Jun 3, 2019

90+ Ideas for Screen Free Summer Fun at Home

{I'm reposting this so it will be the most current post. I started with 50 ideas. Now I'm up to 90+! I've also added links to a few articles for parents at the end about why we need to get our kids outside. Oh, and I posted the directions for Kick-the-Can, Four-Square, and Hop Scotch on the blog!}

It's almost summer time!!! And if you are anything like me, you feel an equal mixture of glee at "No more lunch packing or homework!!" and abject terror at the thought of hearing "I'm BORED" and "I'm STARVING is it breakfast/lunch/dinner time yet?" on repeat all.day.long.

For me, my goal, every summer, is exactly the same. To get my kids to do a little work in the  morning, (Summer Skills books {like the Star Wars ones}, scriptures, practice piano, make bed, unload dishes, etc...) and then to play happily and peacefully all afternoon without vegging in front of the T.V. (Yes I know. I’m a little delusional.)

Yes, we will participate in some camps and will have trips to the library/beach/pool/ice cream parlor--just not every day!! {But if I make a Summer Bucket List and post it on the wall, you’d better believe they are going to bug me for Ice Cream constantly.}

I want my kids to experience something closer to what I experienced as a kid: playing with friends or siblings or even alone (gasp!) for an entire day. 
Preferably outside. 
(I’m sorry for what you go through Arizona. No judgments if your let your kids veg all day. I get it.)

Three years ago I started this list and hung it on the wall, but it had one fatal flaw.
One of the items was...
"Make a Lego stop-motion video."

This was the ONLY item on the list that in any way involved electronics, so naturally, it was the only thing anyone ever wanted to do. Such is the addictive nature of technology. "Mom, can you unlock the iPad so I can make a Lego stop-motion video??" That only worked like the first 23 times, and then I cottoned on.

Obviously, it has been dashed from the list.

In the meantime, as people give me more ideas, I add them.

I recommend copying and pasting this list into a new document and customizing it to fit your kids, your interests, your games, and the play structures you have available!

It might even be helpful to get really specific. “Take a walk” might turn into “Take a walk to Aunt Betty’s house for a cookie” ;) These are kids who have become dependent on screens and tech to entertain them and do their thinking for them. They may need a little help re-awakening their creativity at first.
Hope this helps! Good luck to all of us!!!

Time for SUMMER FUN !

Take a walk
Go for a run
Ride bikes
Ride a scooter up the hill and back down
Go for a nature walk and collect sticks, leaves and cool rocks
Go on a bug hunt with a magnifying glass
Write a letter on a leaf
Keep an Art or Nature journal of your summer
Press summer flowers for an art project later
Make art with pressed flowers
Make a Nature Collage from items collected in your yard
Make a miniature Fairy House or Fairy Garden in a planter or in the corner of the yard (We have one but call it a "Magical Forest" and it has small plastic dragons, castles and knights that come in a tube from Michael's.)
Make a stick sculpture or stick furniture for your Fairy Garden/Magical Forest
Make your name or favorite word out of sticks
Make a daisy chain or flower crown
Make a leaf crown
Make a pet rock
Make mud pies
Make a bug hotel
Put on a Puppet Show
Write a play and act it out with siblings (Jane Austen style)
Do Origami
Make a paper boat that actually floats
Make the best paper airplane ever
Host a paper airplane flying contest
Play Basketball
How many free throws can you make? (100=$2 from Mom)
     Knock out
Jump on the Trampoline
     Dead Man
     Freeze Tag
Practice your flips
Read a book
     In your room
     Outside on a blanket
     In a blanket fort!
Play in the Playroom
     Stuffed animals
Play a board game or card game with a younger sibling
Skip Bo
Exploding Kittens
Rat-a-Tat Cat
Play 9
Play with Play-Doh (outside with permission and you have to clean up after.)
Jump rope (set a new record for consecutive jumps!)
Cut shapes for a picture and glue together Leo Lionni style
Make a collage with pics cut from a magazine
Play Kickball
Play Wall Ball
Play Wiffle Ball
Play Softball or Baseball
Play Badminton
Play Soccer
Play Frisbee or Ultimate Frisbee
Play Croquet
Play Bocce
Play Volleyball
Play Marbles
Play Hide and Seek
Play Sardines
Play Kick The Can
Play Four-Square
Play Red-Rover
Make up and play a new game
Have a Three-Legged or Wheelbarrow race.
Swing in the hammock (or take a nap in the hammock!)
Build with Legos
    Make a Lego village outside
    Make a Lego zip-line
    Make a Lego universe
Build a fort (EVERYTHING needs to be put away after)
Roll down a hill
Climb a tree
Eat breakfast or lunch outside on a blanket
Run through the sprinklers
Have a water gun or water balloon fight
Blow bubbles
Draw pictures with chalk outside
Draw pictures with chalk on the trampoline
Use chalk to make a Hopscotch game
Memorize a scripture and earn $1
Read 10 stories to little sibling and earn $2
Do 10 extra chores to earn Special Time (art/cooking/clay) with Mom
Do a secret service for someone
Write someone an anonymous love note
Draw a picture
Design your dream home
Draw something you see outside
Draw an imaginary creature and write a story about it
Use Crayons to make a texture rubbing.
Paint (with permission)
Paint smooth rocks (with permission)
Make a panorama in a shoe box-but only if you can find your own shoe box. (Do not ask Mom to find you a shoe-box.)
Make a Pinwheel
Write and illustrate a story. Bind with yarn.
Write in your journal
Write to the missionaries
Write to a pen-pal
Open and use one of the many How To {craft/draw/experiment} Books Mom has bought for you!
Make dinner for your family with Mom's approval.
Look for shapes in the clouds
Watch the sunset
Star Gaze
Go to bed and stay in your bed until 7 am tomorrow ;)
Get extra practice on your instrument so you’ll be extra AMAZING
Don’t veg away your summer! Fill it with FUN ACTIVITIES!!!
Have a FABULOUS and FUN DAY!!!

Additional Reading For Parents/Caregivers:

Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation by Jean M. Twenge
"The more time teens spend looking screens, the more likely they are to report symptoms of depression."

Glow Kids: How Screen Addiction Is Hijacking Our Kids-and How to Break the Trance by NY Journal of Books
“[The] first-person shooter game, Call of Duty has been played for 25 billion total hours, which adds up to 2.85 million years—longer than the course of human existence!”

‘“I just want him to be happy” is a low bar. You can do better. Your son can do better. No child is born wanting to be a great scientist, or composer, or teacher, or entrepreneur. They have to learn something of the scope of human possibility beyond what they see in a cartoon video game like Fortnite. In other words: it is your job, as the parent, to educate desire: to instill a longing for something better, more lasting, than video games.”

The average American child is said to spend 4 to 7 minutes a day in unstructured play outdoors, and over 7 hours a day in front of a screen.”

P.S. What did I miss? Do you have any brilliant summer time activities your kids love? Let me know in the comments!!

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