The ubiquity and convenience of digital devices result in children spending too much being sedentary. The World Health Organization (WHO), in coordination with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), recommends no screen time for kids until 18 to 24 months, except for occasional video chatting. They further advise that children ages two to five years old should have an hour or less of screen time per day, and with good reason!
Hot Ground Gym sure excessive screen time can lead to behavioral problems, learning issues, obesity, sleep deprivation, and violence. Too much screen time reduces real-world stimulation and mastery over the environment. In a nutshell: Screens inhibit a child’s development because they narrow their focus of interest and eliminate other means of exploration and learning.
When kids spend most of their time on iPads, smartphones, or watching television, it becomes more challenging to get them engaged in non-electronic activities. Playing with toys or having fun outdoors, as well as developing social skills by interacting face-to-face with other children, tend to feel less exciting.
Moreover, a recent survey found that 50% of teenagers admit to being addicted to their mobile devices. Their brains are hardwired to thrive on instant gratification and quick dopamine hits, which does little to develop the grit and resilience they need to thrive in life over the long term.
Most parents want to know how to limit screen time for kids without coming across as old-fashioned and boring, especially during spring breaks when children don’t have school to keep them occupied.
As always, the trick is to lead by example, set clear boundaries, and encourage physical and educational activities that don’t require screens. Like they always say, everything is in moderation!
There are loads of things to do without screens; below is our suggested list of screen-free activities to ensure your kids reach their full potential.
10 Screen-Free Activities for Kids at Spring Breaks
#1. Send Kids to a Summer Break Camp
Why not take a break from parenting and keep your kids occupied at the same time? Our Summer Break Camps at Hot Ground Gym are jam-packed with physical exercises and team-building activities, so kids can have “fun in the sun.” We offer half and full-day programs with zero screen time. Rest assured, your kids will be super busy socializing, building confidence, and getting fit.
Hot Ground Gym’s summer break activities help children become more independent as they explore the world and learn more about themselves and others. Raising an independent child means allowing them to explore in a safe environment where they can implement personal boundaries and exercise responsibility.
#2. Explore Your Town on a Family Bike Ride
Cycling is healthy for the whole family. It provides a screen-free time that improves cardiovascular functioning, as well as fine and gross motor skills. Bike riding is an excellent exercise to keep kids busy and active while getting to know their neighbors. In fact, cycling can burn up to 600 calories per hour!
Disconnecting from work stress and school pressure, as well as screens, for just a couple of hours can make a world of difference to mental health. The regular, uniform movement of cycling has a relaxing effect on the brain, stabilizing physical and mental function, which promotes feelings of calm and wellbeing.
#3. Suggest Kids Participate in an Obstacle Course
Obstacle courses help children solve problems as they learn how to maneuver up, over, or through physical challenges. They’re a great way for kids to get a full-body workout that makes them stronger and improves their sense of balance. These skills also transfer effectively to other sports like soccer and gymnastics.
If you’re looking for an obstacle course in Chicago for your kids, then you should give Hot Ground Gym’s weekly classes a try. Our Junior Boots™ classes are thoughtfully designed to keep kids engaged and challenged. Each class is centered around physical, mental, and character-building to ensure holistic physical and mental development.
#4. Plant Seeds in a Flowerpot
If you’re looking for activities to do with kids, most kids love planting seeds and watching them grow while learning about math, science, and nature. Planting seeds isn’t limited to the indoors. Allocating a small patch of space in your garden for kids to grow flowers or vegetables can also bring many hours of outdoor delight.
Sunflowers, radishes, lettuce, and bush beans are easy to plant directly in the garden and more rewarding because they grow rapidly. Older kids who have developed more patience might graduate to growing carrots, potatoes, and strawberries, while younger kids can start with germinating beans between wet cotton wool.
#5. Make a Bird Feeder (and Go Bird Watching)
There are so many ways to create DIY bird feeders with your kids. When it comes to things for kids to make, older children will enjoy building elaborate platforms or tube feeders, while younger ones can use pine cones, toilet paper rolls, and materials around the home. Besides problem-solving, bird feeders can also encourage increased respect for nature and teach kids about the food cycle and ecosystem.
You can extend this practice to include regular hiking and birdwatching. Through birdwatching, kids improve concentration, observation, and reasoning. It also helps them build an intimate connection with nature, encouraging them to be more aware of how human activity affects the natural environment.
#6. Create a Time Capsule
Other screen activities for kids include creating a special time capsule. Get the kids to pick out a few items like pictures of their current age and trinkets to put in a special box. How you choose to decorate the box and what it’s made from is entirely up to you.
Along with a few items, they should write an about me page and put everything in the box, which you can tape up and either bury in the yard or put in the attic to be opened on a particular date in the future. Time capsules are one of those things to make with kids that create happy and fun memories when the entire family participates.
#7. Clean Out Your Closets
This kills two birds with one stone. Cleaning out the closet keeps kids busy and their cupboards tidy! If your kids hate cleaning, you can always gamify the process by offering incentives, like letting them watch TV or playing on their tablets once they’re done. Any old clothes can be sold to a charity shop, affording them extra pocket money, which also serves as an important lesson or introduction to money management.
#8. Go Fishing
While fishing is somewhat of a solitary activity, you can turn it into a day trip for the whole family. Of course, it’s thrilling for kids when they catch a fish, but even if they don’t, they still learn important skills like patience and perseverance.
Fishing also involves a great deal of fine motor planning as kids have to decide how to cast when to let go, and when to reel in. Each movement must be carefully coordinated to ensure the line is cast out far enough to reel back in.
#9. Build a Wormery
Creating a wormery with your kids is a great educational hands-on project that teaches them about composting, recycling, and taking care of the environment. Of course, limiting screen time for kids is much easier when you provide them with activities that pique their curiosity.
Plus, you don’t need fancy equipment. You can make a simple wormery with a large 1L plastic bottle or jar, soil, and worms. Introducing a worm farm is a valuable active learning experience and offers an opportunity for kids to explore different levels of sustainability in a visible, interactive way.
#10. Go Stargazing
Stargazing is an awesome thing to introduce if you’re looking for screen-free activities during the evening. The night sky offers educational activities, even without a telescope. You can print out a kid’s stargazing map and get them to identify various constellations.
Gazing at the stars will naturally lead to questions about the planets, galaxies, and the universe, providing a great opportunity to bond with your children and teach them about science mythology, perhaps even encouraging their learning. Additionally, winding down away from artificial light can also lead to better sleep.
From reading to arts and crafts to the activities for teens and kids listed here, there is no excuse for kids to sit in front of a screen all day. Coming up with no-screen activities just takes a little effort and thought. However, at Hot Ground Gym, we thoroughly understand it’s sometimes easier to enlist your kids in a fun extracurricular activity that enhances their wellbeing and helps with parenting. Trust us; we offer loads of fun things to do without screens. Contact us to find out more!