We begin the summer months with great hope and excitement. But as the temperatures rise, our energy and ideas melt away. Out of desperation, electronics become the go-to activity. The television is turned on for a quick show. A device is given to a child to calm their wants. Without realizing it, a few minutes evolve into several hours of media use.
We’ve all been there. But we know the damaging effects that electronics can have on kids’ health, development, and social skills. A multitude of studies show the importance of old-fashioned play and activities. So what’s a momma to do when the sun is the warmest and her energy level is at its lowest?
The idea of having screen-free days this summer may seem impossible or at least overwhelming. But providing activities for kids that round out their educational, emotional, and spiritual development doesn’t have to be hard. Here are a few screen-free ideas for kids with little to no cost or preparation required.
Screen-Free Activities for Kids
Go to the Library
The local library just may be the most underutilized treasure trove of information and imagination out there! Most public libraries have fun summer programs to encourage children to read. Plan weekly trips to discover new books and authors. Consider picking a weekly theme to explore and discover books about a certain topic, activity, or another culture. And, don’t forget to check out the audiobooks!
Summer is a wonderful time to intentionally move your focus to others. With less structure and more room, your schedule hopefully allows you to creatively reach out to those around you. Look for ways to involve your kids and develop a servant attitude in your children. Some ideas: help an elderly neighbor in their yard, make cookies for the local firefighters, or host a lemonade stand to raise money for a local cause. Check out this 28-Day Love Your Neighbor Challenge from author Alexandra Kuykendall.
Visit Local Parks and Museums
You may be surprised by the number of local parks and museums within a short drive from your home. A quick internet search can aid you in discovering these hidden gems. Pack a picnic and spend even an hour or two outside. The fresh air and vitamin D will do wonders for your soul!
Summer is my favorite time for life training. This consists of jobs such as meal preparation, laundry, sewing, and garden work. Each day our children have chores that are preparing them for adult life and managing a home. Without the rush of school work and schedules, try investing time in training your kids in one or more of these areas.
We’re not talking about sleeping in late and pool time here (though those are great #summergoals). Get together and decide on a few bigger ideas. Work together as a family on a big project. This could be a large puzzle or craft activity. Or, have a goal for the whole family to ride bikes on a local trail or hike 3 miles together. The kids may not be interested in biking or hiking when it’s super hot outside but if you make the activity part of a larger idea, they will get excited to work together and accomplish the goal.
Often parents fear their children getting bored during the summer months. In actuality, boredom is good for children. It is in the boredom that imaginations grow, inventions are made, and children blossom.
If your family is in need of an electronic cleanse, know that the transition will probably not be welcomed by the children in your home. But after a couple of days, you will discover much happier and healthier children. Isn’t that what we all want from this summer?
Reading: The Best Screen-Free Boredom Buster!
We know that reading build’s a child’s vocabulary and imagination, but books can also help kids grow in faith as well! Which is why we’ve spent the past 24 months developing fun, intentional books for kids of all ages. This summer, we released two brand new, highly-illustrated, middle-grade books based on the popular show Micah’s Super Vlog. If your kiddos love Diary of a Wimpy Kid and 13 Story Treehouse, they will love these books! Check out these stories plus picture books, board books, and more in the store.