7 Fun Ideas for Screen-Free Week

Watching the post-New Year's Eve entertainment from Times Square

We’re a few days into the 2011 Screen Free Week. How are you and your family doing?

Let the TVs and video systems go dark for the week. Limit computer use to necessary work and school activities whenever possible. Join people across the globe as they take back the enormous blocks of time that our plug-in devices are stealing from us — that we are GIVING THEM all too willingly!

Instead, spend time reconnecting with family and friends in meaningful, face-to-face ways.

We’ve discussed screen-time here on several occasions, and it is without a doubt one of the chief barriers to unstructured play and outdoor time in the lives of today’s children. (And we grown-ups, too!) So here are a few ideas to get you started. Of course, you are only limited by your imagination. Make Screen Free Week your own!

An Idea a Day to Keep the Screen Away:

  1. Have a cookout! Still snow on the ground where you live? Have an indoor picnic.
  2. Have game night. Break out the cards and boards games and have some old fashion fun. Or, if the budget allows, pick out a new family game to master.
  3. Go for a nice long walk after dinner. Stop and chat with neighbors you might not have seen all winter while we were all holed-up.
  4. Take a trip to the library and everyone pick out a book. If age appropriate, get a book that you can read together as a family.
  5. Visit a local nature center for a program. They often have evening programs on stargazing, night hikes, and nocturnal wildlife.
  6. Take a day trip! Go hiking, biking, or to visit a nearby museum. Just get out there! (Weekend) Take advantage of National Park Week — admission is free all week!
  7. Start a backyard garden or container garden, or spend time in one you already have. (Weekend)

Need more ideas? Check out Nature Rocks or my friend Debi’s great site, Go Explore Nature.

No matter what you do, make a real effort to unplug and reconnect. See if you notice any difference in your mood, or those of your children. Or changes in their behavior or sleep patterns.

Don’t worry — the TV isn’t going anywhere. And you all know that thanks to TiVo and web-streaming, you can catch-up on just about everything you will miss. But who knows, you just might find that you don’t MISS a thing!

See ya outside! – The Grass Stain Guru

Creative Commons License photo credit: dionhinchcliffe

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