Summer is here, which means that kids are going to be upping their screen time. In fact, the amount of time kids spend online in summer months is staggering; kids ages two to eight spend 2 ½ to three hours a day looking at a screen and that nearly doubles for kids ages eight to 12. Teens? They spend roughly 40 hours a week online.
But, that doesn’t mean that all the time they spend online can’t be productive.
In fact, there are plenty of opportunities for kids — and their families — to enhance their lives, even if their screen time increases during the summer. It’s an online world and I think it’s incredibly important to become a mentor and an example to children by showing them how to utilize these tools in positive ways.
It isn’t always easy to wean kids off of their screens entirely, but it is easier to get them interested and participating in more appropriate academic, constructive and fun activities online.
My top picks for activities families can do online
- Get creative! When my family travels, we tap the kids to create mini movies of our vacations. They are responsible for identifying clips to save and then editing them into a movie of our time together. By the time we return from our travels, we have an entire documentary of our holiday. Not only does this engage the kids during the trip since they’re actively thinking about the experiences they are doing, but it also allows them to get creative! We use Final Cut Pro, but there are lots of editing programs for your movies.
- Play games. I will always be a Words with Friends fan because it connects me with my aunts, but there are many other games that allow users to compete with others in fun, social ways. Educational games keep kids on their toes in the summer months in a fun (non-school) environment. But, remember, if you choose to play games, play only with people you know in real life.
- Learn a new instrument. There is so much free content out there to learn how to play musical instruments. The best part? You teach yourself with programs like Guitar Tabs or an online Master Class in singing or piano.
- Learn a new language. Apps like DuoLingo make it easy and engaging to learn a new language. Learn at your own pace, on your own time and by the end of the summer, see how fluent you and your family are.