Screen-Free Week 2019 was the best yet! Communities and families gathered to create, connect, and celebrate at 1,000 Screen-Free Week events in 24 countries and 49 states – and on every continent except Antarctica!
Whether it was building new worlds out of cardboard boxes or enjoying a long walk that ended with ice cream, kids and adults played together, explored together, and just plain got to spend time together! We loved hearing about the new things people explored and the old interests they rediscovered with their time away from screens.
Residents of Canfield, OH enjoyed community activities throughout Screen-Free Week, including a chalk drawing contest judged by the mayor and a town-wide pizza and dance party. According to City Manager Wade Calhoun, their celebration was a success! “Our community feedback was 100% positive!” said City Manager Wade Calhoun. “Everyone who attended the events was thankful and appreciated the initiative. We already are getting commitments for next year.”
During his family’s Screen-Free Week celebration in Providence, Rhode Island, 9 year-old William wrote his own newspaper. The top stories? His school’s taco night, and the opening of his very own 4-star pizzeria!
In New Market, MD, families enjoyed making fairy garden gates at the The Original Playhouse Children’s Museum.
In Christchurch, NZ, Screen-Free Week organizer Miriam McCaleb and her daughter both learned something new. “I LOVED Screen-Free Week,” Miriam told us. “I always do. My little girl learned to ride her bike without trainer wheels and I learned to play gin rummy! When it was over on Monday morning, my little girl was sad! She digs it, too!” Miriam also wrote an op-ed about Screen-Free Week in her local newspaper, encouraging other families to get in on the fun!
In Tehachapi, CA, Screen-Free Week organizer Elisa Carlson hosted what sounds like the coolest cooking class ever! With help from Tehachapi’s historic Errea House and Healthy Hands Cooking, Elisa’s students got a view into history with a tour of the historic house. Afterward, they made flower arrangements, table settings, and their very own early-1900s-style meal using fresh ingredients and old-school methods! “I love promoting wonder in children’s’ lives – wonder that can be so limited by man-made technology,” said Elisa. “I believe you can find wonder in the juiciness of a tomato and in the tiny petals of a flower as well as in contemplation of how people lived in our hometown 100 years ago!”
In Minneapolis, MN, the City of Lakes Waldorf School became a screen-free sanctuary for the week, and students decorated the building with notes on their favorite screen-free activities.
Families in Chilton, WI, students enjoyed a full week of screen-free fun! On one day, the Eastshore Humane Society brought some furry friends for kids and parents to greet. And later that week, families crafted together during Create and Read night.
In Buffalo, NY, Vicki Martinez’s daughter painted a picture nearly as tall as she is!
In the small town of Burns, OR, Harney District Hospital outreach coordinator Savanna Cate organized a SFW Pledge outreach table at Hines Middle School. Savanna says that they were able to genuinely engage with over 100 students! She found that students were really open about their screen use, and that they had a lot of questions about the screen time habits of the adults in their lives. “I feel confident this generation has a good grasp on the importance of active vs sedentary activities,” said Savanna. “I can’t wait to see how this campaign helps to shape our beloved youth in America.”
While CCFC staffer David Monahan’s family was celebrating Screen Free Week, six-year-old Lillian adorned the living room TV with some of her favorite stuffed animals. Lillian also put on an outdoor concert, with the help of her trusty air guitar and a mic stand made out of a tree branch, and got her family to help clean up nature: “Screen-Free Week is a good time to go outside, walk in the park, and pick up trash,” Lillian says. “If we take care of the world, the world will take care of us.”
At Mounds Park Academy in MN, Russ Purdy kept up what might be one of our favorite Screen-Free Week traditions. For the 22nd (yes, 22nd!) year in a row, Russ challenged his students to go screen-free, promising that “If 45 or more Lower School students signed up and “survived” the week screen-free, I would color my hair pink.” The result? “We had 61 [students] sign up. Not only did students participate, but siblings and parents participated as well!”
The town of Round Hill, VA celebrated Screen-Free Week for the second time this year. Organizer Kathi Hottinger says it was “a joy” to help her town plan Screen-Free Week! Their celebration began with an Earth Day festival, where kids planted trees, learned about composting, and painted rocks. Other activities throughout the week included a family nature scavenger hunt and a family book fair.
Yorkshire Elementary in York, PA, filled their Screen-Free Week with fun family events. Students, families, and teachers loved the celebration, which included a hike, an ice cream social, and even a visit from an alligator named Wally! Principal Kim Stoltz especially enjoyed cardboard night, where parents helped their kids make cardboard creations. Although the school planned to display the crafts, Principal Stoltz says “the kids were so attached to what they created they ended up taking them home!”
Thanks so much to all the organizers, communities, and families who made Screen-Free Week 2019 such an exciting week for kids. We can’t wait to celebrate in 2020!