Next week is National Screen Free Week, an annual event where families are encouraged to turn off screens as much as possible. From May 2 to May 8, you and your family have the opportunity to read, explore, enjoy nature, spend more time with each other, do things around the house, and do some of the things you thought you were doing. Below are 20 suggestions you and your family can do instead of staring at the screen:
1. Prepare breakfast, lunch or dinner together. It’s a great way to spend time with your kids and teach them to cook at the same time.
2. Declutter and organize your closets. Ask each family member to go through their clothes and discard or donate any that don’t fit or that they no longer like. Try Marie Kondo’s KonMari Method which is described as a system for organizing your home by getting rid of items that don’t bring joy to your life. Visit her website at www.konmari.com.
3. Play board games. There are plenty of board games you can play as a family – Monopoly, Clue, Chutes and Ladders or Charades to name a few.
4. Take a nature hike. Observe and take photos of the different types of land formations and plants that grow in different areas of the island, such as around rivers, ocean, inland or wetlands. When you get home, you can watch and talk about what you saw.
5. Observe the night sky. Get a book on the different constellations and see if you can identify them. You can also observe the moon.
6. Organize your photos in real albums or electronically.
7. Send “Good Morning” cards to friends or relatives you haven’t been in touch with in a while.
8. Learn to cook a new dish or an imitated recipe.
9. Go camping – even if it’s in your front or back yard.
10. Learn to say simple sentences in a few different languages.
11. Take a long walk with a friend or family
12. Declutter and organize a junk drawer, your kids’ toys or the garage
13. Organize your family recipes in a family cookbook 14. Make small DIY projects around the house
15. Bake cookies, cupcakes or bread.
16. Prepare a basket and have a picnic.
17. Prepare a family emergency preparedness kit.
18. Drive around the island.
19. Visit the historical sites or the museum of the island.
20. Do something you’ve never done before. Turning off the screen is a difficult thing for many families to do.
If it’s absolutely impossible for your kids to stay tuned for an entire week, just try turning off the screens as much as possible or limiting screen time during the week. You’ll be surprised how many things you can do as a family when your kids aren’t tethered to a screen.
Elizabeth Hamilton, M.Ed., MA, is a teacher with 32 years of professional experience. You can write to him at [email protected]