Welcome spring with these screen-free family activities

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The temperature’s rising, and spring is on its way. While screentime has become an accepted part of everyday life, American families may miss the opportunity to enjoy the upcoming season. Learn why this is a problem and get inspired with screen-free family activities to connect with loved ones indoors and out this spring.

A family hiking in the woods in springtime.
These seven screen-free spring activities are sure to bring your family together, whether that’s indoors or out. Photo credit: Depositphotos.

Individual screen time impacts families

According to Datareportal’s Digital 2023: Global Overview Report, Americans average almost 6.6 hours of internet usage and screen time daily. With just 24 hours in a day, this amount of individual screen time limits opportunities for family interactions. It may negatively hinder verbal communication between spouses or parents and children and reduce opportunities to create cherished family memories.

Yet dragging kids and sometimes parents away from their favorite devices can prove challenging. Use these simple, screen-free ideas to welcome spring as a family.

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Head outdoors

Warmer weather, melting snow and more sun is why spring is the ideal time to entice parents and kids away from their phones, tablets and laptops. Remember to dress appropriately for screen-free outdoor family activities and check the forecast since spring weather changes quickly.

Plant a garden

Planting a backyard garden gives families with members of all ages a chance to try their hand at growing flowers, herbs or vegetables. Give your preschooler and elementary-aged children a trowel and seeds to plant for their favorite vegetables.

Get older children involved in planning a garden layout and selecting vegetables. Encourage teens to dig new flower beds or add compost to an existing garden. 

Fly a kite

Dr. Anthony Anzalone, clinical psychologist at Stony Brook Medicine in Stony Brook, New York, says when it comes to screen-free family activities for spring, sometimes simpler is better. “Go fly a kite!” says Anzalone. “It helps build awareness in the moment, can involve all of the family working together and helps build appreciation and awareness of the environment around you.”

Choose a breezy spring day to fly kites as a family. Make your own or buy a couple at your local hardware store. Then, head to an open field or park without overhead lines, trees or other obstructions that could get in the way of your kite-flying fun.

Celebrate spring 

Also known as the first day of spring, celebrate the northern hemisphere’s vernal or spring equinox on March 19 this year, according to the Farmer’s Almanac. The equinox occurs when the sun passes the celestial equator in a south-to-north direction.

Historically, the spring equinox signifies the end of winter throughout North America and a time of fertility and rebirth in ancient traditions. Check your local listings for family events such as sunrise viewing events, spring feasts and seed planting activities.

Make maple syrup

In some states, maple syrup season heralds the beginning of spring. Tapping trees to collect sap for making syrup can be an outdoor family affair fun for all ages, especially if maple syrup, maple sugar or maple candy samples are offered.

Spring cleanup

Combine this screen-free family activity with getting fresh air by performing valuable community service. Bring gloves and garbage bags to spend an afternoon clearing trash from roadsides or a favorite park.

Get creative in finding more outdoor screen-free spring activities for kids and parents that will help you create memories. Check online social media calendars and websites for free spring events such as outdoor concerts, charity spring walks, bike rides or scavenger hunts for the whole family.

Indoor spring activities

Spring weather may include rain, sleet and wet snow. When the weather’s bad, try indoor screen-free activities that include the whole family. 

Plan for bad weather

Plan for indoor spring family activities by listing three activities suited to your family’s lifestyle and maturity. Gather supplies or equipment in a tote bag or box.

Preparing ahead of time equips parents with a ready-to-go screen-free activity, reducing the temptation to turn on the television or gaming console to soothe pouting preschoolers or irritable teenagers. So the weather forecast looks grim, grab the bag and start immediately to head off preschooler pouts or teen tantrums.

Books and blocks

If your family includes preschool and kindergarten-aged children, build spring-themed building blocks or Lego creations. Read spring-related picture books, draw or paint spring scenes with flowers or baby farmyard animals or use spring-themed playdough mats to shape flowers and birds.

Crafts and kitchen time

Indoor spring activities for teens and tweens may include hands-on arts and crafts such as creating clay planters for spring flowers, making suncatchers or whipping up favorite spring recipes. Depending on your region, dishes could include strawberry, spring salad or dandelion recipes

Anzalone says making a meal together offers more than just an alternative to screentime. “It combines quality time with loved ones and teaches independence skills.”

Get sprouting

Not all spring gardening activities happen outdoors. When the rain clouds appear, grab potting soil, seed packets and seed-starting supplies.

Encourage family members of all ages and abilities to start seeds indoors. Grow sprouts from seeds, then use them to top your favorite meal. Or plant an indoor garden to transplant outdoors when the weather clears.

Plan screen-free spring activities now

With spring on the doorstep, now’s the perfect time for families to put down their gadgets and spend quality time together. Enjoy the outdoors and strengthen family bonds with gardening, kite flying and getting involved in community cleanups.

On rainy spring days, try age-appropriate fun and educational indoor activities like crafts, cooking and planting gardens. By choosing these screen-free activities, families can strengthen their connections with each other and make awesome memories this spring.

Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The contents of this article are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice. The content presented here is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or dietary changes. Reliance on any information provided by this article is solely at your own risk.

Sarita Harbour is a homeschooling, homesteading mom and a long-time business and finance writer. She created An Off Grid Life to help people become more self-reliant. Sarita and her family live off the grid in Canada’s Northwest Territories. 

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