Did you know that the week of April 30-May 6 is Screen-Free Week? Yep, it's time to unplug (except for work and studying), and give our tired brains a rest.
As wonderful as most technology is these days, the distraction screens cause in us and, especially, in our kids, needs to be shelved every once in a while. For this one glorious week, all families, schools, and communities are encouraged to unplug and remember what is was like before we carried mini-computers in our pockets.
As a society, it almost feels as if without our devices, we would be totally lost. According to Time magazine, adults check their phones an average of 47 times a day...for kids ages 12 and over, it's almost double. It's time to unplug, time to explore, time to reconnect with each other.
You are not alone if the panic of trying to find a family activity that kids will enjoy doing without a screen sends you into a tailspin. Here are a few suggestions for all ages to get out and play, brought to you by Charleston's own Magic Makers!
Building Sets - Creating a structure out of a pile of bricks or shapes is satisfying for any age. The sense of accomplishment and self-confidence kids feel after completing this sort of task is immeasurable. There is a certain excitement when a sealed box of Magna-Tiles, LEGOS, or just plain wooden blocks, is opened. That proverbial light bulb in all of us illuminates those growing brains, and creativity is unleashed. With no screens, imagination kicks in. Entire families have the opportunity to ask themselves, "What will we build today?"
Board Games - It's pure pleasure watching little ones learn good sportsmanship, strategy, and team building through games. But at some point, kids start losing interest. Out come those pesky devices, again. Don't they know the noise of a cat video (no matter how cute) can never compare to the laughter and groans of a family sitting together to play a board game? A weekly family game night, absolutely no screens allowed, is the perfect way to reconnect with our kids. Remember how much fun charades was when we were growing up? It's time to force our offspring to make fools of themselves in front of family, just like we did. Maybe they'll learn a little something, too.
Go Outside - Those of us lucky enough to live in the lowcountry know the magic of Magnolia trees, biting bugs, sandy beaches, and so much more! When the natural view is as breathtaking as it is in South Carolina, screens can just be downright ugly. Leave the devices in the car, go outside, and play. It sounds so simple, but over-scheduled families can have a tough time enjoying nature. Make outdoor time family time. As Mary Poppins once said, "Let's go fly a kite!" Pick your fav local beach or county park, grab the kids and go! Having a beach as a backyard opens up so many opportunities for families to spend time together, sans technology. Take advantage of it, and enjoy that gorgeous coastline!
All of us at Wonder Works are tickled pink about Screen Free Week! Good old fashioned play time was the cornerstone of Christine Osborne's mission when she and Dan started this company, and it remains our guiding principle to this day. When Wonder Works was founded in 1990, the world wide web was in its infancy and none of us could have dreamed of the major role it would play in our families' lives. Screen Free Week is a great opportunity to show our kids what life was like when we were little, when we had to be coaxed inside and away from swings, sprinklers, and bike rides. Let's take this week to appreciate our families and friends, without searching for an outlet or a charger.