Tiger Tribe: one family making beautiful off-screen activities

Kinderling News & Features

Shevonne Hunt hosts Kinderling Conversation every weekday at 12pm.

My kids both have “craft” boxes at home.

When I had the idea, I thought I deserved a Mum of the Year award.

By creating these boxes and filling them with pencils, textas, paper and other crafty things, my kids were going to become artistic, non-screen-addicted geniuses!

What could possibly go wrong?

I imagined them opting for their craft boxes instead of the television, beavering away at some amazing artwork that we would hang on the wall.

But my children are slightly chaotic and very unpredictable. That is, they hardly ever go along with my imagined scenarios of family life (you know, in bed by 7pm, all green veggies gobbled up and no fighting).

My clean and organised craft boxes have quickly degenerated into self-contained dumping grounds with half-finished pictures, legs of dolls and several toy cars.

I can’t quite let go of the idea of craft. It’s such a great off-screen activity (and I don’t have to think too hard about it).

When Anthony and Naomi Green’s children were two and four years old in 2007, they decided to start their own business, Tiger Tribe.

Naomi says it was only possible because their second child slept for three hours in the afternoon, giving them time to concentrate on their small business.

Tiger Tribe produces activity sets designed to keep kids off screens. The idea is to create self-contained, beautiful looking products full of stuff for kids to do.

My favourite (for very selfish reasons) is Beat the Clock. In this package is a stop watch, two balloons, a pencil and a challenge book. It’s aimed at five to ten-year-olds, though when my family used it our three-year-old tagged along for the ride.

The challenge book has a stack of ideas for what the kids can do in order to ‘beat the clock’. It could be seeing how long you can go without saying ‘um’ or ‘ah. Or how long you can keep the two balloons up in the air, or how many pieces of paper you can get in the bin.

Those ‘selfish reasons’ I mentioned? You can also use it to time a bedroom clean up, or making beds, or getting dressed for school. I see unlimited possibilities for this game.

Listen to Anthony and Naomi on Kinderling Conversation:

There are many different options for budding illustrators. Including How To Draw an Animal, How to Draw Fantasy and How to Draw Wild Kingdom,  inspired by American children’s book author Ed Emberley this series allows children to learn everything from how to draw animals, to fairies and monsters.

Tiger Tribe products all come in self-contained boxes, often with a magnetic lip so that everything can stay inside, no rogue crayon spillage while you’re mid-trip. They’re perfect for café trips or when you go away.  

I’ve become a bit obsessed with these products, and more than a few will find their way in to the Santa bag this Christmas.

And yes, I am feeling smug again that I’ve got some ‘screen-free’ options up my sleeve for the holidays. Fingers crossed the design of these crafty ideas will keep the mess more contained.

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