5 Ideas to Get Your Kids Off Screens

play outside omaha momAs we transition into spring, I’m committed to getting my kids outside– creating and moving. Screens plague me. While I love what they can provide for my children, I also know that memorable fun is usually created by being completely away from a screen.

Here are 5 ways to get your child away from the screen.

Sidewalk Chalk

Sidewalk chalk works magic with my kids. If sidewalk chalk is involved, my children will complete math problems, write spelling words, and determine whether or not a word is a noun, verb, or adjective (Yes, I’m a word nerd and my kids will be too) without complaint. The art they create with sidewalk chalk is excellent because mother nature cleans up the mess, and hopscotch is a childhood staple brought to us by the magic chalk. This simple fun keeps us busy and screen-less for hours.

Nature Hike

We have some open space around our house and neighborhood, so sometimes, I like to give my daughter a bucket so she can collect things she finds. If I want to add a challenge, I give her a list. The list includes but is not limited to: a white rock, a stick with four pokies, a perfectly intact leaf, a pine cone, a surprise you never expected, etc. My daughter and her friend walk around our neighborhood or the playground for hours, and they love to review the treasures they find at the end.

Lego Wars

We are an intense Lego family. We have been known to take a bucket of Legos, divide them in three piles, one for each child, and set the timer for 30 minutes (or longer if they are playing quietly…shhhhh.) Each child gets that time to create something, and then mom or dad judges when the time is up. We have awards for most creative, sturdiest, most aesthetically pleasing, etc. These are a game-changer for a rainy day or quiet time.

Scavenger Hunt

As stated previously, I am a self-proclaimed word-nerd, so I love to make up rhymes and send my kids all over the house looking for clues. As my kids are busy reading or play, I write rhymes and hide them in special spots. Rhyming is a good time, but you don’t have to rhyme to make this fun for kids. They’ll just love the mystery in it all. It’s also exciting to wake your little ones with the scavenger hunt (If they would ever sleep in amiright?). An example would be: “Good morning Amelia, it’s time for some fun, yippee! Your first clue is hiding by the item that helps you see.” Her first clue would be right by her glasses. The next clue could take her to her breakfast, the next to brush her teeth, etc. Parents can have all kinds of fun with this, and the kids will as well.

Obstacle Course

When I’m doing yard work in the backyard, it is really entertaining to have the kids create an obstacle course for themselves. Ours have been known to include the swing set, a chair, a tree, an obstacle to jump over, and the hose. One child determines where we start and end, and the other determines how many jumping jacks we do at point A and how many squats we do at point B. We time each other and try to beat our own time the second go-round. It gets them strategizing, creating, and out of breath!

What do you do to get your kids to put down the screen and have some fun? We’d love to know!

Tessa A. Adams is a graduate from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a Masters in reading. She is a language arts and creative writing teacher and is the co-author of the blog www.familyfootnote.com. She has three children and when she is not mothering or teaching, she is writing. Her work can be found in Fine Lines Literary Journal, Huff Post Parents, Empty Sink Publishing, Route 7 Review, Sammiches and Psychmeds, THAT Literary Review, The Sunlight Press, xoJane, and Parent.co.