This post was sponsored by Amazon as part of an Ambassador Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.
When I was in elementary school, our principal started an annual tradition he called, TV Turnaround. TV Turnaround was designed as an entire week where students would accept the challenge to not watch television for an entire week. At the end of that week, parents had to sign off that their child(ren) did, in fact, complete the challenge. Of course, this was not mandatory, however for children who completed the challenge, there was a host of rewards, like a pizza party, random prizes given out to children who completed it, and my principal would even get in a dunk tank if the participation level was over 85%.
I’d honestly forgotten all about this annual challenge until I was reading a Berenstain Bear book with my kids (Too Much TV) where Mama Bear decides to turn the television off for a week.
Well, times have changed quite a bit since I was in elementary school, 25 years ago. Televisions are still very much a part of just about every American household, but now we also have smartphones, tablets, handheld video game devices, and laptops. We even have a DVD system in our minivan. Without a doubt, my children have more screen time than I ever had as a child.
Hear me out – I’m not vilifying screen time! I enjoy screen time just as much as my children do and firmly believe it is okay to relax that way sometimes. Each of my 4 older children have their own Fire HD Kids Edition Tablets and not only do they enjoy using them, but there are also a lot of educational aspects that come along with them.
However, sometimes I feel like my children miss out on other things because they are too busy with their screens.
Thinking back to my days of TV Turnaround gave me an idea — next week we are going to do Screen Turnaround in our home. For one solid week, we are going to put the screens away and instead look for ways my children can be entertained without a screen.
How to Survive a Week Without Screen Time
I have to admit that I am certainly guilty, at times, of using the screen to occupy my children so I can get other things accomplished. I have a secret weapon though that I plan to employ during the times when I need someone else to read to my kids, play with my kids, help my kids with schoolwork, etc.
Alexa entered our world a few months ago and she has been a great help to our family! We have the Echo Dot Kids Edition that we keep upstairs but also bring downstairs sometimes so we can use Alexa for homeschooling. Our kids tend to take it from one room to the next – I clearly need to get more so we don’t have to keep moving it around!
We also have the Echo Show which I keep in our kitchen. I use the Echo Show quite a bit while I’m fixing dinner to watch my favorite shows, catch up on trending news, or listen to music. I also use the web browser on the Echo Show to pull up recipes. There’s not a lot of stuff I keep on my countertops because I like a clean, clutter-free look, but the Echo Show is one that is here to stay!
How to Have Screen-Free Fun with the Alexa
Because we have a subscription to FreeTime on Alexa, she is able to engage my children in all sorts of screen-free fun. The activities offered through FreeTime are SO expansive!
Listen to a Story
The Echo Dot Kids Edition is always ready to tell my kids a story. I love to read to them, but sometimes it’s just not possible. My Disney-loving kids love that Alexa will read them audiobooks about their favorite Disney characters. Sometimes I will even just quickly turn it on from my parent dashboard. Without having to say a word my children will be gathered around Alexa within minutes quietly listening to a story (WIN!).
We also set up Audible for our Echo devices so that Alexa can read my children their favorites books. For Gideon, that means How the Grinch Stole Christmas. It doesn’t matter the season, he loves this story! It’s a long one for me to read, so I love that I can pass that task along to Alexa when I am busy with other matter of running our household.
Disney Personality Quiz
This is just pure Disney fun! Alexa will ask a series of questions for various quizzes. One of the recent ones I heard one of my children take was, What Lion King Character Are You?. It was a really cute quiz and my daughter ended up being Nala.
Do you remember the classic computer game, Lemonade Stand? You can play it virtually on Alexa! I love that this game is not only fun for my kids, but they are learning about entrepreneurship, math skills, and using logic and reasoning.
One of our favorite things to do in the evening is to have a good old fashioned dance party! The Echo Dot Kids Edition makes it easy to listen to kid-friendly tunes together!
This is just a very brief sampling of all of the many ways you can use Alexa and the Echo Dot Kids Edition with kids. I feel like I learn a new feature to try out each week. Alexa has been such a great resource to provide a fun and educational experience for our family through audio-books, educational skills and multi-player games, bedtime routines, educational Q&A and more. I’m constantly singing her praises to my friends!
I would love to challenge you to join Screen Turnaround next week with our family!
I’ve put together a list of 35 screen-free activities you can do with your kids during this time.
- Use your Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition for the activities listed above (plus any others your family enjoys)
- Play a board game
- Play with play dough
- Go for a walk
- Ride bikes
- Sing songs
- Read books
- Go to the park
- Visit a museum
- Pick up trash in your neighborhood
- Bake Cookies
- Deliver fresh cookies to service personnel (police, firefighters, etc.)
- Write poems
- Write to a penpal
- Volunteer at an animal shelter
- Volunteer at a nursing home
- Volunteer at a soup kitchen
- Make a bird feeder
- Make a squirrel feeder
- Organize toys
- Try a new sport
- Create an indoor herb garden
- Go on a scavenger hunt
- Start a sewing project
- Spend some time with elderly relatives
- Build with blocks
- Fly a kite
- Go camping (if it’s too cold, camp in your living room!
- Build a fort
- Have a dance party
- Make up your own stories and tell them to each other
- Paint or color a picture
- Go on a picnic
I hope you’ll join us!
What’s that? You don’t have an Echo Dot? Well, you’re in luck! Amazon is giving one away to TEN lucky readers right now! Just enter using the entry form below. I-C will randomly select winners from all program entries and Amazon will facilitate fulfillment of the winning prizes of 10 Winners. Good luck!