10 Ideas for Technology-Free Summer Days with Your Kids

By Carissa Garabedian, publisher Macaroni Kid Richmond July 14, 2018

Step away from the phone! Power off the Kindle! Turn off the TV!

There's no doubt about it. Parenting in the technology age is tough. But with a little creativity and planning, you can find ways get your tuned-in kids to turn off their devices.

Here are 10 ideas for things to do with your kids that will distract them from their technology this summer:

1. Surprise them with an "art box."

You don't have to buy anything new. Just use a tote to collect arts and crafts supplies from around your house -- you can even get creative with things like (clean!) recyclables, fresh flowers, and forgotten or broken toys -- and let them create a masterpiece straight from their imaginations.

2. Plan a picnic.

Eating outside is a simple pleasure for kids, whether it's in your own backyard or at a favorite park. Let them plan the menu, put the food together, and choose the spot. 

3. Plant a garden. 

They'll love to get dirty and you'll love teaching them about where their food comes from. Gardens don't have to take over your yard -- just a small patch is enough to grow some great vegetables. Or you can even just plant a few carrot seeds or a patio tomato plant in some pots. Include the kids every step of the way -- from planting to cooking the harvest.

4. Play games you loved as a child.

Board games or cards, classics like Go Fish, Candy Land and Monopoly have been family favorites for generations. Or get outside to play tag, jacks, or hopscotch. All your childhood favorites are sure to bring a smile to their faces -- and yours.  

These two adorable girls, daughters of Macaroni Kid Brentwood Publisher Renae Gonzalez, just needed some chalk and a driveway to create their version of an alphabet hopscotch game.

5. Sell lemonade.

Kids loooove lemonade stands. But the process involves more than just hawking lemonade -- they'll need to make signs, "build" their stand, make the lemonade, buy cups, and decide where their money is going to go (Ice cream? A new toy? A cause they care about?). Your little entrepreneurs can figure it all out, with perhaps just a little assist from you. Check your local laws to make sure your little ones don't also have to learn about hiring legal representation.

6. Read! 

Your local library probably incentivizes summer reading. Or you can do it yourself by setting up goals and a reading log for your child to fill out. Make daily, weekly, and summer-long goals for your child, or set up a contest for the whole family. For some ideas, check out these reading logs on Pinterest.

7. Walk together. 

A few times a week, add a walk to your day with the kids, whether it's around the neighborhood or exploring a new trail nearby. You'll be surprised at the things you and your kids talk about while just out for a simple stroll.

8. Find a penpal. 

You can find another child for your kiddo to write letters to, or simply send a letter to a favorite relative (and let them know to send one back to your child!). This is a great way for your kids to continue to practice their writing over the summer and gives you a chance to talk to them about everything from geography to different cultures.

9. Set up a scavenger hunt.

Setting up a scavenger hunt is easy to do: Just write out simple clues that lead from one to the next. A little prize at the end -- a new book, a cookie, or a homemade coupon for an ice cream cone -- will thrill them. Once they're done with your scavenger hunt, have your kids set one up for you to complete. They'll probably have more fun watching you try to figure out their clues than they did when they got to do it themselves!

10. Check your Macaroni Kid events calendar! 

Our calendar is stuffed full of events to help you find your tech-free family fun this summer -- and all year long! Make sure to check it out every day, and sign up for our weekly newsletter.

We know that unplugging kids in today's tech world isn't easy, but giving them fun alternatives can help turn kids away from their screens -- without a single technology tantrum!