"Screen Free" Summer Hours

By Karla Schettenhelm, Children's Ministry
The following is a blog about taking some extra time away from screens (phones, computers, televisions, etc.) this summer. Many of us had a lot of extra screen time the last few months due to school, work, meetings, etc. all being online. The blogger suggests some general ways to enjoy some time without screens. Following the blog are some specific ideas gathered by Karla Schettenhelm for the screen-free tips the blogger discusses.

The original blog

4 Tips for Faith-Focused “Screen-Free” Hours this Summer by Janine Bolling. This blog was published for the CPH blog on June 18, 2020. Please read it for the original content and then find specific ideas for you and your family gathered by Karla. 

Specific ideas to incorporate screen-free time into your summer

Crafts or Board Games

Crafts

There are many craft ideas in the Sunday school lessons found on the COS website under blogs in the At Home Lesson category. Pinterest has a wealth of craft ideas! There are many craft kits available to purchase at craft stores and online.

For some fun ideas for summer arts and crafts check out this link, 40 + sensational summer arts and crafts for kids.

A fun 4th of July idea is to make a noisy red, white, and blue shaker bottle. Use an empty plastic bottle; put red, white, and blue beads inside; you can also put jingle bells inside; (if color doesn’t matter to you, small pebbles or rice can be used); close the bottle; tie red, white and blue ribbon around the top of the bottle. Shake to make your own firework sounds! You can also fill the bottle with water adding beads and glitter – this will make a quieter sparkle bottle.

Board Games

There are many on-screen games, but there are also many actual board games allowing for screen-free time. You might have some classics to play with family, friends, neighbors, etc.  You might also want to pick a new one or two to purchase and enjoy!

Suggestions for young players

  • Candy Land
  • HiHo Cherry-O 
  • Colorama, Zingo! 
  • Hungry Hungry Hippos
  • Hoot Owl Hoot!
  • Roll and Play
  • The Sneaky, Snacky Squirrel Game
  • Eye Found It! Games (Richard Scarry’s Busytown and World of Disney, etc.)
  • Match/Memory games 
    • You can even make your own by drawing the cards, using stamps or stickers, or even using family pictures or pictures from the computer.
    • Here is a quick link for inspiration Make Your Own Memory Game

For older children and families

  • Trouble
  • Sorry
  • Clue
  • Monopoly (many versions)
  • Yahtzee
  • Jenga
  • Pictionary
  • Charades
  • Heads Up!
  • What Do You Meme? Family Edition
  • Throw Throw Burrito
  • Apples to Apples (Junior and regular versions)
  • Scattergories
  • 5 Second Rule
  • Pickles to Penguins!
  • Catan
  • This That & Everything

There are Bible Editions for many games

  • Bibleopoly
  • Apples to Apples – Bible Edition
  • Guesstures – Bible Edition
  • Outburst – Bible Edition
  • Scattergories – Bible Edition
  • Bible Taboo

Outside games

  • Cornhole
  • Horseshoes
  • Ring Toss
  • Yard Bowling
  • Ladder Golf
  • Washers
  • Giant Jenga
  • Giant Kerplunk
Most of these games can be purchased as well as made yourself. You can find fairly simple DIY instructions using Google or Youtube.

Walking Bridges, Greenways, and Parks

There are many beautiful parks not far from Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church where you, with or without family or friends, can enjoy God’s creation, prayer walks, and fun times.
In Livonia, Bicentennial Park is at 7 mile and Wayne roads. It has playground equipment, athletic fields and courts, walking trails, exercise space, and more.

Also in Livonia, Rotary Park is at 6 mile and Hubbard roads. It has universally accessible playground equipment, athletic courts, hiking trails in the woods, concrete walking trails, pavilions, picnic tables, green space, and more.  

More information about Livonia parks can be found on the Livonia Parks Division website. There are links to find the features you are interested in.

Up a few miles on Farmington Road from our church, Heritage Park is located on Farmington Road between Ten and Eleven Mile roads in Farmington Hills. This park has miles of hiking trails, a splash pad, playground, picnic area, in-line hockey rink, sand volleyball courts, and more.

Kensington Metropark is a regional park located in Milford. It includes hiking trails, paved hike-bike trails, beaches, splash pad, a nature center, picnic areas, a golf course, and more.

The closest State Park to Christ Our Savior Lutheran Church is Maybury State Park in Northville. Activities available are biking, hiking, horseback riding, fishing, picnicking and more.

Belle Isle Park in Detroit is another State Park nearby with a lot to offer. There is hiking, biking, fishing, swimming, picnicking, nature programs, and more. Some of the attractions at this park are the Dossin Great Lakes Museum, Belle Isle Nature Center, Belle Isle Aquarium, Livingstone Memorial Lighthouse and others. (Some of these attractions may be currently closed due to COVID 19).

Make a Time Capsule

Recent events have been truly historical.  Years from now a time capsule will help children (and adults) remember the history we lived through.
Time capsules can be purchased, or you can just use a box, a jar, or whatever you come up with.
Here are some printable pages that can be colored, filled in, etc. to help preserve the memories of this time, Quarantine Time Capsule.

Visual Faith Ministry has some COVID-19 resources that might provide insight in a time capsule – prayer sheets that could be filled in with prayers from this time, bookmarks with Bible verses that might help you focus on God through this turmoil, and prayer cards that share some thoughts about what people have been going through.

Depending on the size of the time capsule other items you could include are a roll of toilet paper (or an empty roll), a mask, an empty bottle of hand sanitizer, devotions you read, and a list of who you prayed for during this time including anyone who may have had the virus.

Anything about how your routine changed because of the pandemic could help you remember the experience; for example, write about how your family watched church on tv or on the computer because church buildings were closed.

Future generations will read about this time in history books. Time capsules will provide a personal look at how it really affected people.

Learn the History of a Culture Different than Your Own

In many ways this seems like a screen activity because researching another culture would often include googling topics to find information.

When libraries open, you can get some books about a culture and learn reading books instead of online material.

Another way to learn about other cultures is to talk to people who are different than you. Talk to a friend or a neighbor whose history is different than yours. See what they can tell you about their culture and share your culture with them.

Visiting museums is another way to learn about different cultures. Here is a short list of museums in our area that help teach about the history of people and their cultures.

Hopefully, some of these ideas have given you a jumping off point for how to spend some screen-free time. Instead of a constant WIFI connection this summer, take time yourself and with others to connect with God, the people He  has put in your life, and His creation.

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