How is it possible that it is October? I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready for much these days, especially not cold weather. But, what I love about Autumn wherever I am, is that it invites us to notice change. Both adults and kids tune into the seasonal shift no matter where we live, whether it’s leaves shifting from green to red, new birds migrating, or (unfortunately for those of us on the West Coast) smokey skies. Our senses are reinvigorated. Our routines shift. There are new and different things happening around us daily.
This month, invite your family to become explorers of your own lives and your own communities. You’ll be amazed at how much your kids can learn about the world (and themselves) in the cracks of the sidewalk or in between the couch cushions. For Screen-Free Saturdays, we invite you to unplug to discover! Adventure awaits!
Being an Explorer of the World
It really doesn’t take a ton of effort to get curious about the world, and kids are naturally curious. Honestly, sometimes it’s just the act of unplugging and looking up that provides enough inspiration! Take the lead from the kids and make this month all about discovering (or rediscovering) something new- whether it’s a new alley nearby your apartment or a game you had buried in a toy chest.
If that doesn’t work, my favorite book to use in the classroom and in my personal life is How to Be an Explorer of the World by Keri Smith.
This “Portable Life Museum” is a treasure trove of provocations for finding curiosities in every nook and cranny of our lives. With 59 explorations, ranging from people-watching to writing down 10 things you notice about where you’re sitting right now, there are so many ways to inspire kids (and adults!) to pay a little more attention.
When I’ve used prompts like this with young children, it has been helpful for them to have an “explorer journal”. Here’s a great tutorial on how kids can make and keep a journal. They become a collection of kids’ theories, ideas, and experiences.
Some of my own favorite prompts?
- Tiny Spaces, Big Discoveries: Place a hula hoop on a small part of grass/dirt/concrete and really look. What do you notice? What’s living there? Are there any human-made objects hiding? Anything you didn’t expect?
- New Roads: Print a map of your neighborhood. On your map, make notes of where you walk regularly. Then take the time to go down a new street as you walk. Mark interesting things you find, buildings with unique features, and hidden treasures.
- Look Up: Lay in the grass/on the floor/on the sidewalk. What do you see? What changes when you look for a long time?
- Furniture Finds: What’s hiding under the couch? In the cushions? Create a museum of all the fun (and maybe disgusting) things that have been out of sight.
- Junk Drawer Diving: Have a junk drawer? Pull it out and sort things into different categories. What can you use to make junk-drawer inspired art? What’s the purpose of that one weird thing you found? Find out!
- Stare Down: Find a member of the household (pets included) and just watch each other. What are things you notice about each other? Anything new? It’s amazing what you can learn. “I didn’t know you had a scar above your eyebrow!”
Hearing “There’s nothing to do!!” too often lately? Our Screen-Free Bingo Card can help your kids to try something new! Download it in our resource library.
Have you watched The Social Dilemma yet? As if we needed more incentive to unplug, The Social Dilemma is a new film (out on Netflix) that explores the sometimes frightening systemsbehind social media and how it is guiding our day to day life.
Our suggestion? Host a ‘virtual screening’ by scheduling a time that older members of your family or your friend group will watch. Then, have a discussion. Ask yourself- what does this all mean for our kids?
Our very own Jean Rogers, Director of the Children’s Screen Time Action Network, has been engaged in these dialogues, too, most recently with Audrey Monke on the Sunshine
Parenting podcast. Check out their discussion here.
Learn more about the film here.
Have you checked out our School Organizing Kit yet?
Children enrolled in school need real breaks built into their weeks. That’s why we’re partnering with school districts to help them to spread a simple message: go screen-free one day per week. Interested in promoting Screen-Free Saturdays at your school for the benefit of children, families, and educators?
Our new School Organizing kit features all that you need to build a campaign at your school, including a letter to parents, new SFS pledge cards, flyers, and more.
Plus, share your stories with us. We’ll be highlighting stories of successful screen breaks this month, and we’d love to share yours! Reach out by replying to this email or tagging us on social media @screenfreeweek or using the hashtag #screenfreesaturdays (after Saturday of course!).
P.S. Make sure to stay connected with all of our Screen-Free Saturdays ideas, resources, and fun by taking the pledge: