How To Keep The Kids Screen Free This Summer
The summer holidays have officially landed – a notion which brings excitement and dread in equal measure for parents! There’s nothing more joyous than the thought of the kids enjoying their well-deserved school break in this glorious weather; but these days with screens around every corner, it’s getting harder and harder to tempt kids away from the draw of the television, smartphone, tablet and game console...
We all know the dangers of spending too much time in front of screens – and it’s even more important for children’s screen time to be limited. So how can you make sure that the kids keep away from them and, most importantly, enjoy their technology-free time? The key lies in planning and variety!
Games, Games, Games
The first thing to do is ensure you’re stocked up on essential summer games: we’re talking footballs, volleyballs, frisbees, paddling pools, Swingball – the more outdoor games you have for the kids to choose from, the better. You can get ‘giant’ versions of indoor games like giant Jenga and Four in a Row, which is ideal for encouraging children who prefer a more tactical rather than physical game to get outdoors.
No matter what size your garden is, there’s plenty of opportunity to let kids see it in a new light. Why not plan and set out a surprise treasure hunt? You can create clues leading to different locations – flower pots, bird tables and low bushes are ideal hunting spots. At the end your garden adventurers can claim their prize – this can be whatever you want: their favourite chocolate bar, a new garden game, or perhaps a picnic set?
Which leads us on to our next outdoor activity – there’s nothing quite like a great British picnic. For some reason, when we prep our lunch in a basket and pair it with a rug, the meal becomes a real occasion! The beauty of a picnic is that it can take place anywhere – from the shores of the sea to your own back garden, and it’s a great opportunity to get the kids away from the screens and interested in their food.
Get your children involved in picnic preparations from start to finish – it’ll keep them occupied and entertained for hours, show them all that goes into prepping for a meal, and they’ll love having a bit of control to pull together a lunch brimming with all of their favourites. Why not visit your local farmer’s market or farm shop to pick up the freshest produce, now the kids can decide which vegetable sticks they would like, what they’d like to go in their sandwiches, and you could even bake some sweet treats together – fairy cakes or chocolate cornflake cakes are a classic!
Family Days Out…Or In
Now for days out – getting the kids out of the house needn’t cost a fortune. If you’re lucky enough to live by the coast, there’s nothing better than a day out at the beach – remember to pack swimming costumes so that you can go for a paddle in the sea as well as buckets and nets for rock-pool exploring! If the beach is a little far away, check out the National Trust’s website – as well as the historic houses they’re famous for saving and restoring, the Trust also owns and maintains miles of hills, valleys, woodlands and rivers for the public to enjoy. You can bring the bikes (if allowed!) or alternatively set the kids the contest of finding as much wildlife as they can.
Now, as delightful as this year’s heatwave has been, we have to remember that this is still Great Britain and the threat of rain can always loom! It’s important to have back up activities planned for rainy days. Remember that you can always set your treasure hunt indoors, or you could have a board game day, bringing out everyone’s favourites. You could even try for the ultimate parental win and get the house tidy at the same time! Task the kids with de-cluttering their bedrooms, and hand out prizes for every bag they fill with toys, games and clothes which can be donated to a charity shop.
Technology Time Slots
Finally, the most important part of encouraging your children to spend less time in front of screens this summer is not to ban it altogether – by making them forbidden, we all know that the kids will want them even more. Have an allocated amount of time where children can relax with a film or play some games – but we’re sure with days filled with technology-free activities, kids will be fighting to be the first out of the door and in to the fresh air!