12 Screen-Free Family Activities
Written by Soleil Bourdon, Little Lamb Books intern
The meaning of “face time” has changed quite a bit over the last 20 years. Previous generations knew face time as time spent together in person. Today’s young families see it as a part of an app downloaded on their phone. Having these two very different definitions has affected not just our mentality when it comes to sharing our day to day lives, but the change has also affected how we make memories as families.
It’s important that we don’t forget the importance of being together, making eye contact, talking without using our fingers to text regardless of how busy our lives can get.
Now you’re wondering what can you do about the rapid increase of screen time in your own family, right?
The first thing to do is put the phones, tablets, laptops and other screens down and away. Instead of letting family members, especially kids, scroll idly through their social media, everyone should unplug and make time to be one on one.
Then, make designated times for when Mom and Dad, the kids, and grandparents or other extended family can enjoy each other’s company and prompt conversation, personal interaction, special bonding moments, and most importantly, time away from screens.
Below are 12 family activities that will help you jumpstart your face to face family fun, whether it’s a specific time during your day, moments set aside during visits, or a whole weekend dedicated to adventure.
1. Those places you’ve driven past a thousand times…the local snowball hut or the community park…but have never stopped? Go there. You’ll be surprised what hidden gems are in your own city.
2. Go to a local museum and learn about something new. Most museums have free events that you can enjoy.
3. Plan a family game night. Pull out those beloved board games and puzzles and play a round of Boggle, Telestrations, Monopoly, dominoes, or charades.
4. Find an outdoor activity specific to the season. Have a water balloon fight on a hot summer day or make homemade ice cream. Toast marshmallows on a cold fall night.
5. Cook a meal together. Each person contributes to a specific course from appetizer to dessert.
6. Go stargazing. Look for well-known constellations or make some of your own.
7. Plant a garden. Get everyone outside playing in the dirt. It can be something small, just a few potted plants, or could be a large project turning those unused yard spaces into useful and productive produce.
8. Complete a large a puzzle together at home.
9. Take a hike or a entire overnight camping trip with tents, hammocks, and campfire. Time away from the hustle and bustle can be rejuvenating for everyone.
10. Fill a time capsule. Have everyone pitch in a few items: pictures, knick-knacks, notes and letters, and bury the container somewhere—could be in your backyard, or some place you visit often.
11. Be active. Go bowling together, visit your local skate rink, or play some putt-putt.
12. Volunteer together at a local homeless shelter or food pantry or animal shelter.
Whether you try one, or all, of these screen-free suggestions, as long as you’re having fun and connecting with your family in a world that no longer makes face time a priority, it doesn’t matter what you’re doing. These times will be something your entire family will remember and look forward to again and again.