Make memories with your family this summer without a screen. Try these 12 ways to help your family go screen-free this summer!
Have you ever noticed how hard it is to make really great memories when you’re plastered in front of a screen?
Oh, sure … you might see a movie with friends, or binge watch a TV series with your spouse. But lasting, “Remember when we did that!?” memories usually are made when you’re actually doing something with others.
I believe summer’s the perfect time for making those kinds of memories. Without the constraints of a busy schedule and with nice weather, summer is the best season to encourage your family to go screen-free.
Summertime Screen time Rules
Much to my own kids’ disappointment, this year I made lists of summertime screen time rules, to keep them from vegging out and turning into TV zombies over summer vacation.
My rules include reading books, reviewing math facts, practicing the piano, working on craft projects, cleaning their bedrooms, and playing outside before they get to turn on a video or device. And while they grouched about the rules at the beginning of summer, they’ve stopped complaining and have filled their summer days with fun projects. (Hallelujah!)
It’s been a great summer so far – my kids continue to be surprised at how much they’re getting to do each day and they’re enjoying doing fun things at home.
To help your family enjoy the rest of summertime without screens, here are a dozen starting points. The great thing is that there are so many alternatives to these 12 options, you can change up one or two a day for the rest of summer:
12 Ways to Help Your Family Go Screen-Free This Summer
1. Go on a walk.
- You can head out the door after mealtime and walk your neighborhood as your family.
- Drive to a walking or hiking path and explore a nearby park.
- Take a walk in the woods.
- Walk around a (new or familiar) city.
- Stroll along the sandy shore of a beach.
2. Play ball.
- If you’re not too athletic, play bocce ball.
- Shoot hoops or play P-I-G or Around the World with basketball.
- Play a backyard game of Wiffle Ball.
- Play catch.
- Go to a miniature golf course and play 18 holes.
- Head to a nearby driving range and practice your golf swing.
- Play a game of Ping Pong.
- Try a game of Foosball (aka Table Football).
- If you’re not in the mood to play ball, go and watch a ball game.
3. Work on a craft.
- Go to a craft store and find a craft you’d like to work on together. Depending on your skill level, you can pick something easy … or more difficult.
- Paint something together.
- Color together in a coloring book – or sketch your own picture.
- Check out a craft book from the library and follow the directions.
- Enroll in a class at a nearby craft store (or online through Craftsy).
- Color on the pavement with chalk.
4. Dig in the dirt.
- You may have a ton of room to garden – or you might be limited to a windowsill garden. Whatever your living situation, try to grow something together. When you grow vegetables or herbs, you can enjoy the taste of your labor.
- If gardening’s not your cup of tea, try a different tactic – find some sand and create a sand castle, instead.
5. Enjoy the water.
- Go swimming.
- Run through the sprinkler.
- Head to a community splash pad.
- Go fishing.
- Have a squirt gun fight.
- Visit a waterfall, lake, or the ocean.
6. Go on a picnic.
- Try to eat outdoors sometime this summer.
- Have a cookout.
- Eat al fresco at a restaurant.
- Take a picnic to a park. (Even if it’s just carry out pizza.) Play on the playground while you’re there!
- Remember that the more people you have, the merrier it will be – eat with friends, family or neighbors.
7. Work on a puzzle together.
- If you like jigsaw puzzles, work on one as a family.
- If mental puzzles are more to your liking, work on a book of puzzles – or try an old-fashioned wooden or metal brain teasers.
8. Play a game.
- Grab a deck of cards and learn a new card game.
- Have some low-key family fun with dominoes.
- Dig out a board game you haven’t played in a while and have a friendly competition.
9. Help someone else.
- Volunteer with a local organization.
- Help a friend with a big project.
- Find a way to help at your church.
- Help a family member in need.
- Get creative and try to help someone else’s life better – and a little easier.
10. Tackle a big work project around the house.
- You know that big cleaning project you’ve been putting off? Tackle it this summer with your family’s help.
- Do some outdoor work, and find ways for your children to help.
- Try some home improvement project and let your kids weigh in with their decisions (and their own part in the project).
- Find a book you’d like to read as a family and have a family read-aloud.
- If you don’t think you have time (or the desire) to sit down and read together as a family, try an audio book the next time you hop in the car.
12. Create something in the kitchen.
- Regardless of your children’s ages, have them help you in the kitchen. Or at least try to teach them something in the kitchen. (You can even hold a baby and explain the steps of what you’re doing. It may not seem like they’re learning anything, but you’re exposing them to a bigger vocabulary.)
- Find a brand new recipe and create it as a family – starting with creating a grocery list, going grocery shopping, making everything, eating it, and cleaning up. Don’t be shy in including your children in every step.
3 Things to Do After Your Summer Fun’s Done
As much fun as my children have had this summer, they know our family’s 3 rules for what to do after our summer fun:
1. Clean up.
I don’t expect a spic and span home. But I do expect my kids to clean up after themselves – it makes caring for a haven so much easier. When we’re done with a project, it’s time to put everything away.
2. Take off your shoes.
When we’re outside playing together, it can be easy to get dirty. To keep a bunch of dirt and mud from being tracked all over our home, all of our shoes come off when we come in the door. It’s become an automatic habit for everyone in our family.
3. Wash your hands.
In all reality, most of these fun projects involve getting our hands dirty. Much like our dirty shoes, we try to keep clean by washing our hands whenever we finish and come back in the house.
By setting a routine once the fun’s over, I’m not left stressing out about clean-up. As a family, we go about the rest of our day and I’m satisfied knowing that we’ve had a good time together. And I’m thrilled my home isn’t a wreck in the process.
When planning some fun family activities that don’t include a screen (and by setting simple guidelines after your fun is done), you can help create all kinds of memories with your family – and go screen-free this summer.
If you’d like for your family to go screen-free this summer, what would you like to try?
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