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10 Must-Dos for Limiting Screens & Livening Up Summer

Ensuring summer doesn’t pass kids by before they get a chance to look up and enjoy it!

Screen time.

Summer is here, and the tangle of power cords and chargers may be overtaking the outlets in your home. We live in an age of multimedia and digital information, but that doesn’t mean that screens have to become the be all and end all of summer vacation for kids. Yes, there is a time and a place for screens and using them can often be beneficial, but when they are overused, kids can become disengaged from the world around them and from family. In order to reclaim some of the whimsies of childhood, create some fond, family memories, and add a little responsibility, parents have to implement some screen limitations and offer up some alternative sources for filling those lazy days of summer. These 10 screen-free alternatives are the perfect starting point.

  1. Games — Go vintage on the kids and pull out board games and decks of cards. Help them see that not all games require flashing lights and on-screen action to be fun and competitive. Whether it’s Chutes and Ladders, Clue, Monopoly, or an interminable game of War, the family time and fun that comes with playing games is priceless.
  2. Service — Enough can’t be said about the benefits of partaking in service projects within the community and beyond. Taking the time to help others is a very personally rewarding experience, and can be life-changing for the recipients in need. Find an organized project or see a need and fill it on your own.
  3. Write — Whether it’s a daily journal (family or personal), a letter to a friend or relative, a thank you to someone in the community or beyond that makes a difference, or a summer story, putting pen to paper is a great activity for any time of year and summer lends itself to offering a window to make it happen.
  4. Garden — Drop the screens and apply some sunscreen for a gardening or beautification project at home or in the community. Maintaining a flower or vegetable garden can become a routine part of the summer months and a great way to learn about planting and the growing food and other plant sources.
  5. Chores — Adding some extra responsibilities around the house can get kids up and moving. For those that may not be motivated, offer up a list of must-do items (within reason) to complete before getting the day’s Wi-Fi password.
  6. Read — Dive into reading with anything and everything that’s available. As a family, through a program at the library or a local bookseller, or on their own, help kids get lost in the pages of a new find or an old favorite.
  7. Camps & Workshops — Sign kids up for some screen-free activities. There are lots of options out there through parks and rec programs, local zoos or aquariums, schools and colleges, sports clubs, etc. Whether kids have been caught by the acting bug, an outdoor adventure bug, or an actual bug, there’s probably a camp for that!
  8. Head Outdoors — Think back to when you were a kid, and screens may not have been front and center. Share some go-to favorites from your summers to get kids outside. Hopscotch, slip and slides, bike rides, hikes, swimming, etc. are all fun and active ways to spend some time outdoors.
  9. Odd Jobs — Encourage your kids to secure some odd jobs around the neighborhood. Babysitting, lawn mowing, dog walking, etc. are the perfect way to take on some responsibility and earn some extra dollars.
  10. Be Bored — It happens. Kids get bored, and they need to figure out how to deal with it sans screens. By sharing and encouraging items from this list, they’ll have some go-to solutions in their pockets and may even get creative in inventing their own screen-free summer fun!

Screens can be great. They offer kids ways to explore and discover via amazing digital learning environments, but they can also monopolize mindless hours of a kid’s day. Occasional usage is perfectly acceptable, but finding ways to get your kids out from behind the screen and actually exploring and engaging in real-life roles and interactions are a must. These 10 screen-free activities are the perfect way to capture their attention with no charging station necessary.

If you enjoyed the thoughts and ideas shared here, check out the trainings and tools (for teachers and for families) that we offer.

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