A significant benefit of going screen-free in the spring is that there is a good chance the weather will allow for spending lots of time outside. I love to do the occasional walk in the rain and puddle jumping expeditions, but a sunny day beckons until we answer the call.
Children today spend less time outdoors than any other generation. Research indicates children will be happier and healthier when there is balance between indoor and outdoor play. There is also more evidence that the type of play necessitated by playing in natural spaces will encourage imagination, attention span, and may even improve academic performance for older children.
All of my children attend school for part of the day. The little ones come home before lunch time, ravenous from work and play, hungry for attention, with my work for the day only just begun. It is too tempting to agree to the show or few minutes of video game time. That wasn’t going to work today now, was it?
The middle boy breezed through the door and setting his backpack on the ground began to angle for some screen time. Crocodile tears and protests of nothing to do ensued, leading to a stomping into the room and an hour of Lego play. See how that works?
The baby girl helped me make her lunch, with singing and chatterings. A bonding activity for the one who needs her mama now. Experimenting and learning about healthy foods and independent choices takes the time we need to enjoy each other’s company and prepare her for a little creative play after her meal.
The eldest arrives home on the big yellow bus with energy to spare and a twinkle of mischief in his eye. He is greeted with joy by his brother who adores him and his leadership in play. He is certainly ready to expend some of that energy outside!
We spent our afternoon exploring a wild, untamed part of our yard. When you have lots of rain and miss the one weekend of sun to mow, you get clumps of grass so tall they had the eight year old playing with wonder. Trees are meant for climbing, driveways meant for skateboarding, and grassy freedom to run, jump, and feel the sun on our arms.
Playing outside during Screen-Free Week may be no different than a typical day for your children or it may be something more unusual. Either way, it will benefit the whole family and will hopefully continue long after this week is over, rain or shine.
Were you lucky enough to get outside in the sun yesterday or were you forced to work on rainy day activities (dancing or singing in the rain anyone)?
I am partnering with Green Child Magazine to chronicle a week-in-the-life of a family experiencing Screen-Free Week. Each day I will highlight something our family is doing instead of watching tv, playing on the computer or video games. We will spend time together, time independently, time exploring, and likely a little time with not a thing to do. Join us!