This school holidays saw us hitting the Get Connected button and putting our unlimited wireless internet to the test. A school holidays, where it was all about the study and not much else for all of us, so our downtime needed to look a little crazy.
MAKING THE CONNECTION
I’d like to say our recent school holidays were just that. A holiday. The truth is with three teens in years 9, 11 & 12, our school holidays needed to involve a fair amount of study and exam preparation. It was much the same for myself with my business diploma studies.
During much needed study breaks it was all about avoiding the wet weather and keeping warm here in Perth. There wasn’t much to entice us out and about, like everyone else, we did give Pokémon GO a run for its money. To me it’s a lot like Geocaching only a little more disturbing given some of the injuries others have sustained while playing the game. Incidents and accidents that seem a little far-fetched for a friendly game. There were reports of people playing the game being mugged at gunpoint (only in America), having water bombs thrown at them, being hit by cars as well as a whole heap of traffic chaos.
Much like Geocaching, I think if you play the game right, it can be a really fun and fantastic way to get your kids out and about doing incidental exercise, as long as you play it safe. Even before Pokémon GO, my girls were all into Pokémon (cards) and Geocaching. This just seems to combine the two on a smart phone and encourage exercise. Lots of exercise.
I must confess, I much prefer the less popular Geocaching where you occasionally find real treasure. I’m not a fan of virtual treasure. Call me old school.
When my girls were little (seems like a whole other lifetime) we always had limited screen time, we didn’t have many devices as such and our play room and approach to play was, like myself, fairly old school. Although thanks to the girls’ grandparents we always had an excessive amount of toys. So many toys.
Even still, play time consisted of lots of craft based activities, lots of creating (from our useful box), dress ups, plays and lots of time where the girls were left to their own devices to create their own fun or boredom. The choice was theirs. Allowing my girls to be bored and work through that boredom in their own time and terms saw them turn to books more often than not. We had a golden rule in our house if you said you were bored, if you looked or acted bored, there was always housework on offer.
These days my girls (now 15, 16 & 18) are all bookworms, have been since the get go and nothing to do with the extensive amount of housekeeping that is always on offer. So much so (talking about being bookworms here), that I’ve often felt like I’ve needed to restrict book time as well. Of course they are now at a stage or more importantly an age where I don’t really have much say in their downtime activities on the home front. I do however try and encourage family fun time when I can. I just have less input as to how it plays out which means it tends to look a lot different to what I’m use to.
As a family of five foodies we do love to come together over food and a family board game or a competitive game of cards (at the moment it’s Canasta or 500). Although these days, with the girls all having active social lives and after school jobs, it’s a rare occasion when we manage to all be under the one roof at the same time, with spare time, for an extended period.
This school holidays turned out to be one of those rare occasions. With major exams on the horizon and hubby taking a couple of rarer than rare days off we chose to staycation at home, focus on the study and catch up on the home front not just with the housekeeping side of things but also catching up as a family.
Given I’ve been putting our new Vividwireless modem to the test this past month and testing our unlimited internet (REVIEW HERE), our family fun time had us connecting as a family in an online sense. A chance for me to kill two birds with the one stone. Only the stone in this case was some great value unlimited internet and a wireless modem. The bird or birds… my three girls. Which yes, I know sounds all kinds of parenting wrong but actually it was a whole lot of hilarious fun and actually opened up the lines of communication.
An approach that had both hubby and myself connecting with our teens on a new and improved level. Although, I suspect hubby has been connecting with our girls like this forever. He speaks their language, so to speak. It must be the inner child or geek in him. I on the other hand often feel like the odd one out and I need to learn a new language or find myself an interpreter now that we have three teens in the house.
What exactly did we get up to online with our girls this school holidays and is it really fit for publication? Hmmm…. you decide!
The first thing we did was activate our Vividwireless modem and connect all our devices. The girls immediately downloaded the Pokémon GO app and left the building. In the pouring rain. Not even kidding.
I did join them eventually, when the sun came out briefly. I had to see for myself what all the Pokémon GO fuss was about but I wasn’t prepared to get drenched doing it. We then took turns on our study breaks to introduce each other to a new online game. I did try to insist they were all family friendly and for the most part they are. Just for older families and hard to please cats apparently.
I must confess, not all of what we got up to is fit for publication. I honestly had plans to film an entire session to show you just how much fun we were having but I wasn’t so keen to restrict how things played out, which means there really isn’t much I feel I can share, just a small snippet (see video above).
My girls are now teens and getting a lot of the innuendo that once flew over their heads. There may have been some politically incorrect moments as well. All in good fun and not as bad as it sounds, if that is even possible. But that kind of fun, as far as I’m concerned, clearly needs to stay in-house. There’s also the fact I was laughing so hard and fast that none of the actual video footage taken (given I was holding the camera and my voice sounds dreadful right now) is legible.
I also should confess my contribution to the online game line-up was non existent, although I did actually participate with all the games on offer. Some were more appealing to me than others.
What was appealing was making the connection with my three girls on their terms. Something that as a mother I’ve been struggling with lately, given the changing landscape. It feels like only yesterday that I had three under three and some control over the state of play.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still not ready to be their friend. I just need to find a way to navigate being a parent of three teen daughters and it not always being about the actual parenting side of things. Something hubby seems rather good at. Is it the same in your household?
So after testing a number of online multiplayer games that ticked the almost family friendly boxes for teens, we have our Top 3:
FIBBAGE 2 by Jackbox games
WARNINGS: Suggestive Themes | Drug References | Crude Humour
Fibbage 2 was probably my favourite of all the games we road tested this school holidays. Absolutely hilarious in parts. Lots of suggestive themes and so much potential for inappropriateness if you allow it. We were all literally rolling around on the floor laughing at one point. The cat even ventured out of his hidey hole to see what all the fuss was about (you can view photographic evidence of that over on Instagram).
A game for up to 8 players, Fibbage 2 is the ultimate game of lying, laughter, and deception. In the game, you are given trivia questions to answer, but with a potentially hilarious twist.
Each player gets to invent their own answer to the given question, in order to try and fool other players into thinking that theirs is the correct answer. You don’t get to know who posted what answer until after the fact. Which means more often than not, for some strange reason, during each and every round I had a knack of selecting hubby’s lies. There’s a message (or a word of warning) somewhere in that.
You earn points in the game by finding the correct answer and by having other players choose your answer. The person with the most points at the end of the game wins. However, the game has another objective you can aim for. The second objective is to earn the ‘thumbs cup’, by earning the highest amount of ‘likes’ from other players. Players award ‘likes’ during each round to the answers they thought were best or funniest.
The game can easily be played on laptops, phones and tablets, so as long as you have an internet connection you’re all set! We connected the laptop that had the game downloaded on it, to our TV and then took our positions on the lounge with our devices ready to play.
TIP: There is a parental control mode option for this game but given the suggestive questions and the overall content, this game is really aimed at older teens.
Call me old school but I kind of like a bit of skill or educational experience to my family fun games. This certainly was hilarious and had the rest of the family laughing and connecting. It just wasn’t my thing and I may have had to call on my faking an interest face and the earplugs for most of this game and clean out my ears at the end. Shhh don’t tell them.
In a really loud, empty nutshell with an echo that goes on forever this is apparently a really funny sound effects game, where each player creates an audio experience to represent a given phrase.
Each player has to choose two sounds from a given list for each phrase. Which are then submitted online (& in our case on the big screen) for judging. Players take turns playing the judge and selecting the winner that round. According to the rest of the household, most of the sounds are hilarious, crazy even, as are the phrases that are thrown at you each round.
My tip: Surprisingly fart noises nearly always WIN in this house. A house of mainly girls (unless you include hubby and the cat). Who knew. Off to check I’m not adopted. BRB.
DON’T STARVE TOGETHER
I must confess, of all the games on offer this game just didn’t appeal to me on any level. The girls loved it but to me it just didn’t have us connecting as a family and sharing a belly laugh (or five) like the other games.
Don’t Starve Together is a multiplayer survival game. You start by entering a randomly generated unexplored world filled with odd creatures and unexpected surprises. You can cooperate with friends or join an online server with strangers (something I’m not a fan of either). You all work together towards the same goal, don’t starve. You can gather resources to craft items and structures to help you survive with friends or even go solo and do your own thing.
For me, this game is certainly more interesting and collaborative than something like Minecraft but I think it appeals to a slightly younger teen demographic.
TIP: The game is available for download from steam for 14.99 (USD) and comes with an extra copy of the game to send to a friend.
GET CONNECTED WITH VIVIDWIRELESS
Now I feel like I should clarify that this isn’t a sponsored post (you can view that HERE: & if you are after great value internet without contracts or the need for a phone line… you really should!). We just had that much fun testing our Vividwireless modem this month and was suitably impressed with the convenience and great value factor of the device, that I wanted to share some of our get connected, unlimited internet endeavours with you.
You could say we’ve really been testing the unlimited part to the plan!
Truth be told, this particular exercise really was a fabulous way to trick the teens into spending more time with me and as a family, even if it did feel like torture (for me, possibly them) in parts. Gosh this parenting ‘gig’ doesn’t really get any easier, does it? The landscape just changes and you learn to adapt. For the most part I have three really easy, low maintenance girls and I’ve had a fairly smooth and far too easy parenting run. Legs crossed because my fingers are busy typing, that doesn’t change anytime soon.
Did you survive the school holidays? What does family fun look like to you? Do you have a favourite game online or off that you play with your family?
Like games? Why not head back tomorrow for Worth Casing Wednesday, where I’ll be throwing a little get connected game of my own.
I’m not into online gaming. Unless Solitaire counts …
BTW we have the same notebook: Be Bold, Be Brave …
Me either really. Only when it involves family fun time. I kind of look at it these days as the modern day board game. I have an entire cupboard of those notebooks. BE the initials of the new venture and the motto just fits.
I’m not an online game type of person but even I have to admit Fibbage looks so much fun! I’m so old skool, I love me an old fashioned board game! It certainly sounds like the holidays were happy ones at your house 🙂
I know, me too but teens these days. Most of the games we played are really just modern day board games. In the last house, when we had more room, we always had a massive jigsaw on the go each and every holiday. I really miss that. Can’t wait till we move.
My kids are still a bit young for online games but I’m sure we’ll get there before too long. The Pokemon phase has passed us by, although I’ve got plenty of grown up friends who are obsessed.
I honestly do not get the Pokemon thing when it comes to grown ups. In particular how silly some of them are being and the accidents that have unfolded.
Fibbage sounds great! I love Balderdash and it’s the same principle. Hilarious!
Balderdash is probably the only board game I haven’t played.
*books trip to Perth* *packs Balderdash*
I was the kid banned from bringing a book to the dinner table haha. I am expert at reading novels one handed.
How does one read novels one handed? Was this so you could continue reading under the table and dinner?
I love the ‘housework’ conquers ‘boredom’ idea. Good plan!
It probably made them experts at masking their boredom rather than anything else but I don’t have a problem with that. Kids shouldn’t need to be entertained 24/7 and need to learn how to deal with boredom.
I don’t have unlimited internet at home but have only ever used half of my allowance. I tend to live in the past and still be nervous about watching anything (even YouTube clips) online so have only ever watched TV online a few times!
I don’t watch TV normally, when I do (mainly for research) it’s always online. Most of the girls school stuff is online and I work form home. Which means I’m loving the unlimited internet factor a little too much. Especially as we’ve just had two weeks of holidays.
I’m lucky I can’t get PokemonGO on my phone or it could be dangerous as I have such an addictive personality! Haha #TeamIBOT
What sort of phone do you have? You should try Geocaching. Although you would need a GPS if you couldn’t get the phone app for that to work. We have a dedicated Geocaching GPS, so we don’t need our phones.
We are huge fans of 500 and canasta. I love your video btw.
Thanks Natalie. We’ve only just introduced the girls to 500. Couldn’t believe there were so many variations on how you could play the game.
Love the clip and all of the playful banter. We’re not at this stage yet, but I know who to come to if we need online gaming advice 🙂
Thanks Renee. I’m kind of wishing we weren’t at this stage either. They grow up too quickly. Still can’t believe my youngest is 15 and I have an 18 year old. #feelingold
We’ve been having some fun with Pokemon Go, but my kids are a little bit younger.
I wish my younger kids would turn to books when bored. I need to encourage some book time each day I think. At the moment only one of them really reads and that makes me sad 🙁
Have you tried Geocaching? Not sure what to suggest with encouraging a child to read, I think you are either that way inclined or you aren’t. We’ve gone through three sets of Harry Potter because the girls had them that worn. Thankfully they’ve moved on from that. Well at least I think they have.
I must confess I can’t get into virtual games and my kids don’t play computer games too much either. The games you have reviewed all sound like fun – maybe we need to look into them as something different to try. Thanks for the review.
What an awesome way to connect to your kids on their level. Mr 7 is right into Minecraft at the moment and I’ve bought a few books to help us spend time together while he still gets to enjoy playing his game.