A few weeks back we told you about Screen-Free Week, being celebrated from May 5-11. We also gave you some ideas on how to take a break from technology and take time to reconnect with your kids, and teach them that they really don’t need screen time, all the time.
Maybe you forgot that this week was Screen-Free Week, or maybe you’re like me and you procrastinate on just about everything. Now it’s Wednesday, and while you may have missed the first half of the celebration you still have a few days to make up for it. Here are 10 things you can do TODAY (or any other day) to reduce your kids’ time in front of the screen.
1. Make cookies: My kids love to bake and we usually have the ingredients for easy sugar or chocolate chip cookies in the pantry at all times. You probably also have a cookbook laying around or even a recipe on the back of a package of chocolate chips, so there’s not even any reason to check Food.com or pull out your smartphone for a quick recipe check online.
2. Go to the park: Map of Play is an awesome website that shows you the nearest parks and playgrounds, no matter where you might be. Just enter in a zip or city name and the map will show you what’s in the area. If it’s close enough, consider walking or riding your bikes – it extends your activity time and your kids will definitely sleep well tonight.
3. Get crafty: Mother’s Day is on Sunday and we always make something homemade (aka CHEAP) for the grandmas in your life. Take an afternoon and gather all of your random craft supplies and let your kids’ imaginations go wild. No need for Pinterest – kids can be wildly creative when left to their own devices.
4. Scavenger hunt: Choose a list of things you and your kids can find easily in the yard or the neighborhood. Have them draw pictures and then circle the pictures when they’ve uncovered the items, with the winner getting an extra cookie (see #1).
5. Make a call: Use your phone to place a simple call (remember those??) to someone you and the kids haven’t talked to in a while. Before dialing, have your kids think of a list of questions they can ask about who’s on the other line, about topics like the weather or recent family vacations.
6. Take a picture: Pick up a cheapo disposable camera at the drug store and send your kids around snapping pics of anything they want. Develop the pictures and put the pictures up on the wall gallery-style and have an “art show”, complete with fancy drinks (apple juice) and appetizers (Lucky Charms).
7. Go to the library: If it’s been a while since you’ve taken the kids to the local library, it’s probably time to check in (get it??). The only rule: the kids can’t use the computers, they can only do book-related activities. Don’t know where to start? Let them talk to the librarian to help find books that will interest them.
8. Hit the sidewalk: Grab your sidewalk chalk (you can pick some up at the dollar store) and find a blank sidewalk or two to take over. Here’s a link to 30 different games kiddos can play using simply a sidewalk and some chalk.
9. Set some rules: Sit your kids down and have a real discussion about what screen time means and why it’s important to have a set of “rules” that’s right for your family. Have the kids think of some rules and make a big, beautiful chart for them to see every day.
10. If all else fails, READ: Grab a book, a magazine, a newspaper, heck – even a coloring book! See how many books you can read in one sitting, and have kiddos pick out their own books to read to you. Whoever reads the most books gets an extra cookie (see #1).