Mobiles, computers, TVs and even tablets – technology has filtered into almost every part of our life and, with the effects it can have on our eyes and mental health becoming more known, it’s never been more important to enjoy some time away from it. The 3rd-9th May marks Screen-Free Week – an annual event that encourages families and individuals to rediscover life away from screens. With that in mind, we reveal our favourite activities and fun ideas that guarantee a good time and reduced screen time.
1. Read a book
Losing your head in a good book is not only a great way to spend a few hours but has proven benefits for creativity and your mind. Even better, it’s a great way to spend some quiet time with the kids by getting them to read out loud to you. You may even find reading challenges at the local library or online.
2. Put on a puppet show
We all loved Punch and Judy when we were kids so why not turn your living room into a theatre for a fun activity? If you fancy getting really creative then why not make your own puppets beforehand? All you need is a few spare socks, some accessories to bring them to life and award-winning play ideas for a script!
3. Host an obstacle course
If the sun’s shining, get the kids outside and set up a challenging course using hula hoops, chairs and maybe even a rope you’ve got lying around. Don’t worry if it’s raining as you can bring the fun inside and get creative with cushions, the stairs and an army crawl under the duvet. Why not create a real-life race track and race each other around the living room too?
4. Start a collection
Perhaps your child is interested in collectables or maybe their favourite show or sport has collectable cards. Either way, a collection is a great way to get them interested in something other than the TV. They could use their pocket money to purchase items or as a reward for doing chores around the house, you could treat them to something new
5. Play a board game
This one is great for kids of all ages, and parents! What’s more, you can choose from family favourites like Scrabble and Monopoly as well as educational games or even card games. Just be careful it doesn’t turn into a family war though.
6. Enjoy wildlife bingo
Getting outdoors is great for your mind, body and soul but it can sometimes be hard to keep younger and older kids entertained. That’s where wildlife bingo comes in handy. Simply create a list of things to keep a look out for and strike them off as you go. A pitstop for ice cream should go down well too!
7. Get creative
From friendship bracelets to painted rocks, there’s a whole host of things that you can make, create and build with the kids. It doesn’t even need to break the bank and can be used as a keepsake for years down the line.
8. Cook a meal
Getting your kids in the kitchen is a great way to build their interest in food, and is useful if they’re picky eaters as they’re more likely to want to eat something that they’ve chosen. You can also make it fun by creating faces out of salad and homemade ice lollies and popsicle sticks always go down a treat too.
9. Sell your old items
Toys, clothes, books, even DVDs – all of these can be sold at car boot sales and it’s an easy way for your kids to make some extra pocket money. Alternatively, you could clean out their rooms together and give anything you don’t want away to charity.
10. Put on a show
Kids can be imaginative at the best of times so why not give them free rein and put on a theatrical show? Give everyone specific roles – maybe even the resident stuffed animals and teddy bears could make an audience. Then, when it’s time to step on to stage, set the video to record and you can watch everything back after.
11. Try a family puzzle
Reserve one end of your dining table for a puzzle and get everyone together to try and complete it in the fastest time possible. One person could be tasked with finding corner bits, another could be in charge of looking for colours. One thing’s for sure, it’s a great way to get the whole family working together.
12. Write letters
Grandparents and family across the world are sure to love a handwritten letter and picture. Plus, all you need is a piece of paper and some colouring pencils. You can even get free printable cards and photos online if you’re stuck for ideas.
13. Make potions
The truth is, kids like to get messy – whether it’s mud pies in the garden or slime. But did you know that you can make potions from store cupboard ingredients? Think flour, jam, starch and a little water and you’ve got a messy mix that will keep them entertained for hours.
14. Create candles
Got any old candles lying around? Perhaps you have a box of old crayons somewhere in the house? Simply melt them down, pour into a jar and add a wick – and you’ve got your very own candle.
15. Be a florist
Another great way to get the whole family outside is by going foraging. Look for flowers, branches and even foliage and bring them back home to turn into bunches of flowers. You could even drop them off at a local family member’s house or showcase them around your own.
16. Host afternoon tea
Why go for afternoon tea outside when you can host it inside? Get everyone involved to bake scones and cakes, one person can be in charge of laying the table and don’t forget to cut the sandwiches nice and small. You could even have it outside if the sunshine makes an appearance.
17. Grow an indoor garden
Invest in some pots, get the kids to choose their seeds and get ready to create an indoor garden. Don’t forget to get plant markers and paint so that you can personalise your pots. Cress is a great one to grow, and any food can be eaten together in a few months’ time.
18. Draw each other
Family portraits are a great way to unleash your creativity and you could even host a competition as to who’s the best artist. If you’re looking for more once you finish drawing each other, why not use your skills to create paper dolls? Or even, paper dolls that look like each other.
19. Make up a dance routine
Not only is this a guaranteed laugh but it’s a super-easy way to get your kids moving – which is good for them at the same time. Pop on some music, dress up as your favourite singer and be prepared to shimmy and shake for an hour or two! You could teach each other your routine afterwards and put on a performance.
20. Learn a new language
Head to the local bookshop and pick up a foreign dictionary and some books to help you to learn languages. It’s not about becoming fluent but knowing a few phrases here and there is good fun – and you never know when it might come in useful.
21. Camp out
Pitch up the tent in your garden or build an indoor den. Either way, sleepovers are always fun. Just be sure to have a few midnight snacks, a torch to tell scary stories and some cards for family-friendly games.