5 Screen-free Activities To Do With Your Family.by Claire Chircop
The digital world isn’t going anywhere, in fact it’s only going to get more and more advanced. I was speaking to my husband recently about how much has changed from us being children to now raising our two daughters - The rise in technology being the biggest difference!
We discussed the pros and cons to the generational increase in screen time. We’re both actually all for it. There are so many benefits to technology and screen time for kids these days (it’s not just plonking your kid in front of the telly fyi). Our eldest daughter has learnt so much from technology. Much more than we could have intentionally taught her, I'm sure.
With that being said, I understand the amount of screen time a child gets can be a huge concern for parents. Because of this I thought I’d note down a few screen-free activities you can do with your family.
Starting with my newest hobby, a great screen free activity for kids is getting them out in the garden. Encouraging your family to spend time outdoors is great for both their physical and mental wellbeing. Mother nature really is the best cure for a lot of problems - I'm sure of it.
With this in mind, you could ask your family to give you a helping hand next time you’re out in the garden. My eldest loves watering the plants with the hose (she prefers soaking us with the water, mind). She’s meticulous now in where she goes ensuring each and every plant gets enough to drink. It's lovely to see her mind working as she waters each and every plant.
We’re lucky enough to have a greenhouse at the bottom of our garden so I’ve been getting her to help me plant some seeds and watch them grow. Her favourite is our pumpkins. We planted four pumpkin seeds recently, mammy, daddy, Amelia & Evie pumpkin. They’re all starting to shoot now, apart from mammy pumpkin, she’s a little slower than the rest. But that only of course makes it funnier for my daughter.
Crafting is always going to be a winner in our house! It can be messy, but it's great for so many different reasons.
Getting your child to express themselves in art form can be hugely beneficial for them. Not only does it allow them to express themselves, but it also helps develop fine motor skills. It’s nice to let them loose with crafts. Life can be so regimented for children, it’s nice for them to have an activity where no rules apply.
Board games are a great way to bring the family together without the use of a screen. You’re spending quality time together, but you’re also doing so much more for them. Board games can help develop fine motor skills, numeracy even their vocabulary.
Obviously different board games are appropriate for different age ranges so it’s useful to pick something which suits your family. This eradicates any frustration your child may feel if they’re unable to complete or understand a game aimed at an older age range.
We like snakes and ladders in our house. It’s a simple concept and one our three year old understands completely now. I really believe her numeracy skills have improved because of it. As an adult it comes as second nature, but for my three year old she’s putting her numeracy skills to the test by rolling the dice and counting the spaces. She's also beginning to understand the numbers she doesn't want to roll, which is equally as clever as it is hilarious.
Jigsaws are another really great one for getting the cogs ticking too. I love seeing my daughter’s mind trying to work out which jigsaw piece goes where.
Baking is a great screen free activity to do with your family, primarily because of the tasty treat at the end of it. But it’s also a really great activity to work together as a family.
It teaches children about measurements, the science of using different ingredients as well as the tidy up factor at the end. Baking is also really great for a variety of ages as they can get their hands stuck in and get involved. We’ve baked with our eldest from quite a young age, she now refers to it as ‘making and baking’ and loves it.
Reading doesn’t just have to be at bed time. This is something I’ll be honest took me quite a while to figure out. It’s only when my daughter wanted to read during the day that I realised reading is a great activity to do at any time with your family. You can snuggle up at any time with your little ones and dive into a new book.
Reading holds so many different benefits for your children. I remember when my first daughter had her two year check up the health visitor asked if we read to her often, to which we said yes. She said she was able to tell as my daughter's speech was particularly advanced and was able to hold a conversation. Reading also helps with maintaining their attention span (although I can’t be sure in our case), with listening skills as well as helping them become more imaginative.
Although I think the digital world has helped my daughter to advance, there’s no denying the benefits screen free activities have. Like with anything in life I think it’s really great to have a balance between to two. What are your favourite screen free activities to do with your family?