One thing is clear: An incredibly important aspect of a happy, healthy childhood is creative play. It allows children to explore the world around them and enrich their curiosity and imagination. Screen-Free Week, then, owes its origins to a desire for children to return to more creative activities in place of the time they were previously spending watching screens. So, in 1994, TV Turnoff Week was established. Throughout its run, it encouraged millions of children and their families to turn off the television and instead spend time playing outside.
When TV Turnoff Week became Screen-Free Week in 2010, the team behind it continued forward with that same mission in an increasingly technological society. The point of the week isn’t to focus on what you are giving up; it’s about what you get in return. You could trade in an hour of Netflix time for a walk in the park with the family or substitute time painting for an afternoon spent on video games.
Screen-Free Week is a chance to see that an entirely different way of interacting with technology is both possible and positive. The change doesn’t have to be extreme, and it doesn’t have to be all at once; any step is a good step. Here are a few ideas you could try out with the family during this Screen-Free Week:
- Go birdwatching. All you need is a pair of binoculars and a nearby park. This activity is both engaging and calming, and it’s a great way to practice mindfulness.
- Embark on a nature scavenger hunt. Using a prepared checklist, encourage your child to explore and appreciate nature by following clues on your next walk in the woods.
- Start a home garden. Introduce your child to the gardening process by giving them a hands-on experience. It’ll even help them understand and appreciate the food they eat a little more as well!
- Plan a picnic. It’s a classic for a reason. Pack lunches and head to the park where you and the family can enjoy the warm weather and burn off some energy in the fresh air.
If you’re looking for activities for yourself, consider riding your bike somewhere you’ve never been before, hosting a cookout for friends and family, or taking the dog to a dog park for some much-needed exercise. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what you’re doing, as long as you’re doing it with the people you love and with your screens turned off.
Source: “Screen-Free Week,” Fairplay, fairplayforkids.org, accessed April 6, 2023.