It’s a sad fact that many parents around the world default to only one solution to occupy their children’s focus- giving them a smartphone or a tablet to look at. This is nothing to how older generations used to grow up, and we are the first generation to face this. Even though there are little solid facts that show how bad this can be for kids, many people don’t like this concept as a whole.
Without any doubt, there are so many other things you can do with your child, without even thinking about putting a smartphone in their hands. We all know that there is something that attracts little kids to electronic devices. There are even some moments when the whole family is out and about and parents fall back on giving their children some sort of device in order to keep them quiet.
So what are some ways you can unsucker the family from their screens and still have a good time? Read on!
Table of Contents
1. Get outside
If you are comfortable in the great outdoors then be sure to pass it onto your children. Are you skilled at setting up tents? A dab hand at getting a campfire going? You might want to save the fire making part till they are a little older but give a toddler some tent bits and pieces and your afternoon is sorted! If camping is not quite in your repertoire then don’t worry. Making mud pies and brewing up twig tea is a perfect way to get involved with the world around us. Grab an old pot or bowl, find some sticks and a muddy patch and away you go!
2. Share a Meal
Nothing bonds family in a better way than sharing a meal. Especially if you are having one outside without all the influences that can annoy you during your meal. The pull of the TV can be strong when you are sitting at the dinner table (or even make you want to sit on the couch). However, when you are outside of your home, there isn’t any possible way of having the TV flickering away in the background. Take things outdoors with a picnic lunch or dinner and enjoy talking to each other instead of being glued to the screen. Putting together a picnic is a great introduction to cooking for little ones too, task them with making sandwiches or choosing fruit and veg to enjoy.
3. Learn a new skill
Getting crafty is the perfect way to beat screen time. Encourage artistic kiddos to get creative with paints, pens and pencils. Your recycling pile can be a great source of fun- challenge the family to create a robot with all the bits and pieces you have (make sure they are clean first of course!). If an impromptu recycling build sparks an interest in model making then why not take it a step further with a kit from Model Space? These will keep teenagers completely occupied and can be a great group activity for younger ones
4. Play Some Board Games or Cards
People always knew how to have fun. Even though before all the e-devices were introduced people had a plethora of different ways to entertain themselves. An oldie but a goodie is to play some board games or cards. So, make sure that you’ve put a Monopoly or Risk in your car when going on holiday (trael versions are also a good way to deal with long car journeys). These games are helpful since you will be able to spot developing social skills in your child, like numeracy, understanding, communication, teamwork and competitiveness.
5. Take a Long Walk
If you are in nature, you know there is something happening at every single moment. There are no boring moments when you are in a forest or even a park. Crunch through fallen leaves, point out different types of trees and bushes (it doesn’t matter if you know their names or not).Make it an adventure by searching for local landmarks. Get kids involved from the beginning by looking at maps together before you go (personally I love looking for weird and funny place names on maps and then heading there). Don’t forget to pack plenty of snacks! A hangry child (or adult) makes any walk a trudge.
6. Have a Scavenger Hunt
With a little bit of free time and a splash of creativity, you can create a scavenger hunt to make your kid’s day out much more interesting. Creative juices flowing? Make one completely from scratch. Pressed for time or ideas? Google up some options to get you started or simply hit print and get going. Scavenger hunts are great for being out in nature or in cities. If you are planning a trip to a museum or zoo check with the spots education department, they often have specially designed guides for kids and hunts you can get for free.
7. Do Some Gardening
Many people don’t understand how children love to have a responsibility. Not providing them with this kind of opportunity is a missed opportunity for sure. Give them some responsibility from time to time. One of the most interesting things you can do in this regard is to make them help you with some gardening. Older children could have their own patch in the garde to take care of, while younger children can get involved with activities like planting bulbs and weeding. Crops like potatoes and carrots require very little maintenance but are a delight to watch grow, harvest and of course eat! If you aren’t lucky enough to have a garden then consider a window box or even some indoor plants that can be the kids responsibility to water.
8. Ride Bikes
Nothing can quite match the freedom of a bike ride. Being up that little bit higher, wheeling along with ease and of course the joy of speeding (carefully) down hills. Learning to ride a bike is an important skill for the whole family. If buying bikes for everyone is an expense you just can’t afford don’t worry- consider renting bikes for a day out. With small children in tow you will want to avoid roads so look up local cycle path networks and bike friendly parks to make everyone feel that little bit safer. Just like if you are heading out for a long walk, don’t forget the snacks!
9. Outdoor Games and Sports
Maybe your children have a talent for sports. You will never know if you don’t let them try some out. Look up taster sessions of sports in your area to see if anything catches your kids interest or skill set. Even just throwing or kicking a ball back and forth in the park is a great way to get active. If you love a sport involve your child. can you teach them some of the skills? If possible, take them to experience it in real life. Cheering on a team or rooting for a runner are all great ways to get involved.
With all these options you’ll be throwing those tablets away! Well not quite. Let’s be realistic, a bit of screen time here and there has its place but there is so much more out there to experience and see. I hope you like these tips and you and your family enjoy some unplugged moments soon!