According to a study by comScore, the average American spends almost three hours a day on their smartphones. With technology becoming such an integral part of our daily lives and family time, sometimes it’s difficult to unplug and sink into the now. Screens have become an easy way to capture our attention, and our kids’ as well.
Video games, tablets, and smartphones are easy and convenient ways to keep kids entertained. However, too much screen time early on can have a negative effect on major cognitive development in young children.
The solution? Have periodic days with the family that involve absolutely no screens. Turn off the TV and the video games, and tuck the phones away to enjoy time together. Not sure where to start? Here are some ideas for screen less fun with the family:
Make Breakfast Together
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and it can be the most fun too! Start the day by having kids help make breakfast. Put pancake batter in an easy to squeeze tube and have them squeeze out what size pancakes they would like in the pan. Add extra fruits, chocolate chips or whipped cream onto their pancakes to make cute animals or funny faces too!
Create a “Laser” Obstacle Course
If you have a couple of doorways, a handful of agile kids and some espionage music, you can create your very own heist in the safety of your home. On one end of the house place a prize – this could be just a random object, or you could create a prize basket to add a little competitive mix to it. Tape red yarn or crepe paper along doorways and in long hallways to mimic the feel of laser alarms – just like in the movies! The winner is the first one to get to the prize and bring it back without touching or taking down a red string.
Play a Game of Charades
This is an easy way to get everyone involved. The first thing to do is to grab a bunch of paper and a big bowl or hat. As a family, brainstorm a bunch of things that you want to see your family members act out! Some common ideas are movie titles, comic book characters, different animals, or other family members. Have everyone throw at least 10 different charade suggestions into the hat. The first person to guess at least 10 different charades wins!
Craft Your Own Terrarium or Fairy Garden
This may require extra planning or coordination, but this can be an easy and fun craft project that can teach children about long-term responsibility. Grab a couple of glass jars or bowls – old mason jars would be perfect for this project. Layer in rocks, charcoal, soil, and plants into the jar to create a cute ecosystem that your kids can watch grow. Add in small figurines, such as small dinosaur toys or fairy creatures to create a whimsical scene! Check out this awesome guide by The Note Passer for more info on how to make a good terrarium.
Put Your Own Spin on a Classic Board Game
The game “Guess Who?” is a fun process of elimination game that is easy to give a personalized twist. Instead of using the images that are provided within the game – try using members of your family instead! This is an easy way to add a personal touch to the game and could be a fun activity to find goofy pictures of different people in your family in old photo albums.
Turn an Empty Hallway into a Faux Bowling Alley
Have a couple of empty soda bottles or other containers lying around? Reuse them in a way that’s fun for the whole family! Set them up at one end of the hallway, grab a ball, and let ‘em roll! You can make the game as easy or as hard as you’d like by adding extra water to a soda bottle to make it more difficult. Have everybody help pitch in and keep score. Your kiddos won’t even notice that they’re working on their math skills along the way!
Everybody loves a good old-fashioned blanket fort. Gather up as many blankets and sheets as you can and set it up! Twine, string, extra chairs and binder clips can help turn your ordinary living room into the best blanket fort of all time. Grab sleeping bags and everyone can snuggle in the living room for an awesome slumber party.
Make it a whole evening! Serve chili and cornbread for dinner and read camp stories for fun! Turn out the lights and grab flashlights and make shadow puppets with your hands and fingers. Read spooky ghost stories or maybe more light-hearted ones before bed. This is a great way to spend some time with your family – despite inclement or chilly weather.
There are hundreds of activities to keep your family occupied during the day, without screens interrupting. Take this time to cherish the moments that you have with your family and enjoy every minute! Do you have a favorite screenless activity that you do with your family? Share with us in the comments below!