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  • Writer's pictureJunior Oliveira

Screen-Free Summer: 15 ideas to make your children unplug from digital technology

Updated: Jul 9, 2019

Let's have fun in Nature: the 2019 summer school break is just around the corner 🤗 it's time to get planning! Maybe you are heading away on holiday to a sunny destination abroad! Whether you manage to get away or not, or if you’re staying around your town/city, I have some interesting tips, and lots of things to do on a family day to entertain your children, and also places to visit to keep all ages of the family happy. Rather than let them turn on the electronic devices, try any of these free or cheap ways to entertain them. I have included some links to make your life easier! Also, have a look at my post "Let's Go Outside: 4 Scientific Reasons Why Children Should Play Outdoors" click here

The weather forecast seems very optimistic for sunny days and the temperatures are looking to be above average as the summer months arrive, prompting hope that UK residents might enjoy the best barbecue season of their lives. I have found some fun things to do outside for kids! Here are some great things, mostly free, amazingly fun outdoor activities for kids, from toddlers to teens. Come and get inspired to get outside, rain or shine (most likely shine)!

1- Day Out with Kids:

Find the best places to take the kids near you, your search over thousands of attractions and days out across the UK; some of these sites offer up to 50% off events and activities from cinemas to water parks, etc.

2- Free Parks and Playgrounds - Find information about parks and open spaces near you, including playgrounds, nature reserves, wildlife sites and sports pitches:

3- Have a water balloon fight - Let the kids toss water balloons at each other or you. There's no better way to beat the heat and bring the family together than by engaging in a full-fledged water balloon battle.

4- Plant a garden - My son loves planting seeds in the spring and watching them grow through the summer. Gardening is really important for children, and they will get involved if you make it fun. My personal tip is sunflower seeds for younger children - sunflowers are always a winner because they grow so quickly. They are also easy and inexpensive. Get sunflower growing tips here.

5- Birdwatching - Call your children, take your binoculars and a book of your local native birds to a garden or to a park and try to identify as many birds as possible. In an era when urban and suburban children's under-exposure to the natural world is starting to be seen as a problem, birdwatching is a low-cost, easily accessible way to experience an outdoor activity with kids. I found this book very interesting: ”My First Book of Garden Birds RSBP” and also this webpage Find here the most common garden birds in the UK

6- Teach your children about garden bugs - Insects are valuable friends to our gardens and vital to the natural world as a whole – not to mention fascinating and diverse creatures to share a home with. It’s really important for kids to explore the bug life in their garden because it’s been proven that being connected to nature makes everyone happier. I found this book very interesting: “My First Book of Garden Wildlife RSBP”. But I am you can find interesting stuff, if you take your kids to a book shop, is also a great fun.

7- Visit a public library - Public libraries often offer free summer reading programmes that include workshops, movies, children's theatre, puppet shows and more. Or just check out how-to books so you and your kids can learn something new together. Get your child their own library card, even if they are still a baby or toddler. Teach your child how to care for books. Public libraries open up new worlds, spark imagination, encourage reading, help develop critical thinking. Find your nearest public library click here.

8- Go to a museum - Kids and museums can be tricky, but I have noticed that many museums are offering new ways to engage children — including through the use of sight, touch, and sound. And if you are visiting a museum for the first time, browse its website prior to your arrival. If it’s a children’s museum, which exhibits are most likely to appeal to your child. To maximise your experience (and to minimise your stress), plan to visit the museum multiple times, and to explore a limited section of the museum on each day. Find your nearest museum click here

9- Pitch a tent in your garden or backyard - Camping in your backyard can be loads of fun, no matter how old your kids are. It's great for keeping them entertained, it offers opportunities to check the night sky, and it lets you and your guests be noisier than usual. By sticking close to home, your kids can feel safe and secure, be within walking distance of a bathroom, and still enjoy a wonderful family bonding experience. Play a round of camping-themed bingo, it is really entertaining; have a look at some very creative ideas to create a memorable experience for everyone click here.

10- Invent something using old parts or things from around the house that you don't need. Our kids never cease to amaze us. Those minds are just so fluid and open, they're always coming up with brilliant ideas and creative inventions. Click here to see some famous kids inventions.

11- Reduce, Reuse or Recycle - make sure your child knows about these sustainable concepts, make a contribution to the recycling cause and have fun turning simple plastic bottles into bird feeders, rain gauges and more. Save money and think Earth by using recycled materials for wonderful craft ideas and art projects. Also donate your kids' gently-used toys to charities, but ask for their help, let your kids know that you plan to donate some toys to a charitable cause, and explain to them where the toys go and who receives them. Why not take a trip to your local charity shop it's the most exciting way to discover a hidden gem. Find your nearest charity shop click here and see some craft ideas (recycled materials) click here

12- Get the kids in the kitchen - Bake something you’ve never made before, try an easy, kid-friendly recipes and have some fun in the kitchen; an easy dinner for kids can still be a delicious meal for adults! There are several simple recipes that can make weeknight suppers totally stress-free. I have found this site with “53 Kid-Friendly Recipes From Around the World” This Sounds Yummy! However if you want something less complicated, ice lollies are a good option, and if you and your children like chocolate, why not try my favorite dessert? Brazilian brigadeiro

13- Conduct a fun science experiments - Try some simple and fun kid-friendly science experiments, think about something that you can do at home with your kids, for sure you can find some fun way to introduce children of all ages to basic scientific concepts. Have a look at this webpage Find easy science experiments now with easy to follow step by step instructions.

14- Go on a picnic - There are so many things you can do to make your kids happy, including a picnic, as any meal is more fun on a blanket in a park or even in your garden. Eating outside is great fun way to enjoy nature, and a picnic introduces your children to new experiences. Sometimes a change of atmosphere can even encourage a picky eater to try some new foods. I have found this site with some easy and tasty recipes for picnic

15- Fly a Kite after your picnic - If you're looking for a creative way to make your kids enjoy outside activities, kites are an excellent and funny option. According to the organization Cognifit, flying a kite is a great way to develop hand-eye coordination, kinesthetic awareness, and gross motor skills. Click here to see how to make a kite

I am sure that that you can find more and more options, but I think that if you follow these tips you will be able to create seemingly effortless outdoor entertaining. And for children, the easier it is, the more fun they’ll have. Bear in mind that you inspire and provide a role model for your kids when you take them out into, and talk about, nature, encouraging respect, creativity and healthy offline lifestyle, among other values. The best way to get them to love the outdoors is to set a good example.

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