Did you know that the week of April 30-May 6 is Screen-Free week? Yep, it’s time to unplug those tablets, turn off the TV’s and put down the mobile phones (unless you use them for work or studying, obvs!). It’s really tempting as a parent when you’ve had a busy day at work and you still need to cook tea/put the washing on/clean up/sell a kidney to pay for the latest school trip to let the kids zombie in front of a telly or a tablet. I know my kids use screens a little bit more than I would like at times, and whilst I know that is incredibly hypocritical coming from someone who has their eyes on a screen for most of the day, that is something I’d like to cut back on.
It’s so much easier to swap the screen for some more creative and screen-free activities at this time of year. The weather is better and the days are longer, so the kids can be outside more. I know my kids really do spend a lot less time on their tablets or watching TV when the weather is nice – they want to go to the park or the beach, or even just go and kick a ball about in the garden.
When the weather isn’t so great, and let’s face it, in the UK that’s an awful lot of the time, it can be harder. I think we’ve all become reliant on tablets and the TV as rainy day entertainment. What I love about the Screen-Free week campaign is that it encourages us to think creatively and get creative with our kids and find things to do that don’t involve technology.
9 Screen-Free Activities For Kids
1.Paint rocks – this is a huge craze at the moment and one that is simple, free and can be mess-free if you use pens rather than paint. The Inspirational Edit blog has lots of ideas for rock painting. The idea is you decorate some rocks and leave them for other people to find and rehide. It’s lots of fun!Photo credit: The Inspiration Edit
2. Decorate t-shirts – you can pop to the supermarket and buy some cheap white t-shirts and some fabric pens, or you could get one of these fab kits from Smiggle (£15) which contain everything you need. Harrison and Alex absolutely loved them! The t-shirts are pretty generous in size as well – Harrison is a giant child and the medium one fitted perfectly. They’re a really great idea because they’ve got something to keep at the end of it.
3. Board Games – pretty much all kids love board games. There are so many to choose from, from classics such as Monopoly and Scrabble to the new ones like Pie Face.
4. Building sets – give a child of any age a bag of lego or building blocks and I can guarantee they won’t be able to resist building something. To be honest, give any adult a bag of building blocks and they’ll probably get stuck in.
5. Make rain clouds in a jar – this blog post from early on in my blogging days tells you how to do it, but all you need is a clear jar, some shaving foam and food colouring.
6. Toilet paper tube car runs – just like a marble run, but for children who are too young or can’t be trusted not to put marbles in their mouths. Can they tape lots of loo roll or kitchen roll tubes together and create a run for some toy cars?
7. Make an Indoors Den – a simple and old-fashioned favourite. Pop a bedsheet over the dining table and chairs and play camping, or build a ship, just like Family Days Tried and Tested did at Bluestones.
Photo credit: Family Days Tried and Tested
8. Decorate some mugs – grab a couple of cheap plain white mugs and some sharpie pens and get creative. They also make excellent gift ideas for relatives and teachers for Christmas.
9. Print off a free Smiggle Activity Pack – Smiggle have a brilliant free downloadable activity pack to encourage children to #swapthescreen, containing puzzles, colouring sheets and much more
*In association with Smiggle. All words and thoughts are our own and have not been influenced in any way.