Screen-Free Week

Happy May Day! Today also marks the second day of Screen-Free Week, an annual event in which child development experts and advocates encourage you to turn off the television, computer monitors, and other electronic devices. I know that’s easier said than done in this day and age. But even if you try it for just one day, it will be a good experience. You will be amazed at how many things you and your kids can get done when you’re not sitting in front of a computer all day!

Earlier this year our family was without internet service for a week when our DSL modem died. Having to wait for a new one to arrive in the mail was going to be torture, or so we thought. But as it turned out we had plenty of old-fashioned fun reading books, dusting off the old board games and playing them, taking walks outside, baking cookies, and cleaning our rooms – even I was able to get some of my stuff organized once and for all. I also noticed that everyone in the family seemed more relaxed and less argumentative.

Millions of people around the world have participated in Screen-Free Week (originally TV Turnoff Week) since it began in 1995. Like us, most families enjoy the peace, quiet, and increased family togetherness with more time to read, play, and talk. Don’t fret if children claim “I’m bored!” since boredom often leads to creativity. Turn off the electronic devices and interact with real life for a change!

60 Screen-Free Activities

  • Read a book
  • Plant a garden
  • Go to the library or bookstore
  • Write a letter
  • Take a walk
  • Ride a bike
  • Play baseball or basketball
  • Organize and de-clutter your stuff
  • Read a newspaper
  • Start a journal or diary
  • Make a scrapbook
  • Cook a meal
  • Play dress-up or a make-believe game
  • Play outdoor games like hopscotch, hide & seek, tag
  • Learn about the native animals and plants in your area
  • Play chess, cards, or a board game
  • Put together a jigsaw puzzle
  • Study the stars
  • Tutor a child
  • Draw a picture
  • Play with your little brother or sister
  • Put on a magic show
  • Attend a play or sports event
  • Listen to music
  • Do yardwork or household repairs
  • Do a crossword puzzle or word search
  • Sit down for tea and conversation
  • Visit the zoo or a museum
  • Create a new invention
  • Go on a hike
  • Go to the park or playground
  • Memorize a poem
  • Put on a play
  • Write a story
  • Ask a grandparent to tell you about life in the old days
  • Do community service or volunteer work
  • Bake cookies
  • Play a musical instrument
  • Sing songs
  • Do a science experiment
  • Go on a scavenger hunt
  • Re-decorate your room
  • Play a memory game
  • Play charades or 20 Questions
  • Set up a lemonade stand
  • Make a cereal box city
  • Build a Lego creation
  • Make paper airplanes
  • Make up a secret code
  • Have a spelling bee
  • Have a picnic
  • Build and fly a model rocket
  • Do a craft
  • Organize a collection
  • Have a puppet show
  • Go swimming
  • Do your spring cleaning
  • Clean up the yard
  • Sort through old toys and clothes to donate
  • Start an exercise routine

For more Screen-Free Week information and additional resources, go to: http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/screenfreeweek

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