Congratulations! By reading this article it means you are taking steps to continue thinking carefully about how screens are being used in your home. Instead of watching TV, going on the internet, or playing video games we hope you will get yourself and your family more involved in reading, playing, thinking, creating, getting physically more active, and spending more time being together.
Please send any photos (jpeg) and a short description of how your family is spending time involved in activities during Screen Free Week by May 15, 2014 to firstname.lastname@example.org so that we can share them with others. One lucky family will win a basket full of board games.
Here are a few tips and suggestions for becoming “Screen Free-d” !
Take a Walk
Grab the stroller and explore your neighborhood. Become a local tourist and walk around just noticing things you might pass by every day when you are primarily focused on your destination.
Have a Family Read-a-Loud
Along with this, plan a visit to the local library. Check out some books that interest your family and have a reading session together.
Create Art Together
Many homes have lots of children’s art work posted on the refrigerator or bulletin board. But how many have art where the whole family has contributed to making a masterpiece together?
Some of the old classic board games are still around and there are many new ones available. Interacting face to face while playing a game requires some different skills than when you are looking into a screen.
If your young ones are just too young to play a board game, doing a puzzle together is fun. As children mature, more complex puzzles such as jigsaw puzzles can become an ongoing activity to enjoy.
If space allows, make or buy a bird-feeder and watch the variety of birds that come and feast on what you have put out for them. Or plan a visit to a location with a bird feeder and observe a bird feeding station elsewhere. Young and old enjoy watching our feathered friends and observing their unique characteristics.
This activity is really as simple as it sounds. Looking at the sky presents so many possibilities. If you look up at night, all the star gazing options are right there. Looking at beautiful sunsets is something we often overlook. And in the morning, looking up at the sky gives us the opportunity to be our own weather forecaster.
Family Lego/Duplo Creation Event
The possibilities with Lego or Duplo are endless. Your family can decide on a theme for their creations and let the inventor in all of us go free.
Start some seeds together or purchase new houseplants and spend some time learning about caring for them. Having a little container garden on your kitchen window sill or in your home is very manageable if you don’t have outside space. Young children love to water plants and care for something else.
Have a Picnic
Just pick a place—anywhere you plan to get together to enjoy your meal is fine. It doesn’t have to be a park, try your own backyard or even the living room floor if Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate with your plans.
Go and See a Game
Although tickets to a professional game might not be possible, drop by your town’s recreation fields and watch a game that is being played. Sometimes young children are quite interested in seeing someone closer to their age playing a sport. The experience of watching a live game is a lot different than watching it on a screen.
Look at Family Photo Albums
If the night or afternoon needs some more screen-less activities, break out the old family photo albums. Those photos which were taken pre-digital age are often ones your children have not seen and will find quite interesting.
Reach out to Family
Even better, if it is possible, go visit them. This is the perfect week to do it. Make a phone call, get together for a meal, and enjoy each other’s company.