According to CNN.com, new studies indicate that teens spend 9 hours a day using media such as smartphones, TVs, and computers. Whether this time is spent on social media, playing video games, watching movies, or listening the music, the fact is that kids are spending more time on screens than they are on homework or getting much needed sleep.
While these findings may be alarming to those without children, those of us with middle/high school aged kids are more likely to nod our heads in agreement than question the report’s accuracy. It feels as though we are constantly battling digital media for our children’s attention and quality time is hard to come by.
Check out these fun activities that will get your kids to unplug!
This is an activity the entire family can partake in. Whether you spending time at local beaches, parks, or hiking trails, breathing fresh air is sure to do everyone some good. To make this activity last all day, pack a picnic and bring along some playing cards or games (Apples to Apples is a family favorite) or choose a destination with volleyball, basketball, or tennis courts. But don’t forget to plan ahead and pack the proper sports gear!
Visit an Entertainment Complex
Here’s the perfect opportunity to drop your kids off for an afternoon of fun while you catch up on some necessary errands (just be sure to check the unsupervised age limit). Most entertainment centers offer arcade games, go karts, mini golf, laser tag, batting cages, and more! With all there is to offer, they’ll forget all about their phones and TV screens. If your area doesn’t have an entertainment complex, do a quick online search for a particular activity such as paintball or indoor trampolines as an alternative.
Visit an Amusement or Water Park
An activity for the whole family! Ride roller coasters, enjoy carnival food, and spend time outside at a local amusement park. If you’re expecting a hot summer, considering visiting a water park instead. You won’t regret it when you’re floating down the lazy river under a blazing sun thinking of all the people sweating as they wait in long lines for rides. Don’t forget that many popular parks offer local discounts, multi-day pass deals, promotional deals, or season passes, so do some research on how you can save on your admission tickets before paying full price!
Unleash your inner Picasso in a class at a local art studio. Whether you’re elbow deep in clay or learning the latest in photography, this is an activity that is sure to hold your kid’s attention. Consult with them first before choosing the type of class you attend and maybe they’ll discover an interest that will draw them away from their screens for years to come!
Whether your children are interested in science, history, cars, or art, it is likely that your city is bursting with museums waiting to be discovered. Create a list of all the local attractions and allow them to choose which you visit. Work your way through the list and make note of your favorites. Don’t forget: Museums are meant to be explored more than once!
The perfect activity for birthdays and just before they go back to school: A shopping excursion. If you live in a warmer climate, seek out an outdoor shopping mall and spend the whole day wandering through stores and enjoying local restaurants. Tired of frequenting the same stores? Try visiting a new district or nearby city that you’ve never been to. Maybe you’ll discover a new shop that you’ll want to return to on the regular!
Does your child have a favorite sports team? Surprise them with a set of tickets! We can guarantee they’d rather be watching the game live than on a screen at home, and the excitement from the other fans is sure to create an entirely new experience they’ll want to have over and over. If you’d like to make a full night of it, grab a meal at a sports pub beforehand to get psyched for the big game!
Partake in Local Events
Pick up a local newspaper or peruse the web to find out about the events happening in your neck of the woods. Every city has their own local attractions and festivals that you won’t want to miss. These events are also great options for those on a budget as they are often inexpensive or free!
While it is true that tweens and teens today spend the majority of their waking hours with their eyes locked on screens, there are things we can do to keep them active and a part of the real world. Not only is this crucial for our kid’s development, it’ll build the relationship we have with them in the process.
Contributor: Jayson Goetz is a writer from Phoenix, Arizona that is passionate about traveling for all ages. Being a broke writer, Jayson soon learned that if he wants to travel he needs to find the best deals. He loves sharing his experiences and tips in hopes of helping more people and teens travel the world.