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7 Fun and Screen-Free Family Activities To do over the Weekend

7 Fun and Screen-Free Family Activities To do over the Weekend

Technology seems to have taken over every aspect of our lives. It has invaded spaces which were previously kept sacred. Now, the phone, the iPad and handheld gaming consoles have invaded family time. Even dinner time seems to be interrupted by these devices. Every member seems to sit hunched over their devices, emotionally and mentally separate from each family member. This is why we thought we’d give you an insight about fun screen-free family activities to do over the weekend with your child. 

Let’s first understand why reducing screen time for children is the need of the hour. 

Why is screen time detrimental? 

Post pandemic, schools have taken to online classes and all children receive their homework via phones or other electronic devices. Adults also work from home more frequently now and most time is spent in front of a computer. There used to be a time when screen-time was well regulated and mostly limited to watching TV with the entire family. Now, screen-free time is a conscious choice and a novelty. 

The extreme dependance of children on social media and search engines has also raised alarm and is a cause of concern for most parents. Are you one such similar parent? Are you free on the weekends only to be at a loss for how to spend time with your child?

On the graver side of things, there is a very immediate and worrisome impact of devices on children. In a paper by Mupalla et all, titled Effects of Excessive Screen Time on Child Development: An Updated Review and Strategies for Management, there are many repercussions to excessive usage of devices. Here is the list of adverse effects of screen time on children of certain ages.

1. Reduced Emotional Understanding:

According to research, there is a negative correlation between screen time and emotional and cognitive development of children. It also comes along with a host of other problems. Children exposed excessively to devices from ages as young as two years old have a delay in understanding language. Their development is stunted and they tend to perform poorly in comparison to children who have not had extreme exposure to electronic devices. Such children also find it hard to cooperate socially with peers. They have a hard time empathizing with others and ultimately are excluded from social events by peers. It was also revealed that having a television in a 6-year-old child’s bedroom could predict how their emotional responses would be at the age of eight.

2. Adverse effects on Physical Health:

Usage of devices and excessive screen-time is linked to a lot of physical problems. Conditions such as obesity, reduced sleep, depression and anxiety also manifest in children which do not engage with healthy family time but rather are glued to devices. Children can unconsciously eat more than they require as the brain is engaged more on the screen. Screen-time also hampers sleep to a very great extent as the blue light from the screen has scientifically been proven to interfere with sleep hormones such as melatonin. It makes the child get less restorative sleep and hampers how rested the child feels. This bleeds into school time where a child might feel tired later in the day due to inadequate sleep.

3. Negative Impact on Mental Health:

Many studies show that children exposed to digital devices and having a high screentime actually had a plethora of internalizing problems. These include anxiety, depression, reduced attention span, social anxiety and psychosomatic pain. Children are also more likely to perceive themselves negatively after being exposed to social media. It created an undue pressure on children to look and be perfect. They are exposed to many behavioral criteria quite early on and they put undue pressure on themselves to perform in certain ways to please parents and teachers.

If screen-time is so highly detrimental to your child’s mental and physical health, is there something we as parents and teachers do to minimize the negative side effects of it? Screens are quite unavoidable in this day and age, but it does not mean that we cannot spare a few precious moments throughout the weekend to spend with our child.

Even if you are a stay at home mom or do get time to spend with your child throughout the week, you can utilize the following list of 7 fun and screen-free family activities to do over the weekend. Feel free to use these throughout the week as well. 

Read more: What Difference a Father Makes: Importance of Equal Parenting

The following list caters to children of all ages. They are fun and easy and your children are sure to want to spend more time with you even without screens!

So, here is a list of screen-free family activities you might want to save!

1. Reading to your toddlers

Toddlers are curious creatures. There are many Pinterest projects available on the internet for toddlers. For a 2-year-old, a screen-free activity can be reading to them. You can also put on some fun rhymes and dance along with your toddlers. Children love the sound of music and rhyming words can help them memorise new words and keep them engaged as well. You can read simple fairy tales and books to them. The easiest are the Grimm’s Brothers Fairy Tales which are a classic and quite popular with children.

2. Sensory Boards

You can easily make one at home. Just make sure it has a variety of textures and sensations. For this, you need a piece of wool or ribbon, sequins or glitter, old items such as door knobs, rubber bands, old light switches which can make a clicky sound, keycaps from old keyboards, foam, tissue paper or foil and any other variety of textured materials you can get hold of. Stick them all onto an old cutting board or even any sheet of plastic and you have your very own sensory board!

3. Treasure Hunt

Here is an activity that can be relevant across all age groups. 7-year-olds to 16-year-olds can all have an immense amount of fun with a treasure hunt. The premise is relatively simple and it is a fun screen-free activity which you can have fun with over the weekend. It also encourages the child to get better at riddles and problem solving, thereby enforcing the problem solving skills. So how do you set up a fun, weekend long treasure hunt for your child? Well, the sky’s the limit really. Gather up the children and explain the agenda of the activity. You can sprinkle rewards and tiny gifts throughout the house based on what your children like. Hide them around the house and draw up clues for your children. It is like being a part of their own detective story. This one is surely going to be a hit!

4. Creating a Collage

Simply go through your gallery and look at the photographs you have collected over time with your children. Maybe even from the time when they were toddlers. You can tell them stories behind each of the photographs and they can write it down in the scrapbook. Print out the relevant photos and each family member can add a comment of their own to the photos.You only need a printer and maybe a pretty scrapbook. You can also decorate it with your child.

5. Visit a theme park

Now, all activities do not have to take place holed up in your house. You can go out and have fun at a theme park of choice. If the weather permits it, why not go out to a waterpark as well? Summer will be upon us soon, and then the weekends are going to be a hot bore. Go out and visit parks and recreational areas with your child. The more varied outside environment you give to your child, the better it is going to be for their physical and mental development. You can visit online websites and choose one which is best for you over the weekend.

6. Pottery/ Arts and Crafts

The creative muscle needs exercise as well. Why not look up some fun and creative 2-day workshops to attend around your house. Creativity is a skill which is often underutilized. It can also be a way for you to be creative outside of your daily job. This is something both parents and children can enjoy. You can also have a relic of your outing in the form of a bowl or a vase you create at the pottery class. You can use it as a key bowl or just as decoration around the house. A nice memory created over the weekend which is likely to be remembered by all!

7. Cooking

Cooking is a basic life skill and what can be better than having fun, eating delicious food and teaching your kids responsible household activities at the same time? You just have to be a bit careful with the fire. With the little ones, you can bake delicious cookies. Give them the task of mixing to help them feel like they are helping out. With the tweens and the teens, you can help them to make basic delicious meals. It is also a wonderful opportunity to teach them about nutrition. Pick a viral TikTok recipe with easy measurements and get to cooking!

Read more: Best Activities for Kids - Fun Things to Do With Kids

There you go! Easy, fun screen-free activities for all age groups which you can do over the weekend. Do not stress over it too much though. It is meant to be fun for all the people involved, which means not just the kids but also you! And if nothing else, it is always easy to watch a fun movie and order takeout!

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Article Author

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Shourya Tamta

Shourya Tamta, an enthusiastic and passionate teacher dedicated to making the journey of language acquisition fun and captivating. With 6 years of experience working with students across all age groups, I engage them through dynamic activities to create a fun and comprehensive learning experience.

Discover a wonder-filled world of children's activities near you! Check our online classes.
Discover a wonder-filled world of children's activities near you! Check our online classes.