30 Ideas For An Unplugged Childhood

I struggled with finding a balance.

Like most parents, I struggled with finding a balance of allowing the kids on devices and good old-fashioned unplugged playtime. But when they started playing on their devices long after allocated time and continued to do so despite my many warnings, the devices were all taken away.

I understand the lure of the bright screen and fun games (mostly educational) but I found it was making my kids a little obsessed; indignant and impatient.

I sat them down and we came up with a list. Together.


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Devices are a small part of their lives but it is an important part because ultimately, it is the way of the future and like everything else in life, its all about striking a balance. We’re still navigating our way so the list is important. Its so easy to get carried away with the chores and work and whatnot – for us, having a list prominently displayed reminds us to stop and take a minute.

The kids refer to it all the time and its made for many fun afternoons. Some items on the list the kids can do independently and some encourage parent and child bonding time. They look for me when they’ve chosen one that includes me. These are my favourite!

The list was the result of a brainstorming session between the three of us, the original list has over 100 items but you get the idea! 

Play at an outdoor playground
Picnic at the park
Play football/tennis
Go fishing
Go for a swim
Solve a puzzle
Visit a museum
Build a Lego creation
Art Day
Visit the SPCA
Play dress-up
Do a Fitness Blender routine
Visit a farm
Build a terrarium

Make a banana split
Go on a scavenger hunt
Visit a fire station
Learn to juggle
Build a blanket fort/camp
Find a caterpillar
Rock Art – create, find, hide
Thumb wrestle
Go eco exploring
Watch clouds
Show and Tell
Make your own storybook
Cuddles and kisses
Play a boardgame
Sing and dance like no one’s watching

These are mostly ideas the boys came up with. If you sit with your kids and let them explore their own options, they’d probably be more willing to ditch the ipad for some creative unplugged time both independently and with you.

Happy bonding!

Damelza Harris-Olsen is your multi-tasking, on-the-go mum to two active little boys. When not stuck on writing, you’ll find her on adventures with her husband and sons, on a photoshoot somewhere painting faces or on a home (re)decorating binge.

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