When I die, I want to have chosen 5 more minutes with my hazel eyed girl 1,000,000 times over 5 more minutes of Facebook posts.

I want her to grow up fully knowing she was more valuable to me than my FaKebook friends.

IF I want her to feel more valuable, it begs the question, what am I actually valuing? Sadly, those 5 more minutes seem to value the scroll far too often.

I need this to stop.

My kids need my face.

Your kids need your face.

Your husband needs your face.

Your friends need your real-live-face.

So what are we supposed to do?

Should we swing the pendulum and cut all screens? Before you go join the Amish, let’s think it through.

Author and speaker Jonathan McKee has done some amazing research on this very topic. I love how he acknowledges the culture we live in yet helps parents know how to navigate it within a healthy relationship with their kids.

In this short clip, he addresses the need to not freak out, but to engage with our kids about screen time:

What does this have to do with coloring?

Maybe everything.

If we’re going to bond with our kids, we need to spend time with them. (*Thanks Captain Obvious)

Sometimes coming up with an activity is too difficult.

We’ve taken the guesswork out of that one for you.

Go grab yourself some colored pencils and let’s get to it.

Here you go:

  1. Grab a random canvas from a second hand store - (nothing special!)

  2. Paint it any color you like

  3. Use colored pencils (marker’s will smudge!) to color your pic. (Check pintrest if you don’t have a detailed coloring book!)

  4. Cut out the picture

  5. Use modge podge under and over the picture. (Mine goes on white but dries clear)

  6. Congrats. You just did an awesome project with your little people.

But why do they get to have all the fun?

After we finished the girl’s art, I wanted to see if I could do something for Declan’s room. I just printed this image off and went for it! Check it out!


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