Screen Free Activities for the Summer

Are you looking for screen free activities for the summer? Or, are you wanting to connect or reconnect with your kids? Learn the power of an hour here!

I home school my 4 children ages 8, 7, 4 and 2. On a normal day, we’re with each other a lot, but we typically have various activities scheduled throughout the week, home school co-op classes, Jiu Jitsu classes, Church on Sundays, play dates at the park, birthday parties, etc.

Quarantine Time Together

However, as you all know, due to the pandemic and quarantine my kids and I have spent basically 100% of our time together. Even so, believe this or not, at the end of the day, when I put my head down at night, I often ask myself, “Did I look my kids in the eye or hug them? Did we do anything together?

Each day gets packed fast with so many things, even right here at home, without ever leaving our front door! Most of my days are spent hearing my children and talking to them all the while cleaning up my 2 year old’s cheerios all over the floor, making sure dinner doesn’t burn, answering Daddy’s phone call, bandaging my 4 year old’s scraped knee, honoring my 7 year old’s desire to make bricks and listen to my 8 year old share a scene from his chapter book.

We finally get them all tucked into bed and I wonder again, did I look in their eyes? Was I truly listening to what they were saying? I feel guilt come over me and I vow to make sure the next day is a little different, that I look in their eyes and hug them tight.

But then, as you know, or can imagine, the kids wake up before me or the first one up is hot off the blocks with a fit and….the cycle continues…

The Power of an Hour

I decided that in order for me to spend any amount of quality time with my kids, I had to be deliberate and intentional. So, I created a power hour in our home!!

Since so many activities are still cancelled for the summer, my kids and I are going to be hunkering down a little long with a handful of play dates in the mix. Since we’ll still be home much of the time, I created the following schedule for us to shoot for most days:

  • 8:00-10:00 Breakfast and outdoor time (cooler temperatures)
  • 10:00-11:30 Rotations, Cursive, Spanish Sight Word Sentences and Computer Math Games
  • 11:30-1:30 Lunch and free play
  • 1:30-2:30 Quiet time for reading, resting, drawing, building, creating
  • 2:30-3:30 Power Hour with Mom!
  • 3:30-4:30 Watch something
  • 4:30-5:30 Help cook or independent play
  • 5:30-8:00 Dinner, outdoor time, bed time

Fostering and Inspiring Independence

I created the Power Hour to help me and hopefully you, carve out one hour a day to do any one of these simple and screen free activities with your kids.

Secondly, the by-product of these activities is to ignite, inspire or instill in our kids, screen free skills that they can eventually do on their own during the rest of the day.

This has definitely worked in my home. My kids use the computer for their Math games and they watch something together for about an hour a day. Other than that, they are busy doing so many other things including many of the activities that I will list below.

Varying Costs

Some of these activities don’t cost anything. Some of them do, so I can’t say that they’re all free. However, the skills and new interests that the kids acquire makes the cost so worth it!!

Most toys or games that I mention, we either found at a school sale, purchased at a discounted price or received as a gift. I link to sites where you can buy them online simply so you can see what I’m referring to.

Each of these screen free activities can be completed in one hour, or one hour a day over the course of a week. For many of these activities, your one hour spent with your kids will spur on many hours of independent activity without you that will help fill your children’s days this summer.

20 Screen Free Activities!

Alright, here are ideas that have worked well for our family!

  1. Build a Book Box
screen free activities, build a book box

2. Construct a Simple Shelf

screen free activities, build a simple shelf

3. Build a 4 tier shelf

screen free activities, build a 4 tier shelf

4. Finish FREE Craft Activities

screen free activities, high quality crafts

5. Complete High Quality Drawing Lessons

screen free activities, online drawing lessons

6. Dig a fire pit in the backyard

screen free activities, dig a fire pit

7. Then, build a fire!

screen free activities, build a fire

8. Paint freely (Use 50 cent acrylic paints from Walmart)

9. Complete a puzzle while listening to audio books

screen free activities, puzzles

10. Read to your children

11. Have your children read to you

12. Form 3-D Structures and Forts

13. Build Marshmallow Structures (2 and 3D)

14. Set up a backyard obstacle course

15. Complete Little Bins for Little Hands Science Experiments

16. Build with wooden blocks. Take a picture of the end result.

17. Plant dry beans. In time, pick and empty the pods.

18. Cook with one child at a time

19. Teach and play the Rush Hour Traffic Game

20. Write a high quality friendly letter

I hope you find these screen free activities enriching and helpful and even spur on other ideas for your family this summer!