Dr. Jennifer W. Shewmaker

Parent, Educator, Author

Screen-Free Week is Here!


Did you know that it’s been estimated that children between 8-18 spend almost 11 hours a day engaging with media (Rideout et al., 2010)? Adolescents who consume media most heavily are at risk physically, socially, and emotionally.

Children develop creativity, problem-solving skills, and social and emotional skills when they engage in free play. But many children spend so much time consuming media, that they aren’t getting the free play time that they need. The Campaign for Commercial Free Childhood (CCFC) has collaborated with other national organizations to promote the idea of taking a week off of using any kind of screen to give families and children the chance to unplug, reconnect, and begin to make healthy life changes.

Here are links to some great resources for you to organize a screen-free week at home, school, or in your community.

As you and your family prepare to take a week away from screens (TV, computers, electronic games, mobile devices, etc.), what kinds of activities can you do to fill the time that those things usually take up?

Here is a great list of activity ideas and resources from the CCFC. I’m looking forward to sharing them with my own kids! I’ll look forward to checking back in with you next week to see how your screen free week went. Now get out there and play!

Activity Ideas

Here’s a fun activity from the preschool play section of Bobbi Conner’s book Unplugged Play (recommended for Screen-Free Week and beyond!):

Dining Room Campout
Creating a private little world for your child is a wonderful way to give her time alone in her own mysterious world. All too often, we and our children get caught up in the frenzy of our lives; what a treat to be able to steal some time away for a campout!

Materials: Sleeping bag; safe outdoor camping gear; small cardboard box (for pretend camp stove); pots, pans, spatula, bowls, and cups; teddy bear and dolls

Setup: Gather all the camping gear into the dining room or living room and close the window blinds to make it “nighttime.”

Play: Encourage your child to cook a campout meal and serve it to her camp buddies (the teddy bear and dolls), and to sing songs by the “campfire” before settling down inside the sleeping bag.

More Great Resources:

  • KaBOOM! will send its favorite outdoor games guide to anyone who pledges to do 60 minutes of active play each day of Screen-Free Week.
  • Kids Across Parents Down has created a fantastic Screen-Free Week themed crossword puzzle (pdf) for parents and kids to do together.
  • The SAFE START Team at Allegheny County, Pennsylvania’s Department of Human Services has put together this calendar (pdf) with activities for a whole month, so you can continue with the screen-free fun when the week is over.
  • Education.com’s David Zugnoni offers ideas for things to do—in word art form!
  • Our 101 Screen-Free Activities (pdf) is a must-download.

2 comments on “Screen-Free Week is Here!

  1. Pingback: Screen Free Week April 29-May 5, 2013: Glee-fully Unplugged - Shaping Youth

  2. I am not a big fan of screens. The one thing my boys will do is go outside and play when I say no screens or they will disappear and start to be creative in a game. I may need to encourage them but more often than not they find their own thing to do.

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