Thankfully, Christmas allows most of us to pull away from our daily computer screen scene, but it often draws us closer to our TV’s or consumed by a the latest smartphone (which has everything we think we need apart from food and toilet paper), netbook or tablet, we were so generously gifted this holiday. Then before you know it, it’s all over and we are back at our desks, back on our phones (not that we ever left them) and back to our daily screen scene. Your eyes may not have turned square, but it's pretty well-recognised by the medical professionals that too much screen time can be seriously bad for the peepers. Blue light from screens isn't just keeping us awake; it may also damage the retina, and eye strain from too much device use is increasing.
Furthermore, the use of any device with an electronic screen seems to require the need to sit down, or at least be still, while using. The sedentary nature, combined with a need for unhealthy convenience food, can increase the risk of obesity. Children in particular are naturally full of energy and have an inborn need to run, jump and otherwise be active.
So it’s time to get the family back into a three-dimensional space and we are here to help with these 6 screen-less activities.
Dust off the board games
Many kids and adults alike are glued to their games consoles, playing against other online contenders far and wide, interacting in a strange digital reality. Bring the family back to earth with some good old fashioned board games. This is a great way to share that mutual competitive streak and interact with each other, keeping those social skills intact. If you are lucky enough to reside near one of these newfangled board game eateries, book a table, eat, play, win and leave your phones at home!
Take a Hike
With some of the world’s best hiking trails at your fingertips, there is no excuse to no step outside and indulge in some nature. Walk and talk, walk and sing, or just walk to the sounds of your surroundings, but get out of the office, out of the house and soak up the real world in front of you. Don't live anywhere near a trail or prefer not to head away from civilization? Then take a simple stroll around the block or head to your local playground and enjoy the swings and monkey bars. You can even hide the source and create a screen scavenger hunt in your own house!
Unleash your inner artistic abilities
Have you heard? Colouring books are no longer just for kids! No really, there is an adult colouring book revolution and it has us hooked! You can choose from all sorts of unique designs, pictures and patterns and find colouring pencils in every shade imaginable. So grab one for the kids and one for you and get colouring inside, or outside the lines…
Ready, Steady, Cook!
Make mealtimes more interesting by cooking together. Let each person prepare one element of the dish or even better, let each person make their favourite dish and have a potluck family dinner. His is a great way to get the kids learning about where their food comes from and educate them on healthy meal preparation. You can even do something as simple as a pizza night, making pizza dough from scratch (or buying freshly prepared dough) and each personalize your own pizza with your favourite toppings. Once dinner is served, make sure you eat together, with no phones at the table and the TV turned off.
Read a Book
If you need to escape from reality, you don’t need a screen to run to. Instead, pick up a book and get lost in the pages of someone else’s story. Keeping your brain active and engaged prevents it from losing power. Just like any other muscle in the body, the brain requires exercise to keep it strong and healthy and when you read a book, you have to remember an assortment of characters, their backgrounds, ambitions, history, and subtleties, as well as the various arcs and sub-plots that weave all the way through. If you're not a fan of fiction, read something you can learn from. Everything you read fills your head with new bits of information, and you never know when it might come in handy. The more knowledge you have, the better-equipped you are to tackle any challenge you’ll ever face.
Learn a new screen-less skill
Learning across our lives is essential for keeping up with an ever-changing world. If we stop learning things, we can stagnate and actually move backwards, in both our professional and personal lives. Developing a new skill will influence the way you do things day to day and is very important for our self-esteem. Learning something new keeps brain cells active and engaged and allows us to deepen our understanding of the world and unleash our potential. Trying anything different ensures you meet new people, some of whom will have similar interests to you. You could make a bunch of new friends and really enhance your social or work life. Learning a foreign language, taking up a martial art, learning to play a musical instrument or trying ballroom dancing are just a few of our favourite suggestions.