7 Summer Activities More Fun Than Screen Time

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Words by
Jana Dalby

Published on


Ah, summertime! Is there a better season for life outside the screen?

If you’re struggling to regain control over your kids’ screen time, there’s no better time to do it than summer. The days are long, the weather is warm, and outdoor activities await. 

Here are some ideas for helping your children connect to life outside the screen this summer: 

1. Shoot Some Hoops

What better way to enjoy some friendly competition than a game of basketball? In the morning or afternoon, lace up your sneakers as a family and head to your nearest court.

If you have an even number of family members, make it a three-on-three or two-on-two match. If not, there are all sorts of variations you can enjoy. Remember Horse, in which players challenge each others’ shooting skills? Players can shoot from wherever on the court they want; if they make a goal, the next person is forced to take the same shot.

Just remember to bring water and a towel. After even a half hour of play, you’ll need it. 

2. Volunteer

Summertime is the perfect time to do good for your community. Find a cause your kid cares about, and spend an afternoon giving back.

An easy, rewarding one that provides plenty of exercise? Litter pickup. All you need is a trash bag, some gloves, and a can-do attitude. Picking up litter is also a great way to teach kids about selflessness: It doesn’t matter that you didn’t throw out the trash; what matters is that it’s your community and should be disposed of properly.

Another popular volunteer activity with kids is petcare. Contact your local Humane Society: Do they need someone to take the dogs for a walk? Could the kennels use a good scrub? Ask, and you’ll be put to work. 

3. Go for a Swim

If there’s one place your kid can’t use his or her wireless phone, it’s in the pool. Why not spend a hot summer day in the water?

Public pools may not be an option during the coronavirus pandemic, but you may be lucky enough to have a swimming spot near you. If you have a backyard pool, take advantage of it. If not, look for a local lake where swimming is allowed.

Just make sure to bring sunscreen. In the summer, even 15 minutes in the sun can give you a good burn. 

4. Orchestrate a Lego Tournament

This one may be just as fun for parents as it is for kids. Let’s be real, who doesn’t love to play with Legos?

This summer, host a family lego tournament. You can choose to work in teams or solo, under a certain theme, or completely freestyle! The point is to have fun making fantastic creations. 

Outside of the new memories for children, and perhaps nostalgia for parents, Legos are secret learning enrichment tools. They’re perfect for helping children build fine motor skills and spatial awareness. Playing with Legos also promotes creativity and emphasizes the importance of teamwork. 

5. Design a Unique Dinner Menu

Allow your kids to be the chef for a night by letting them design one night’s dinner menu. Depending on what they choose, you can help them locate a recipe in a cookbook, or, perhaps you have a family recipe that you can teach them yourself.

You can even step up the experience by letting the kids design the dining room like their own personal restaurant. Have them design menus, a sign, and even set the table to match their unique vision. This helps them develop more of a sense of ownership over the meal and exercise their planning skills.

Keep in mind: Whether or not you cook every meal or not, you’re still able to leverage dinner as a period free from wireless phones. After all, you want to establish a screen balanced life during all times of the year, not just during summertime.

6. Create a DIY Obstacle Course

One way to get your kids outdoors is to design the outdoors based on their wants! It’s easy to make an obstacle course in the backyard using materials you likely already have. For example, you could use ladders laid across the grounds or pots and buckets placed in intricate designs for children to run around.

A DIY obstacle course is more than just fun; it can help your children build coordination and gross motor skills. Ask your kids what they’d like to create and then help them with their problem-solving skills by building the course with them. You can even create a map together to visualize how the course will be laid out. 

7. Chalk it up

Here’s an old-school idea: Head to the sidewalk with some chalk. This low-budget activity is a classic for a reason. 

For one, being outdoors can provide instant benefit to anyone’s — adult or child’s — mental health. Exposure to the sun can help release endorphins that will help children detox from the screen time they do get. Sunlight also produces Vitamin D, a key nutrient, in the body.  

Let your kids cover your sidewalks with their art. Give them ideas on what to draw, and let their creativity shine. They can also use chalk for some old-fashioned games like hop-scotch or hangman. 

Summertime is the right time for a screen detox. Find activities that tap into your kids’ interests, and watch them forget all about their wireless phones.