Crafts · Learning Ideas · Parenting

We’re Going Dark (why our family is doing a Screen Free week and how I plan to get through it!)

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Before our kids were born, I assumed we’d have an (almost) screen free household… why would they need to watch TV, play on the iPad or my phone?  I laugh now at how naive I was.  For the most part, we do try to keep the “screen activities” limited but over the last few months, we (read: me) have gone completely off the rails.  I can blame it on the pregnancy, the fact that I’m exhausted or that it’s the easiest way to get things done sometimes but regardless, I don’t like the path we’ve headed down.

M has never been a big TV watcher, she will rarely ask to watch a show or play on our phones.  She was also never a napper.  That’s why it has been easy to use watching a show or playing a game on the iPad as a way to entice her to relax in the afternoons.  J on the other hand, is a blossoming couch potato!  He could watch endless episodes of Peppa Pig or Sesame Street if allowed and has become obsessed with playing on our phones or the iPad.  Seeing how quickly he has become attached to these has caused us to really step back and realize we need to rework the way things have been going.

That’s why next week we are participating in Screen Free Week.  I have no illusions that we will become a completely screen free family and truth be told, I don’t want to be.  However, I do hope we can shift to a structure that allows screen time to be a special treat rather than an expected activity.

Screen Free Week can look different for each family.  For us, we’ve set the following guidelines:

  • No watching television or movies
  • No playing on the iPad
  • No playing on our phones
  • The hubs and I will not be on our phones while the kids are awake (two exceptions being listening to Pandora and the hubs checking his work email from time to time).
  • I will not be on the computer while the kids are awake.

While I’m excited about the idea of getting away from screens, I’m quite terrified of the prospect of an entire week without the lure of a easy break.  But because I’m really committed to it, I decided to plan ahead with a list of “screen free” activities we can do throughout the week.  I wanted to share my list with you guys in case anyone else felt inspired to join us this week or simply wanted some new ideas for your little ones.

Here are 75 ideas for your little ones instead of a screen…

  1. Playing in the water table outside
  2. Use the Stomp Rocket
  3. Wash the car
  4. Build with Duplo blocks
  5. Have a texture scavenger hunt
  6. Springtime Chicks Craft
  7. Turn a cardboard box into a house/car/etc.
  8. Play a board game
  9. Explore a sensory bin
  10. Play with play dough
  11. Decorate a flower vase
  12. Add things to play dough for added fun– buttons, toy dinosaurs, bugs, animals, dry pasta, popsicle sticks
  13. Make our own play dough
  14. Make Mini marshmallow shooters
  15. Have an ice dig – excavate items out of the ice
  16. Go on a picnic
  17. Fly a kite
  18. Go to the park
  19. Make s’mores
  20. Sight Word Scavenger Hunt
  21. Go for a walk
  22. Watch a baseball game
  23. Create trees for the 4 seasons
  24. Draw with chalk on the driveway
  25. Go to the library
  26. Make a dinosaur
  27. Blow bubbles
  28. Paint rocks
  29. Plant flowers
  30. Paper Bag Jelly Fish
  31. Bake cookies or muffins
  32. Read books
  33. Ride bikes
  34. Play hopscotch
  35. Create a bubble bin
  36. Put on a puppet show
  37. Build a fort
  38. Set up the train tracks
  39. Popsicle Stick Picture Frame
  40. Have a dance party
  41. Go to a museum
  42. Make homemade ice cream
  43. Write letters to family members
  44. Read a book / do a craft
  45. Play hide and seek
  46. Make homemade pizza
  47. Create toothpick sculptures (toothpicks and mini marshmallows)
  48. Do some Qtip painting
  49. Color Lab Science
  50. Play with Magnatiles
  51. Use scraps of fabric to dress a paper person
  52. Paper cut art – fold, cut, paste their own creations
  53. Create a Flower Garden
  54. Simple painting
  55. Make greeting cards
  56. Work on a large puzzle throughout the week
  57. Family game night
  58. Go bowling
  59. Make worms in mud pudding
  60. Feed the ducks
  61. Create Spaghetti art
  62. Eat lunch or dinner outside
  63. Make Fairy soup
  64. Make bird feeders using peanut butter and bird seed on toilet paper rolls
  65. Play hide and seek (inside or outside)
  66. Make a wind chime
  67. Have a band
  68. Obstacle course (inside or outside)
  69. Wash dishes in the sink
  70. Have an ice cream taste test
  71. Color scavenger hunt outside
  72. Jackson Pollock painting
  73. Melt crayons into shapes in the sun
  74. Help clean the house
  75. Make Play Snow

I’d love to hear how you deal with screen time in your home and what some of your favorite screen free activities are for your little ones?

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One thought on “We’re Going Dark (why our family is doing a Screen Free week and how I plan to get through it!)

  1. Good luck! We’ve done this a few times and while I struggle with it (as do the kids) it always makes us stop and focus on what’s really important and that’s never screens.

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