by Ashley Logsdon

3 Screen-Free Family Activities (Episode 263)

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Oh the frustrations with screen time and how quickly it can take over a household! Just like we can get into a rut of "dinner and a movie" for every date night, we can get into the same ruts in our home. And I can completely relate to "Friday Family Movie Night" trickling over to the whole weekend, and then the week, and soon enough, every night is an assumption we're going to plop down in front of the TV together! 

There is more to life than a screen. And there are more fun things you can do with your family that not only can create amazing connections, but set your children up with valuable life skills along the way. 

Are you fostering true connection through interaction with your family, or simply being entertained side-by-side?

Check out our podcast episode as we share some examples of what we've done.

Listen to this episode on iTunes, Pandora, Audible, SpotifyStitcherGoogle PlayTuneInYouTubeiHeartRadio,, Gaana or your RSS Feed 

****Keep in mind that the blog below is a complement to the podcast - we share some additional content on the podcast, so listen in, and then share with a friend!**** 

Replace Tech Time with Together Time

Instead of resorting to a screen to entertain you, what are other ways your family can connect and engage? So often we are simply receivers vs. engagers, and in our times of recharge, we can quickly slip away into not interacting with each other and simply living side by side. 

We know all too well how quickly screens can take over, and are definitely guilty of getting lost in Instagram reels and silly videos and having an evening get taken over quickly. 

And time and time again, whenever this happens, it's this feeling of looking up from a fog to the reality and realizing how much time has passed! How often does this set us into agitation and reactive mode, as we realize how much has slipped past us as we've been lost in a screen?

#1 - Cook a Meal Together

Have you considered cooking a meal together? Yes, even the youngest of kids can be a part of this process. There are so many dynamics you can address just in this one area! 

We've chosen themes for meals and then created full feasts, with every family member doing a part based on their skillset. We've had a Mediterranean meal, complete with Lebanese baba ganoush from the farmer's market (trying something new), and tabouli, baklava and spanakopita made from scratch. We've had sushi roll parties, where we lay out all the ingredients for our vegetarian rolls and we create our own. And we've had "food journeys" of simply trying new fruits we've never heard of before, and seeing what all we like! 

Think about these aspects - 

  • Grocery store/budget/recipe
    • As you plan for a meal, can you involve your children in the process? What is the theme of the meal? What recipes are you pulling? Do you have a budget? We've given our children a budget and let them loose in a grocery store to do the shopping themselves - what a great way for them to learn how to shop for what they need. 
  • Measuring/cooking/time management
    • When you're making the meal, there are so many learning opportunities. Our kids have learned through trial and error the importance of planning ahead (ensuring you have all the ingredients), calculating measurements (how do you double the recipe?), and that oh so valuable aspect of time management to actually get everything out and ready at the same time (not my forte!)
  • Serve/honor guests/manners
    • It's not even just the meal preparation - what about during the meal? Can you play "restaurant? Are you sharing insights on good manners and how to have a polite conversation at the table? What would be a good conversation? (Maybe this is an opportunity to bring out some Bright Littles Conversation Starters!)
  • Clean up/organize/housekeeping
    • And finally, make sure you follow through. Don't just invite your child to create the chaos of a big family meal and then you're left with the destruction. That's a great recipe for resentment and a "never again" attitude. Involve them in the whole process. How can they help with busing the table, putting leftovers away, or washing/drying dishes? 

Have a Tournament!

Yes, play is so valuable, and there are so many ways to do it! I get it that sometimes you're tired of Legos or playing house. Games are a great way to connect across the ages. Not only do kids learn a ton, it opens the door to talk about sportsmanship, strategy, calculating and more. 

There are the basics, like Dominoes, Chess, Checkers and Connect 4. Go a step further with strategy by playing things like Battleship, Trivial Pursuit, or Monopoly.

Here are just a few of our favorites:

We love the game Cashflow and how it's skyrocketed us all in our financial literacy and understanding of investing. This game has been so powerful, we've done a whole podcast episode about it

It's crazy to hear our 9-year-old quickly pipe up in an adult conversation about money and ask about what the ROI is. Our kids get passive income, and definitely have a rich perspective on debt, investments, and how to determine what's worth holding onto. 

This was my most favorite game from my own childhood. Coming from Amish roots in my family tree, this was a staple game at Grandma and Grandpa's. 

While it's fast-paced and requires quick thinking, you simply need to know your colors and number order up to ten in order to play. 

Not only does this game promote planning and even open the door to trading and collaboration, it can prompt a great conversation about times in the past - maybe you do this in relation with a Little House On The Prairie focus!

This is a game that can become an obsession, with add-ons and variations. Nathan and I used to play it in the evenings just the two of us!

This is a super fun game that helps with geography, and opens the doors to sharing stories about adventures all over. This is the expanded version - we recently played this with friends and loved the added complexity of finding not only places in the world to travel by train, but also linking them together by boats! 

Go for a basic Ticket To Ride for young kids, if you want - and stretch your thinking and focus by one of the many variations as you get into it! 

And Finally, Train Together

Yes, train together. Train for a 5k. Train for a bike race. Train to just be able to go on a hike together! It's amazing what this does for you all as a family. 

We've recently taken up trail running together. It started with just some basic hikes, and then us talking about possibly running, and day I just broke out in a spontaneous run on our walk...and everyone joined in! We kept going, and before we knew it, we were back at the beginning. We had so much fun we decided to try it again. 

This resulted in us going pretty consistently 4-5 times a week, and running a 1.6 mile loop. As we've gotten into it, we've been able to talk about respecting people's space (not running up on them), mindset - getting over the heat, exhaustion, cramps, etc - and learning about our personal best. 

We've enjoyed beating our times and celebrating as each person hits the finish line. And our goal will ultimately be to run a 5k together. 

Don't discount the conversations afterward - to talk about when you felt like you personally wanted to stop, what kept you going, and how good those endorphins felt at the end of your workout. 

Your Challenge

Pay attention to what happens during your evenings. Is it just a desperate escape from reality as you all resort to screens to veg? Do you have ways you connect other than side-by-side observation or going through homework? 

Try out at least one of these this week. What does it do for your family? Don't just try it; talk about it afterward. What did it feel like? What did you accomplish? What did you learn?

You are the best example for your child on how to navigate down time and recharge. Be very clear on the message you're sending. 

Your children need your presence more than presents. They want you to share life with them, not in spite of them. Celebrate who they are and how they can be a part of the world you want to create. And don't hesitate to highlight and appreciate how the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us. Namaste

About the author, Ashley Logsdon


Ashley Logsdon is a Family and Personality Styles Coach and Lifelong Learner. She and her husband Nathan are RVing the States and unschooling their 3 girls. Her mission is to shift the mindsets of families from reaction to intention, and guide them in creating the family they love coming home to. Looking deeper than the surface, we assess the strengths, triggers, and simplifying your lifestyle so you truly recognize how the uniqueness in each of us strengthens all of us.

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