School holidays are a great way for kids (and parents) to relax after a busy school term, a chance to recharge, reconnect and have some fun.
Holidays give kids a much needed break not just from school, but from screens too.
Our reliance on screens due to the pandemic has made them essential for many parts of daily life, from remote work and learning to booking appointments.
Current recommendations suggest kids aged 5-17 spend no more than two hours per day on recreational screen time (not including schoolwork) yet worryingly, 85% of kids exceed this amount.
Too much screen time can negatively affect a child’s physical and mental wellbeing, and with 4 out of 5 kids not getting the recommended one hour of exercise per day, many families are taking a closer look at their screen use.
Screens themselves aren’t bad, but problems start when kids spend so much time staring at screens that their physical and mental health suffers.
So, what’s the solution? A screen-free (or screen-reduced) winter school holidays might be the perfect opportunity to encourage kids to pursue other hobbies and learn to have fun without screens.
Here’s 10 ways to keep the kids entertained and enjoy a happier, healthier, screen-free winter.
Get closer to nature
The natural world is full of wonders and opportunities for kids to learn more about the world around them.
Whether you’re at the snow, a national park or forest, see how many kinds of plants, rocks or leaves you can find. Encourage kids to name or draw the insects and animals they see.
Walk and explore
Hit the pavement and explore your local area. You can discover so much more walking around than by driving, and hidden cafes and secret walking trails will give you and your family new adventures and places to discover- just don’t forget to rug up!
Have a cosy night in
Winter is perfect for a cosy night in. Pull out some blankets, pop on those fluffy socks, make some hot chocolate, turn the lights down and enjoy telling each other scary stories by torchlight.
Bake or cook something
School holidays are the perfect time to get kids in the kitchen. Getting them involved in choosing a recipe, collecting the ingredients and cooking (with parental guidance of course) is fun with a delicious result at the end.
Build a fort
This one might bring back some strong childhood memories! With a couple blankets and some cushions, kids will have a great time making their own little fort where they can read, play a board game or write stories.
Random acts of kindness
What better way to encourage kids to be kind and think of others than by doing some random acts of kindness.
This doesn’t have to be something big- it could be as simple as bringing the neighbours bins in on bin day, giving up their seat on the bus or picking up five pieces of litter each time you visit the park.
Drawing, painting, making things out of modelling clay, building a diorama, using household items like paper plates and paper towel rolls to build things- the opportunities really are endless.
For added fun, kids might like to host a mini exhibition at the end of their holidays showcasing all the arts and crafts they made of their time off.
Write a story
Here’s a fun writing activity- choose five random words and get the kids to come up with a story using all five words. Look around the room for inspiration and see what their imaginations come up with.
A day at the library
Libraries are incredible places. Of course, there’s a huge range of books for every child’s interest, but many run school holiday programs (often free of charge) that will keep the kids entertained for hours.
Perform a play
Kids can have so much fun with this one. They simply choose a scene from a movie or book they like and act it out. They’ll have a lot of fun putting costumes and scripts together and performing the acting skills for the rest of the family.
There are so many fun things to do that don’t involve screens, but as with everything in life, moderation is key.
There is nothing wrong with letting kids watch a bit of tv or play a video game, but balancing this with creative, imaginative and active play will give your child a variety of well-rounded interests.
From everyone at Spacetalk, we wish you a happy, safe school holiday period!