9 Screen-Free Family Activities to Participate in This Week
The recent pandemic may have resulted in your kids spending too much time staring at a screen. While it’s understandable to meet their homeschool responsibilities, modern lifestyles often leave your little ones online long after they “punch out” for the day.
The overuse affects their health. For one, kids who spend too much time indoors staring at screens are more likely to need glasses. Furthermore, entire books have been written on the impact of social media and online interactions on mental health in youth.
What can you do? How about reconnecting with those you love the most while doing something more fun than scrolling through Twitter? Here are nine screen-free family activities to participate in this week.
1. Host a Family Game Night
What’s an inexpensive way to get your kiddos off the screen? Bring back family game night. This activity offers the perfect bonding opportunity while possibly making your little one perform better in school.
How? Some benefits of playing games with loved ones include improved motor functioning and problem-solving abilities, helping them perform better at everything from science experiments to essay writing. You can even throw a bit of math and economic theory in there if you can resist flipping the Monopoly board.
2. Recreate the Drive-in Experience
When was the last time you visited your public library? If it’s been a while, you should explore. They have much more than books available for rent, including movie projectors — letting you recreate the drive-in experience at home on the cheap.
Light the patio heaters if it’s a bit chilly and create a space where you have an unobstructed view of your projection “screen.” Bring plenty of pillows, blankets and a big bowl of popcorn to share as you kick back and enjoy a flick with the fam. Better yet, invite a few friends and nurture your IRL social network.
3. Have the Great Kids Bake-Off
Have you seen all the cute kid’s cooking shows on channels like Food Network? You can recreate them at home.
Doing so teaches more than home economics. It also reinforces their math skills, especially if you have to double or reduce the recipe to fit your unique needs.
4. Play With Pets in Need
Does your lease say “no dogs allowed,” causing you to deny your child’s desperate pleading for a pet? Why not do some good while letting them enjoy their 4-legged friends?
How? Scores of shelters need volunteers to walk dogs and socialize kitties. You’ll have to fill out an application and complete basic training — growing your kids’ skills. Performing acts of kindness is one of the best things you can do for your mental health, as it prompts the release of positive neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine and oxytocin.
5. Go on a Nature Walk
A nature walk is another way to nurture your physical and mental health. Doing so eases anxiety and depression symptoms while lowering blood pressure and helping you manage your weight.
You can make this activity educational if you like. There are scores of plant, animal and insect identification apps to let you discover science out on the trail, and most cost less than $35 a year. Alternatively, you could practice mindfulness, focusing on how you feel and your sensory experience as you stroll.
6. Take Advantage of an Inexpensive Day at the Museum
The museum is a fabulous place to study anything from art to anthropology. It can also be a budget-friendly screen-free activity. How? Many museums offer special family days where kids can get in for free.
Better yet, many such areas feature beautifully sculptured grounds where you can enjoy a picnic lunch. You might brown-bag it but enjoy scenery worthy of the Four Seasons.
7. Create a Unique Work of Art
Do you want a teddy bear your child will cherish well into adulthood? You can still find Build-a-Bear workshops, sometimes conveniently located in big box stores you frequent anyway, like Walmart.
Alternatively, get creative with clay. Businesses such as As You Wish let you craft custom pottery on their spinning wheels and fire it for you to make a one-of-a-kind keepsake.
8. Build a Better Playset
Do your kids constantly clamor to go to the park? The playground is a fabulous resource, but sometimes, sketchy neighborhoods or even over-concerned parents of other children make it questionable for your kids to play solo.
Instead, consider working on a custom playset in your backyard this weekend. Let your kids help to hone their motor skills and offer engineering advice — how many swings do they want? What could the danger be of placing them too close together? Let them work their wee problem-solving skills. This project may take more than one day to complete, but that’s all the more time to enjoy this screen-free activity with your little ones.
9. Start a Victory Garden
Planting a garden has oodles of benefits. It provides your family with fresh, organic produce and gets you moving in the great outdoors. Best of all, it can lower your grocery bill, and who doesn’t need to save more on shopping these days?
You can make this activity even cheaper if you save the seeds from the produce you already buy. Cucumbers, green beans, tomatoes and peppers are a snap to dry and keep and sprout to new life in the spring.
Screen-Free Family Activities
Are you seeking a screen-free weekend with your kiddos? The above activities provide fun, bonding opportunities and even the chance to sneak in a bit of extra education.
Enjoy these screen-free family activities this week or anytime. You’ll feel closer to your kids and protect their health from too much screen time.
About the Author
Ava Roman (she/her) is the Managing Editor of Revivalist, a women’s lifestyle magazine that empowers women to live their most authentic life. When Ava is not writing you’ll find her in a yoga class, advocating for her children or whipping up something delicious in the kitchen!