As free as the wind blows, as free as the grass grows, I want to be free! At least for a few days, wouldn’t it be fun to have your whole family be free from screens?

Do you know about the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood? They do a lot of good work lobbying to get commercials and marketing and advertising out of children’s lives and out of public schools. They bring a lot to light for families and for organizations in regards to just how much advertising is thrust at our children, at our families, from birth on. Check out their website to see just how much good work they do.

This month they are also organizing the annual SCREEN FREE WEEK from April 30th-May 6th. It’s a great way for families and children to break away from the screens for a week and see just how big a part screens play in our lives. Everyone on their own screen – watching, texting, reading, exploring and zoning out on the screen be it phone, computer, tv, game station or other. It’s sort of relentless. It’s not that screen usage is bad, au contraire! But the numbers show that the average child spends 7.5 hours per day on a screen. That’s a lot of time staring at electronics. And a lot of time not engaging with the world and with each other.

In our house during school days we do a couple hours everyday screen free – from 5-7 there’s no surfing, texting, emailing, viewing. It’s not always easy. But it feels pretty good. And 2 hours feels totally doable.

Can you do it? Do you dare? Can your family be screen free? Can you turn it all off (excluding work of course which still must get done!) Can you spend that time doing something else? Here’s some ideas to get you going…

  • Go outside and lay in the grass.
  • Hug a tree
  • Play jumprope
  • Draw on the sidewalk with chalk
  • Play a game
  • Draw together
  • Go for a walk
  • Look up random words in the dictionary
  • Visit a neighbor
  • Have friends over
  • Throw a party – invite only your own family
  • Have a fancy dinner
  • Play charades
  • Listen to music
  • Build something

Take a week and slow it down. Connect with each other and with nature and with your imagination. See what you come up with. And if you’ve got some screen free ideas of your own, let me know.