Past the newness of the experience, we are once again firmly down the path of finding our way without the luxury of any screen time. Some children, and adults, are doing better than others and on both ends of the spectrum I see why it is so important to unplug from the technology and plug-in to what is healthy for our hearts and minds.
For the one who hasn’t been too terribly affected by the course of this week, perhaps showing him that we really don’t need screen time at all is equally important with the recognition there are educational opportunities available on the computer.
For the one who is upset because his favorite thing to do after school is play LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean this week tells me that he needs to have other options that are just as pleasurable.
For the youngest who forgets every morning that it is Screen-Free Week, and who is still trying to figure out what constitutes a “screen,” this won’t last, but she has engaged in more independent play after her brothers board the bus.
Screen-Free Week Activities
Smoothies. Smoothies are an easy way to sneak in greens and other nutritious foods, but they are also an opportunity to learn about the aforementioned healthy foods and realize they are certainly delicious. Allowing your children to begin choosing their own ingredients (within reason of course!) and going slowly with the greens with reluctant children. I try to update my Facebook page with recipe ideas that can easily be tweaked for kids’ palates.
Science Experiment. Science can be fun for just about every child, especially when there are possibilities for explosions! My eldest reads about things like the periodic table just for fun and science experiments of any kind are right up his alley.
What I didn’t necessarily expect were the reactions of his brother and sister when watching him work with baking soda and vinegar while adding in a few variables: amount, container, added salt, added pepper, Dr. Bronner’s, and temperature.
I loved this because I could sit back and let them have at it. The ingredients they were working with were safe and they learned a few lessons about asking a question, developing a hypothesis, and testing their idea. For one child in particular, it was also a lesson in learning it is ok to guess wrong. Plus when they inevitably spilled, they cleaned the mess and the floor! Win-win. We did this organically, but it would be easy to take this further based on your child’s interest and age. Teach how to make scientific observations, record data, draw conclusions, and even more types of chemical reactions.
Library. Our family cycles through loads of books and the library is often an after-school or weekend excursion. It is quiet, full of books and puzzles, and keeps our reading lists fresh. many local libraries have several similar programs for kids to take advantage of on rainy days, hot day, or any day: storytime, performances, reading to therapy dogs, and special teen events.
Reading. After a busy afternoon, a little downtime is in order. A leading indicator in our children’s academic success is reading and being read to. Additionally, when children see adults reading for enjoyment, they internalize the belief that reading is fun and essential.
So I set to work on Mockingjay. It was a hardship I tell you. The little ones each curled up in their respective corners, propped with pillows, and quietly(!) read to themselves from the stash we brought home from the library.
Let’s get the conversation started! How is your Screen-Free Week going so far? If you aren’t participating, why not?
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!