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Unplug & Play — 75 Family Activities for National Screen-Free Week

2017-04-28 by Zina Harrington

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Join us for National Screen-Free Week. Plan to unplug and play. Spend free time daydreaming, creating, exploring and connecting with your family and friends. This compilation of Screen-Free Kids’ Activities is brought to you by our Blog Ambassador, Zina Harrington of Becoming UnBusy.

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The magic of childhood is a collection of precious Moments of Wonder. These special “everyday moments” often happen when kids are given the opportunity to — be bored. Unstructured, screen-free time allows children to explore the outer reaches of their imaginations.

Many parents are concerned about screen-time and rightfully so. Research continues to show that screen time gets in the way of activities known to be good for young children, like playing creatively and interacting with caring grownups.1

So what’s the solution to this high influx of screen time?

We need to change the conversations we’re having with our children. Instead of restricting screen time, we need to teach our children balance in a world where technology is abundant. One way to do this is to help them embrace Moments of Wonder and remind them how lovely life can be unplugged.

In other words…

Disconnect to reconnect.

Nowadays, technology is an integrated part of our kids’ everyday — and it will continue to be throughout their lives. Perhaps surprisingly, our family doesn’t limit screen time; however, we are on a mission to teach our children self-moderation and balance.

Every year it surprises me how challenging National Screen-Free Week seems on Monday and how rewarding it feels by the end of the night Sunday. Participating in Screen-Free Week will help your family (parents and children alike!) truly gauge how often you default to a screen. We hope this list of 75 screen-free activities will inspire you to participate too!

75 Screen-Free Activities Unplug and play *Loving this list of family-friendly ideas. A great parent resource for summer.

75 Family Activities for National Screen-Free Week

1. Teach your child some classic jump rope songs

2. Give your house a little curb appeal

3. Plant a sunflower kids’ fort

4. Go to the farmer’s market with this free printable

75 Screen-Free Activities: Take your child to the farmer's market with this free printable. *Loving this list of family-friendly ideas. A great parent resource for summer.

5. Play zoo with stuffed animals and laundry baskets

6. Host a family game night

7. Schedule a one-on-one date with your kiddo

8. Create bubble art outside

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9. Build the biggest wooden train route EVER

10. Fly a kite

11. Hire your tiny contractors to build a block tunnel

75 Screen-Free Activities: Build a block tunnel *Loving this list of family-friendly ideas. A great parent resource for summer.

12. Go frog (or toad) catching — check out this book at the library

13. Blow a dandelion

14. Play hopscotch — Use sidewalk chalk or a Hop & Count Hopscotch Rug inside

15. Start a family garden and make these cute DIY plant markers

75 Screen-Free Activities Plant a garden and make these colorful DIY markers with the kids *Loving this list of family-friendly ideas. A great parent resource for summer.

16. Create a Q-tip painting

17. Collect pinecones

18. Use a children’s broom as a giant paint brush

19. Bake together — in your or your little one’s kitchen

75 Screen-Free Activities *Loving this list of family-friendly ideas. A great parent resource for summer.

20. Make mud pies

21. Play four square

22. Build paper airplanes

23. Paint patriotic spinners

75 Screen-Free Activities Patriotic Wind Spinners *Loving this list of family-friendly ideas. A great parent resource for summer.

24. Create stained glass solar lights for the yard

25. Play classics — Red Light, Green Light or Mother May I?

26. Go indoor family camping and check out this book list

75 Screen-Free Activities *Loving this list of family-friendly ideas. A great parent resource for summer.

27. Play dress-up

28. Chase butterflies

29. Make a homemade pizza together (felt or real!)

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30. Create a heart keepsake gift

31. Go on a color walk

32. Blow bubbles

75 Screen-Free Activities: Classic bubble chasing *Loving this list of family-friendly ideas. A great parent resource for summer.

33. Learn to make spiral friendship bracelets

34. Go for a PJ walk with flashlights

35. Make nature suncatchers

36. Plan a picnic

37. Set up a community art easel in your yard

38. Take a bike ride

39. Learn to weave on a loom

40. “Bake” cookies and learn basic math

75 Screen-Free Activities *Loving this list of family-friendly ideas. A great parent resource for summer.

41. Look for cloud shapes

42. Plant a honeybee garden

43. Roll down a hill

44. Start a family mailbox

75 Screen-Free Activities *Loving this list of family-friendly ideas. A great parent resource for summer.

45. Host a lemonade stand

46. Go on a family hike

47. Play in the sand — at your house, the beach or the park

48. Bake Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola Bars together

75 Screen-Free Activities Make homemade granola bars *Loving this list of family-friendly ideas. A great parent resource for summer.

49. Host a family music concert

50. Dance in the rain — with or without an umbrella

51. Perform a puppet show together

52. Create sculptures and play with modeling clay

53. Plant a tree

54. Chase bubbles with the dog

75 Screen-Free Activities: Classic bubble chasing *Loving this list of family-friendly ideas. A great parent resource for summer.

55. Start a rock collection

56. Make watermelon spinners

57. Create a sun catcher terrarium

58. Play toddler baseball with the Trixie Bat & Ball Set

75 Screen-Free Activities: Play toddler baseball *Loving this list of family-friendly ideas. A great parent resource for summer.

59. Learn about three local birds that visit your yard

60. Build a fort with blankets or Jumbo Cardboard Blocks

61. Put together a puzzle

62. Play this DIY flying disc game

63. Host a magic show

64. Play Suspend

75 Screen-Free Activities *Loving this list of family-friendly ideas. A great parent resource for summer.

65. Twirl in the grass

66. Create an Adventure Flip-Flap Book

67. Watch the sunset together

68. Do some toy decluttering or set-up a toy rotation

75 Screen-Free Activities *Loving this list of family-friendly ideas. A great parent resource for summer.

69. Take a nature walk with alphabet rocks

70. Make Chocolate Covered Cherry Granola Parfait for breakfast

71. Make a bean pole teepee

72. Play a classic game of hangman

73. Become tree detectives

74. Jump in puddles

75. Stay up late and watch the stars

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#TakeBackChildhood

There was a time not so long ago when childhood offered the space and freedom for children to explore their world. To be curious. To be creative. To be bold. To be bored. To just . . . be. Today, our overscheduled and overstimulated children are using their imaginations less than ever. It’s a crisis in the making. And it’s why Melissa & Doug is committed to making products that inspire open-ended thinking and encourage kids to see new possibilities. It’s part of our bigger vision to Take Back Childhood. Because by giving children a true childhood, we give them a path to realizing their full potential! Learn more about how you can help Take Back Childhood.

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1. Healthy Kids in a Digital World: Screen-Time Facts, compiled by Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood: http://www.commercialfreechildhood.org/unplug-preschool-citations

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Zina Harrington

Zina is the author of Let’s Lasso the Moon and Becoming UnBusy, where she inspires parents and children to interact creatively and enjoy the beauty of everyday moments. Facebook | Pinterest | Blog | Instagram

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