From contributor Megan Tietz of SortaCrunchy
Later this month, individuals and families around the world will be invited to participate in Screen-Free Week. The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood will encourage us to go screen-free from April 18-24 so we can discover all the things we might be missing when we are connected to our various screens.
I know many in the organic/natural living community make little to no screen time a reality in their homes year ’round. To be very honest, our boundaries with screen time are fairly lax. Every year, Screen-Free Week offers me the opportunity to get a reality check on how much all four of the people in my family are connected to a screen of some kind.
Through the years, I’ve collected some resources to help guide us through a screen-free week. I wanted to share some of our favorites with you today, as well as ask you to help me create my plan for this year’s Screen-Free Week!
Photo by Nina Matthews Photography
Screen-Free Week is perfectly timed to encourage all of us to get back outside and enjoy nature in full bloom. Some of our favorite resources to guide our time outside are:
- Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv - I almost hesitate to mention this one because it’s become such a standard for natural-minded parents. If you haven’t read it, I highly recommend picking up a copy! You will find in its weighty but hopeful pages all the inspiration you need to soak up time outdoors as much as possible!
- I Love Dirt! 52 Activities to Help You and Your Kids Discover the Wonders of Nature by Jennifer Ward – Granted, this book is geared toward younger children, an age group that usually doesn’t need much guidance in how to play outdoors, but it is a great help for parents who aren’t naturally at ease in nature. It’s the perfect springboard for imaginations young and old!
- The Nature Activities Archive at 5 Orange Potatoes – Parents today are blessed with an abundance of resources for all things creative living. I’m sure you have your favorite activities blog; 5 Orange Potatoes is a long-time favorite of mine. Lisa encourages lots of outdoor time just enjoying nature, and her nature activities are not too complicated for little hands and always yield fun results in our family.
- Not surprisingly, Simple Kids is one of my favorite go-to resources for activities indoors and out. Just last month, contributor Catherine wrote on Elements of a Child-Friendly Garden, and last April, contributor Christen demonstrated how to create egg carton gardens. Keep an eye on Simple Kids articles this month – I am confident there will be more inspiration there!
- What about families in more urban settings? I can’t speak to that experience myself, but perhaps city-dwelling families might be inspired to reclaim an urban space by planting alley gardens. Last spring, Sweet Juniper published an article showing how they created seed bombs to “bomb” their city with wildflowers. Even though we don’t live in a big city, I couldn’t help but to be inspired by that!
Photo by kodomut
In an ideal world, Screen-Free Week would be full of blue skies and temperatures in the seventies for everyone. From our little house here on the plains, however, we know that spring often brings unpredictable weather. It’s good to have a game plan for screen-free hours spent indoors.
- Rae Grant’s trio of books: Crafting Fun, Cooking Fun, and Homemade Fun. My children and I have spent many afternoons working through her projects or cooking through her recipes. The vintage design and uncomplicated plans are an absolute delight! I don’t know if I could possibly pick a favorite. Rae is also a contributor at Simple Kids and has published several fun projects over there.
- The Creative Family by Amanda Blake Soule – Again, this is one that I hesitate to even mention because it has become such a contemporary classic, but it is genuinely a book I find that I return to time and time again for inspiration. Amanda’s emphasis on process over product and inspiring views on family life have been a profound source of guidance for me!
- I often find that I look back to Tsh’s 2009 article at Simple Mom with 20 Indoor Activities for Kids – Besides TV. As a former English teacher, I find that I am still fairly literacy-minded and literacy-motivated in what we pursue in our time at home. I love that the first five suggestions on her list all have to do with books!
- Finally, as I prepared for Screen-Free Week last year, I asked my own readers at SortaCrunchy for ideas on what to do in the mornings before school instead of turning on the TV. People came out in force with many practical ideas!
One of my very favorite things about being part of the Simple Living Media family is the spirit of community and sharing resources; so now, I would love to hear from you!
Is screen-free life a challenge for you? What resources would you add to this list? What are your favorite sources of inspiration for screen-free living with children?