Your tech-savvy child probably views summer vacation as unlimited hours for gorging on technology… Playing video games late into the wee hours or spending endless hours chatting with friends about everything and nothing are probably high on their summer agenda.
That doesn’t mean it has to be high on your summer agenda! Help your child unplug from technology this summer with these fun activities. If you can get them unplugged and outside even temporarily, they’ll experience the benefits of hours of healthy fresh air, sunshine, and exercise. Even indoor activities will give them a new prospective on life – and give their thumbs and wrists a rest!
Gardening is a great way to enjoy some fresh air and sunshine. Square foot gardening allows you to experience the benefits without all of the work that so often overwhelms and discourages young gardeners. They’ll enjoy watching their seeds sprout and grow. When it comes time to harvest their produce, they might even surprise you with how eager they are to ‘eat their veggies’!
Enroll your child in a cooking class that matches their ‘foodie’ interests. If they’re growing a garden, how about a class where they can learn to cook those vegetables? An ardent camper might enjoy learning about campfire cooking from an expert. Or, how about learning to cook their catch after that fishing trip you’re planning? Your future pastry chef might appreciate learning how to make the perfect éclair or petit four.
Encourage your kids to get out their bikes and go for a ride. Going for a ride on every nice day is not only fantastic exercise, but also a fun way to explore the neighborhood. Packing a picnic lunch and inviting friends along for the ride to a local park or lake is a fun way to while away a lazy summer afternoon.
Encourage your child to volunteer some of their free time this summer. Volunteer opportunities abound and your child is sure to find one that interests them. Your bookworm might enjoy helping out at your local library. Animal lovers are always welcome at animal shelters. A local wildlife rescue organization might welcome your older child’s help. Is your child considering a career in the health field? Perhaps they would enjoy volunteering at a hospital or nursing home.
Besides being great exercise, hiking is a great opportunity to spend some quality time together. If you take a dog along, even better!
Many libraries offer a ‘summer reading program’ to encourage kids to read during the summer so they don’t fall behind in their skills. These programs often incorporate fun activities or rewards for completing each level.
A summer job
Your older child may already have a summer job; a younger child may want a job, too. Whether your young child’s idea of a summer job is a lemonade stand, dog walking service, or babysitting, it’s a wonderful way for them to set a goal, achieve it, and reap the benefits.
As any Boy or Girl Scout knows, camping is great fun and a wonderful way to develop skills and confidence. Family camping trips are just as much fun and a great way for parents and grandparents to pass on their skills. If a camping trip involves hiking or fishing, it offers even more opportunities for fun. Just don’t forget the ingredients for s’mores!
Enroll your budding photographer in a photography class. Check with your local Parks & Recreation Department, community college, or library for available classes. Do some brainstorming with your child on great local places to practice their skills. Scenic areas, a botanic garden or zoo, or buildings with great architecture are a few places to start. You and your child are sure to think of many others!
Summer vacation is traditionally associated with travel. Sometimes all of that traveling is best remembered afterwards for the stress. This year, why not plan mini trips? Instead of one big trip to a faraway destination, plan a series of mini trips to local sites. If they draw tourists from other areas, aren’t they worthy of taking a look at with new eyes? Do some research on why those tourists are visiting – what makes your local sites unique or historical? Who knows, your family might find out something fascinating that you never knew before!
As parents we are ultimately the ones responsible for teaching our children how fill their free time this summer with balance and healthy activities that do not involve technology! Setting an example with our own use of our smartphones and tablets is always the first way to approach the problem. They really are always watching how we lead our lives. Additionally, it is always easier to help your tweens and teens maintain balance in their lives with mobile devices when you use a parental control software.
Netsanity has a suite of services – their Timeblocker scheduler, can be used regularly to ensure that kids enjoy other activities this summer and all year long. If your tweens have an Apple or Android mobile device, Netsanity has a great feature called Screenlock. It can be used on a regular basis to completely block your teen from using their mobile device for texting, or other activities whenever you feel that they need a healthy break, sleep, or to ensure they are focusing on other activities. Netsanity now offers a 14-day free trial on all their plans, so it’s worth checking out for your family.
Overall, balance this summer will leave your family with memories that will stay with them for a lifetime!
Netsanity was made by parents for parents. With easy to use software designed to give control and sanity back to parents, Netsanity enables a safer and healthier mobile experience for kids. See for yourself with a free trial!
Netsanity is available for both Apple and Android devices.