Does your child have a favorite character on TV?
Are they obsessed with a new video or computer game?
Do you find it a challenge to keep screens off during the summer?
Summer is a time to relax and have fun with kids and at times we turn to technology during for entertainment and it’s convenience.
The challenge we have as parents is to find a healthy balance. Here are my suggestions for how to balance the fun of summer screen time with activities to encourage them to explore and have fun this summer with activities that build creativity.
Limiting your child’s screen time can be a challenge, especially when we are surrounded by it more and more. Research shows that too much screen time can lead to obesity, irregular sleep patterns, violence, low academic performance and behavior issues.
Screen Free Activity Ideas for Kids
Here are 6 ways to encourage your child to unplug from Screens and plug in to summer fun.
There are so many ways to extend your child’s interest in specific characters from their screen time. We’re featuring a few of our favorites that will keep your children plugged into to academics too to avoid the summer slide we all fear.
Let’s explore 6 ways to encourage your child to explore off-screen this summer! Using these ways will still allow them to express an interest in a few of their favorite characters. After all almost all shows, movies, and even games came from a story in the beginning! Here are a few tips on how you can recreate those at home with off screen activities and build creativity!
#1: Create Moments for Dramatic Play
Kids naturally want to act out the characters they are watching on TV or in a movie. Grab a few dress-up clothes and encourage them to create a new storyline.
Having a dress-up box in close proximity this summer can help stir up their imagination. If they are older have them even help you come up with designs for costumes. Have a long mirror close by so they can check out their appearances and build a little self-awareness in the process.
#2: Plan Visits to the Library
You can locate books on just about any topic at the library. See if your child’s favorite screen character is available in a book.
Reading during the summer is one of the most important things your child can do.; Sneaking it in with a character they love just might do the trick for more time reading. If you checkout your local library events page, sometimes they even have character visits, authors visits and series get together during the summer.
A library can be one of the best resources for families.
#3 Go on a Character Adventures
Does your child’s favorite character have a special place they enjoy visiting?
Take your child’s interest in a particular storyline a little further by exploring the locations they may have discovered in the TV series or movie. They open the opportunity to explore so many fun spots together and away from your screen. Go check out your local zoo, aquarium, beach, park, lake, river, museum, or trail.
See how many Outdoor adventures you can accomplish this summer!
#4: Create a One of a Kind Recipes
Creating special dishes for kids can be a lot of fun, especially when they are the chef and you are their assistant.
Pick a theme for your recipe or even a special dish from a show. Just because we’re screen-free doesn’t mean we can’t look to our favorite characters for inspiration. It just might be the way you get your kids to eat all their veggies.
Here are a few Recipe Ideas for Cooking with Kids
#5: Create Story Prompts Based on their Favorites
We know our kids are drawn towards certain characters on TV and movies but it doesn’t mean we’re stuck with the storyline. Encourage them to create their own plot lines.
Have empty journals or premade books sitting around this summer and encourage your child to create their own stories about favorite characters. It’s also a great way for them to really identify characters and their strengths and weaknesses. And to discuss some of the issues that are not addressed on TV.
Are you wondering what their writing should look like? Here are a few writing resources.
#6: Provide Printables for Educational Support
One of the best things about the interest in the ability to find printable activities for your child that are thematic based on their favorite characters. One quick peek in a search and you’ll discover thematic activities that relate to their favorites.
It’s so much fun to sneak in a little summer learning by using favorite characters with some site word fun, math facts or cross word puzzles. Plus they are great for traveling too.
Some Final Thoughts about Limited Screen Time this Summer
Finding that perfect balance of screen time and play time can be a challenge as a parent. One of the best things about the suggested activities are that they are ways to get to know your child more by discussing the types of programs and games they enjoy. It’s also a way to keep tabs on their interest and how appropriate they are for their age levels.
If you have an older child, consider having them sign a media agreement for their safety.
One suggestion to help have a little more control of what your kids are viewing this summer is to have the shows recorded on DVR. It helps to avoid just sitting around watching what’s next.
Plus as the parent you have a bit more control over what’s recorded.
Screen Free Activities are so important to your child’s development. You can create a few printable Screen Free Activities Cards to get you started with tons of activities that get your child moving and having fun all summer long!
What Do You Think?
What struggles do you have with limiting your child’s screen time? What character would your child use to inspire their activities? Which activity will you try first? Leave a comment below in response.