Celebrate Creative Play This May with Screen-Free Week!
Get off your device!! (and enjoy some of these non-digital activities instead)
29th April – 5th May 2019 is Screen-Free Week, a time where we’re all encouraged to turn off the telly, put down our devices and disconnect from the digital world. Across these seven days, millions of people – children, families, schools and communities – will pledge to go screen-free, unplug and reconnect with the world around them. An hour or two that was previously dedicated to telly, a tablet, or a computer game can be transformed into time for puzzles, board games, reading, writing, make-believe, art and craft, learning a new skill, gardening and cooking together as a family, sport and exercise, or simply enjoying the natural world around us.
Screen-Free Week is promoted by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, and it began in 1994 as TV Turnoff Week. Twenty-five years later, the digital landscape is very different. It used to be that the only screens in our lives were the television or desktop computer, now there’s always a smartphone, tablet or laptop within reach. This becomes even more of a problem when devices and hours of screen time are utilised as a quick fix to pacify and quieten children. Too much screen time interferes with family relationships, negatively impacts sleep, and causes endless, sometimes dangerous, distraction from the world around us. Why not use Screen-Free Week to explore new activities that promote physical, emotional, social, intellectual and creative development?
Tips for a successful Screen-Free Week include:
- Try to get everyone in your family or household on board for Screen-Free Week.
- Decide what ‘screen free’ means for your family.
- Make plans together for the week.
- Set a calendar of activities, including home time, excursions, and events for the week.
- Reclaim the family meal as a time for talking together and sharing stories.
- Include friends, family, and neighbours in what you are doing, even if it’s for just one day or evening.
- At the end of the week, talk about how you feel, what all of you have accomplished, and which aspects of the week you would like to keep.
So, get rid of screen time for a week and engage in some ‘real time’.
Modern-day parenting can seem a stressful minefield for many, and Screen-Free Week encourages families to simplify things and get back to basics. Play with your children but also allow them time to be bored. Watch what happens when they have nothing to do. Boredom forces kids to be constructive and resourceful. It fosters their curiosity, allows them space for inspiration and lets their imaginations take over. Creative play has many benefits and is an essential part of healthy childhood development: it promotes learning while encouraging kids to explore their physical world, giving them much of what they need to thrive.
Some fun ideas for activities to do with your children instead of screen-based activities include:
- Read a book. Read aloud to someone else. Bedtime stories are a wonderful screen-free activity to enjoy with your kids. Books stimulate young brains, strengthen family bonds, and can be the beginning of a lifelong love of reading.
- Go for a walk.
- Do a jigsaw puzzle.
- Make crafts to give as gifts. Try a new craft.
- Do a crossword puzzle or play Sudoku.
- Bake a cake, bread, or make jam and share it with a neighbour.
- Paint a picture, a mural, or a room.
- Plant a vegie patch or pot up some herbs.
- Visit a zoo, aquarium, museum or library.
- Play cards or a board game.
- Walk the dog. Wash the dog.
- Start writing a diary/journal.
- Play charades.
- Climb a tree.
- Fix something. Learn to change the oil or tyre on a car.
- Plan a picnic or barbecue.
- Watch the night sky though binoculars and identify different constellations. Observe the moon.
- Play a sport. Attend a live sports event.
- Visit a playground.
The organisers of Screen-Free Week encourage us to use this week to reassess the value and purpose of screen-based entertainment in our lives and to establish and maintain year-round screen-free habits.
So turn off your device and go outside and play!
And be sure to check out Hinkler’s wonderful range of colouring books, crafting kits, games and puzzles. There’s so much to keep you busy during Screen-Free Week!
For more information, or to register your event, visit www.screenfree.org