Step away from the phone! Power off the Kindle! Turn off the TV!
There's no doubt about it — parenting in the technology age is tough. But with a little creativity and planning, you can find ways to get your tuned-in kids to turn off their devices.
Here are 10 ideas for things to do with your kids that will distract them from their technology:
doram via canva
1. Surprise them with an "art box"
You don't have to buy anything new. Just use a tote to collect arts and crafts supplies from around your house — you can even get creative with things like (clean!) recyclables, fresh flowers, and forgotten or broken toys — and let them create a masterpiece straight from their imaginations.
2. Plan a picnic
Eating outside is a simple pleasure for kids, whether it's in your own backyard or at a favorite park. Let them plan the menu, put the food together, and choose the spot.
3. Plant a garden
They'll love to get dirty and you'll love teaching them about where their food comes from. Gardens don't have to take over your yard — just a small patch is enough to grow some great vegetables. Or you can even just plant a few carrot seeds or a patio tomato plant in some pots. Include the kids every step of the way — from planting to cooking the harvest.
4. Play games you loved as a child
Board games or cards, classics like Go Fish, Candy Land, and Monopoly have been family favorites for generations. Or get outside to play tag, jacks, or hopscotch. All your childhood favorites are sure to bring a smile to their faces — and yours.
5. Sell lemonade
Kids loooove lemonade stands. But the process involves more than just hawking lemonade — they'll need to make signs, "build" their stand, make the lemonade, buy cups, and decide where their money is going to go (Ice cream? A new toy? A cause they care about?). Your little entrepreneurs can figure it all out, with perhaps just a little assistance from you. Check your local laws for restrictions and permit requirements to make sure your little ones don't also have to learn about hiring legal representation.
Monkey Business Images via Canva
Make daily, weekly, and annual reading goals for your child, or set up a contest for the whole family. For some ideas, check out these reading logs on Pinterest.
7. Walk together
Make a daily walk part of your family's habits, whether it's around the neighborhood or exploring a new trail nearby. You'll be surprised at the things you and your kids talk about while just out for a simple stroll.
8. Find a penpal
You can find another child for your kiddo to write letters to, or simply send a letter to a favorite relative (and let them know to send one back to your child!). This is a great way for your kids to practice their writing and gives you a chance to talk to them about everything from geography to different cultures.
9. Set up a scavenger hunt
Setting up a scavenger hunt is easy to do: Just write out simple clues that lead from one to the next. A little prize at the end — a new book, a cookie, or a homemade coupon for an ice cream cone — will thrill them. Once they're done with your scavenger hunt, have your kids set one up for you to complete. They'll probably have more fun watching you try to figure out their clues than they did when they got to do it themselves!
10 Check your Macaroni KID events calendar!
Our calendar is stuffed full of events to help you find your tech-free family fun this summer — and all year long! Make sure to check it out every day, and sign up for our weekly newsletter.
We know that unplugging kids in today's tech world isn't easy, but giving them fun alternatives can help turn kids away from their screens — without a single technology tantrum!
Carissa Garabedian is the publisher of Macaroni Kid Richmond, Va. and Know Different.