How Our Nintendo Wii Created Family "WE" Time
Candy Land by Hasbro
No Game Consoles in My House
When I started having kids, I declared my house a "no Nintendo-Zone!" It had nothing to do with the brand, but more about the idea of raising my kids on mindless electronic games and violence.
I'd grown up with a dad who was fascinated with all technology and we got Pong for Christmas when I was in High School! Remember the Blip .....Blip ......Blip ....Blip ...Blip ..Blip.BlipBlip - aw, dang!! We played it a lot that Christmas, but then, it's novelty wore off and we were back to ice skating and bicycling.
Move ahead to my oldest daughter at five years old. I had a blazing 486 pc and my daughter became addicted to Candy Land - on cd! Queen Frostine was by far her favorite character because she could color a picture of the kingdom (and now she's off to art school.)
Later, came Nintendo GameBoy handheld games, which many of my daughter's friends had. I repeatedly repeated my, "no Nintendo-Zone" mantra! Plus, most video games were designed with boys in mind (hello, GameBoy!."
Sharing Family Time
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But then Wii came along!
I watched this game for a year. I listened to my daughters posit arguments for Wii, "But mom, it's ACTIVE!"
Although I still put up my stern front against all video games, I secretly watched the new game. It did seem different. And active. And fun! So one Christmas, with elaborate showmanship, I let the girls unwrap the various parts of the game. And I must say, it was probably the most memorable of all Christmas presents, if volume and length of delighted screaming correspond at all!
Three years later, I have three good reasons to love Wii!
Now that we've owned the game for three years, I'm not at all disappointed in the investment. We have several games, and I have the original Wii Fit which has now caught on and has better programs for it.
But my top reasons to love Wii:
- It's family time! Yes, in our frenetic family schedule of an active tween and teen, Wii continues to be the number one way to enjoy each other as a family. Nothing like a jam session on Guitar Hero where the generations of music meet. And of all the games we have, I admit that Mario Kart has had the longevity that you hope for with a game.
- It's ACTIVE! We live in the Northeast and don't get outside as much as we'd like in the Winter - which is long. But jumping around to Just Dance or playing tennis or skiing can make us plain sweaty and tired. Plus, it's downright silly to watch parents dancing to the Black Eyed Peas while the kids try to channel Donna Summers! I also enjoy some quiet yoga and Pilates with my Wii Fit.
- Yes, the games teach something! We learn to take turns choosing games, we try to learn to win OR lose with grace, and we learn that patience and practice are needed to improve skills. My now 17 year old finally had the nerve to ask for bass guitar lessons and now sings in a band with friends. My 11 year old can now, most of the time, deal with not coming in first every time as I just laugh every time I come in dead last! We've also learned that practicing driving with a learner's permit isn't advisable immediately after playing Mario Kart!
Has Wii changed our family?
I'd say yes, but in a good way!
We still play board games and friendly poker. We still go ice skating and watch movies as a family. And come Spring, the Wii starts getting cobwebs until we dust it off in late Fall.
The ever widening chasm that comes from a family as they get older seems to disappear when we get out the Wii. The laughing and screaming with delight and the goofy dancing makes this mom's heart burst with happiness!
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