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22 Interesting Non Tech Activities To Do With Your Kids This Summer

22 Interesting Non Tech Activities To Do With Your Kids This Summer

If you think that your kids might be spending too much time in front of a screen, then you are absolutely right.

Our daily lives have become digital. We work on computers, keep our phones on us all the time and come home to relax in front of the TV. Even our cars and our coffee machines are digital.

But that doesn’t mean it’s good for us, and sitting in front of a screen all day definitely isn’t good for our children. In fact, spending too much time in front of a screen can not only make kids gain weight, studies show that it also makes them sad, sleep poorly and develop concentration issues.

It’s really important to your child’s health, development and their relationship with you (and ultimately to other people in the outside world) that you spend time with them, doing non-tech, screen-free activities.

But what can you do with your kid that is screen-free? Parents often find it challenging to think of interesting non-tech activities to do with their kids. So here are 22 ideas to get you started:

1. Cook a meal together.

Even if it is something really simple, get the kids to do jobs like grate cheese or stir a pot (older children).

They love shaping meat balls and beating up eggs too. Children of all ages love to be part of the dinner making process and it is a great way to bond with your kids while you’re busy, and, most importantly, it keeps them away from the TV / PC / video game. (No they may not grate cheese in front of the TV).

2. Go on a neighborhood adventure.

Whether you live in the city or out in the sticks, nothing could be simpler (or less expensive) than walking around your neighborhood together.

My kids and I like to make up stories about people and places that we see while we walk along. It’s good exercise and it makes them more aware of their surroundings. Your teens might need a bit more convincing to get them going, but all children enjoy getting out and about.

Younger children love to stop and look at things (leaves, bugs, anything) for what may seem like ages. That’s fine. Their brains are processing and exploring the real world. Let them take their time.

3. Make play dough.

Probably the easiest thing in the world you can make with your kids is play dough. Simply combine in a saucepan:

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2 Cups flour
1 Cup salt
2 Cups water
2 Tablespoons cooking oil
2 Tablespoons Cream of Tatar
2 Tablespoons food coloring of your choice

Cook them all together until it pulls away from the sides of the pot in a ball. Remove from heat and allow to cool, kneading it occasionally.

For different colors, wait until after the dough is cool before adding the color. Then kneed in different colors to different sections. Kids love to play with dough, even if you don’t have cookie cutters.

4. Get a trampoline.

Trampolines can be an enormous load of fun and a great way to get your kids outdoors. They are also a good way to expend some of your kids’ limitless energy.

Just remember to focus on safety – read trampoline reviews carefully and note important details, such as whether it comes with an enclosure, the recommended weight limit, and the maximum bounce height.

5. Make a pavement Twister-board.

You don’t even need to own a regular Twister-board to play the game (although the ready-made spinner is useful).

Buy sidewalk chalk in four different colors (it’s really inexpensive) and find an old bucket lid or CD to trace around. Draw different color circles like a regular twister board on the sidewalk, the rood of your building or anywhere that you can hose off later. The kids will love the novelty of playing somewhere different and love that you are spending time being silly with them.

6. Build a jig saw puzzle together.

Depending on the age of your kids, you might do a 100 piece puzzle together, start a 1000 piece puzzle that keeps your quiet time busy for three days, or do five 12 piece puzzles in an hour. Puzzle building is great for fine motor development as well as developing visual closure.

7. Do a science experiment.

Kids love nothing better than things that blow up (as do Dads, so maybe this is a great activity for him to do with the kids). You will need an empty 2 liter soda bottle, a liter of vinegar, a packet of baking soda, a cork, a long screw and a piece of board.

First up you want to create your launch pad: work the screw through the piece of board or plank so that about an inch sticks out the other side. Now twist the cork onto the screw. You have your launch pad.

Next check that the cork fits snugly into the neck of the soda bottle, but is still loose enough to pop off easily in an “explosion.”
Now pour the vinegar into the bottle.

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You have to act quite fast for the last bit: pop the baking soda packet (it should be paper, otherwise wrap it in tissue) into the vinegar and quickly put cork into the bottle. Turnover and stand back.

When the baking soda and vinegar mix the soda bottle will pop right off the cork and fly several meters into the air.

Note: this is strictly an outdoor activity!

8. Eat a meal by candle light.

All meals should be family meals, eaten away from the TV with phones turned off. If your family will start a riot over this idea, then introduce “candle lit dinner” night.

The organic light source somehow makes it easier to have a conversation and connect to the people who are eating together.

It also creates a sense of occasion, and kids are likely to remember the special evenings spent with your full attention in a magical setting.

9. Make a water table.

You don’t need any fancy equipment for this fun summer activity. Just take out a couple of bowls, containers and jugs (preferably plastic or enamel) and fill them with water.

Make some jugs of water blue, some red and some yellow. Then find a variety of objects that float and sink and let kids experiment.

10. Bubble Up.

As with the water table above, you will need a few jugs and bowls of water outside somewhere. Then add some bubble bath (or washing up liquid) to some of the bowls.

Now give each child about half a meter of plastic fish tank piping (you can buy this really cheaply by the meter at most pet stores) and get them to blow bubbles. They will play with them for hours!

11. Make a fire.

If you don’t have your own back yard then you will have to take the kids somewhere that you can safely build an outdoor fire.

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Get the kids to scrunch balls of old newspaper to start it with and help you break up twigs for kindling and build a fire. Then sit around and roast marshmallows, tell stories and maybe even watch the stars come out.

12. Make your paper double.

Sticky tape pieces of newspaper together until you have a piece of paper the size of each person present. Then get them to lie down and trace around them with a magic marker so that you have an exact tracing of each child. Then get them to trace you

Help them cut out their double and tack it up so that you can fill yourselves in with paint, markers and crayons. This isn’t going to produce master pieces but they will have a lot of fun.

13. Bake cookies from scratch!

This is much easier to do than you think and kids of all ages love it! Here are some awesome easy cookie recipes.

If the kids get bored waiting for them to bake, let them help you wash up! Then they can decorate brown paper bags to keep the cookies in.

14. Give them chores!

Yes, we really are suggesting that your child be involved in keeping the house clean. Not only is it really good for them to get into the habit of taking responsibility for themselves, many of them actually get a sense of satisfaction out of contributing to the household.

Get them the proper gear – the best vacuum cleaner or hand vacuum, gloves, uniforms, whatever it is that gets them motivated. Give age appropriate jobs; a four year old can help pick up four teddy bears or pack up his cars. He can’t wash the dishes.

Give plenty of praise for jobs well done. Even teens secretly love being thanked and recognized when they have been helpful.

15. Read a book.

Read to your small children as often as you can. They love it. They love to hear your voice, they love to spend time with you and they love stories. Encourage older children to read too. Take them to the library to choose their own books. Make sure that your kids see you enjoying a good book from time to time too. You need to lead by example. A child who reads will be an adult who thinks!

16. Draw silly pictures.

One of the things that puts older children off to drawing is the feeling that they need to produce brilliant work. A wonderful activity is to draw intentionally silly pictures. Give each person a page folded over lengthways into four sections.

Without looking at each other’s drawings each person draws a head and neck, folding the paper over so that only the bottom of the neck sticks out. Then everyone swops papers and draws a midriff. Repeat the process until the whole body has been drawn. Then unfold your papers to reveal the silly pictures.

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17. Make peashooters and have a peashooter war.

If the idea of having tiny blobs of paper flying around your head doesn’t appeal to you, then make a target and score points for hitting it.

18. Oh go fly a kite!

Flying a kite on a windy day is something that every child should do with their parents. You can make your own, or if you really feel you lack the ability to make a flyable kite, buy a cheap one. Either way your kids will have a blast in the great outdoors.

19. Get them to volunteer.

Older kids and teens can get a lot of value out of helping others. It teaches them about community and caring for others without the familiar complaints about doing things for home.

Old age homes always need help. Whether it’s reading to someone who can’t see any more or painting the old ladies toe nails you can be sure they will appreciate the help.

Animal shelters, soup kitchens and children’s homes also always need a hand. Discuss it with your child first to see what they feel they would like to get involved with, and then pay a visit to the establishment yourself to make sure that everything is above board.

20. Build a fort!

Every child loves a fort. You can make a tent out of sheets draped over the back of the sofa or create a HQ out of an old fridge box (check to see if your local furniture shop is throwing them out) or you can get really creative and make your child their own tepee or tree house (calling Dad). Whatever kind of fort you make, the kids will love to play in it, read in it, hide in it and just hang out in it.

21. Put on a magic show.

Older kids love learning card tricks. This is one activity you may need to make a slight screen exception for, because the easiest way to learn card tricks is watch a few videos.

However, once the videos are watched, turn the computer off again and get them to go and practice. Then, either let them put on a show for you or help them put on a show for grandma, dad, or someone else.

Remember to be suitably amazed and surprised by their genius.

22. Play a family board game.

Last but not least, there is always the timeless classics. If you don’t own any board games, you can sometimes borrow them from the library.

Kids love board games. They engage the whole family and are usually loads of fun (although you might want to avoid letting siblings sit next to each other).

Card games work just as well and cards are fairly inexpensive to buy.

Featured photo credit: VIKTOR HANACEK via picjumbo.imgix.net

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Last Updated on November 12, 2020

Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (and What to Do About It)

Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (and What to Do About It)

If you find that you’re feeling tired all the time, it’s important to understand that it’s a common problem for many. With all of the demands of daily life, being tired seems to be the new baseline. In fact, two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week.[1]

If you’re tired of feeling exhausted, then I’ve got some great news for you. New research is helping us gain critical insights into the underlying causes of feeling tired all the time.

In this article, we’ll discuss the latest reasons why you’re so tired and practical steps you can take to finally get to the bottom of your fatigue and feel rested.

What Happens When You’re Too Tired

If you sleep just two hours less than the normal eight hours, you could be as impaired as someone who has consumed up to three beers.[2] And you’ve probably experienced the impact yourself.

Here are some common examples of what happens when you’re feeling tired:[3]

  • Trouble focusing because memory and learning functions may be impaired.
  • Experience mood swings and an inability to differentiate between what’s important and what’s not.
  • Dark circles under your eyes and/or your skin make look dull and lackluster in the short term and over time your skin may get wrinkles and show signs of aging because your body didn’t have time to remove toxins during sleep.
  • Finding it more difficult to exercise.
  • Immune system may weaken, causing you to pick up infections more easily.
  • Overeating because not getting enough sleep activates the body’s endocannabinoids, even when you’re not hungry.
  • Metabolism slows down, so what you eat is more likely to be stored as belly fat.

Why Are You Feeling Tired All the Time?

Leading experts are starting to recognize that there are three primary reasons people feel tired on a regular basis: sleep deprivation, fatigue, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

Here’s a quick overview of each common cause of fatigue and feeling tired all of the time:

  1. Tiredness occurs from sleep deprivation when you don’t get high-quality sleep consistently. It typically can be solved by changing your routine and getting enough deep, restorative sleep.
  2. Fatigue occurs from prolonged sleeplessness, which could be triggered by numerous health problems, such as mental health issues, long-term illness, fibromyalgia, obesity, sleep apnea, or stress. It typically can be improved by changing your lifestyle and using sleep aids or treatments, if recommended by your physician.
  3. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a medical condition also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis that occurs from persistent exhaustion that doesn’t go away with sleep.

The exact cause of CFS is not known, but it may be due to problems with the immune system, a bacterial infection, a hormone imbalance, or emotional trauma. It typically involves working with a doctor to rule out other illnesses before diagnosing and treating CFS.[4]

Always consult a physician to get a personal diagnosis about why you are feeling tired, especially if it is a severe condition.

You can learn more about some causes of fatigue in this video:

Feeling Tired Vs Being Fatigued

If lack of quality sleep doesn’t seem to be the root cause for you, then it’s time to explore fatigue as the reason you are frequently feeling tired.

Until recently, tiredness and fatigue were thought to be interchangeable. Leading experts now realize that tiredness and fatigue are different.

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Tiredness is primarily about lack of sleep. However, fatigue is a perceived feeling of being tired that is much more likely to occur in people who have depression, anxiety, or emotional stress and/or are overweight and physically inactive[5].

Symptoms of fatigue include:

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Low stamina
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Anxiety
  • Low motivation

These symptoms may sound similar to those of tiredness, but they usually last longer and are more intense.

Unfortunately, there is no definitive reason why fatigue occurs because it can be a symptom of an emotional or physical illness. However, there are still a number of steps you can take to reduce difficult symptoms by making a few simple lifestyle changes.

How Much Sleep Is Enough?

The number one reason you may feel tired is because of sleep deprivation, which means you are not getting enough high-quality sleep.

Research suggests that most adults need 7 to 9 hours of high-quality, uninterrupted sleep per night[6]. If you’re sleep deprived, the amount of sleep you need increases.

Get the right amount of sleep to stop feeling tired.

    The key to quality sleep is being able to get long, uninterrupted sleep cycles throughout the night. It typically takes 90 minutes for you to reach a state of deep REM sleep where your body’s healing crew goes to work.

    Ideally, you want to get at least 3 to 4 deep REM sleep cycles in per night. That’s why it’s so important to stay asleep for 7 or more hours.

    Research also shows that people who think they can get by on less sleep don’t perform as well as people who get at least seven hours of sleep a night[7]

    If you are not getting 7 hours of high-quality sleep regularly, then sleep deprivation is the most likely reason you feel tired all the time. That is actually good news because sleep deprivation is much simpler and easier to address than the other root causes.

    It’s also a good idea to rule out sleep deprivation as the reason why you are tired before moving on to the other possibilities, such as fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which may require a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

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    4 Simple Changes to Reduce Fatigue

    Personally, I’m a big believer in upgrading your lifestyle to uplift your life. I overcame chronic stress and exhaustion by making these four changes to my lifestyle:

    1. Eating healthy, home-cooked meals versus microwaving processed foods or eating out
    2. Exercising regularly
    3. Using stressbusters
    4. Creating a bedtime routine to sleep better

    After I made the 4 simple changes in my lifestyle, I no longer felt exhausted all of the time.

    I was so excited that I wanted to help others replace stress and exhaustion with rest and well-being, too. That’s why I became a Certified Holistic Wellness Coach through the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute.

    Interestingly enough, I discovered that Dr. Sears recommends a somewhat similar L.E.A.N. lifestyle:

    • L is for Lifestyle and means living healthy, including getting enough sleep.
    • E is for Exercise and means getting at least 20 minutes of physical activity a day, ideally for six days a week.
    • A is for Attitude and means thinking positive and reducing stress whenever possible.
    • N is for Nutrition and means emphasizing a right-fat diet, not a low-fat diet.

    The L.E.A.N. lifestyle is a scientifically-proven way to reduce fatigue, get to the optimal weight, and to achieve overall wellness.[8]

    Living Healthy

    Getting enough high-quality sleep every day is the surefire way to help you feel less fatigued, more rested, and better overall.

    In fact, if you aren’t getting enough sleep, your body isn’t getting the time it needs to repair itself; meaning that if you are suffering from an illness, it’s far more likely to linger. In fact, long-term sleep deprivation has been linked to an increase in Alzheimer’s later in life[9].

    As unlikely as it sounds, though, fatigue can sometimes make it difficult to sleep. That’s why I’d recommend taking a look at your bedtime routine before you go to bed and optimize it based on sleep best practices.

    Here are 3 quick and easy tips for creating a pro-sleep bedtime routine:

    1. Unplug

    Many of us try to unwind by watching TV or doing something on an iPhone or tablet. However, tech can affect your melatonin production due to the blue light that they emit, fooling your body into thinking it’s still daytime. This won’t help you stop feeling tired all the time.

    Try to turn off all tech one hour before bed and create a tech-free zone in your bedroom.

    2. Unwind

    Use the time before bed to do something you find relaxing such as reading a book, listening to soothing music, meditating, or taking an Epsom salt bath.

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    3. Get Comfortable

    Ensure your bed is comfortable and your room is set up for sleep.

    Make sure you room is cool. 60-68 degrees is the ideal temperature for most people to sleep. Also, it’s ideal if your bedroom is dark and there is no noise.

    Finally, make sure everything is handled (e.g., laying out tomorrow’s clothes) before you get into your nice, comfy bed. If your mind is still active, write a to-do list to help you fall asleep faster.[10]

    This article also offers practical tips to build a bedtime routine: How to Build a Good Bedtime Routine That Makes Your Morning Easier

    Exercise

    Many people know that exercise is good for them, but they just can’t figure out how to fit it into their busy schedules.

    That’s what happened in my case, but when my chronic stress and exhaustion turned into systemic inflammation (which can lead to major diseases like Alzheimer’s), I realized it was time to change my sedentary lifestyle.

    I decided to start swimming because it was something I had always loved to do. Find an exercise you love and stick to it to stop feeling tired all the time. Ideally, get a combination of endurance training, strength training, and flexibility training during your daily 20-minute workout.

    If you haven’t exercised in a while and have a lot of stress in your life, you may want to give yoga a try as it will increase your flexibility and lower your stress.

    Attitude

    Stress may be a major reason why you aren’t feeling well all of the time. At least that was the case with me.

    When I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive, I felt chronically stressed and exhausted, but there was one thing that always worked to help me feel calmer and less fatigued: Breathing.

    But not just any old breathing. It was a special form of deep Yogic breathing called the “Long-Exhale Breathing” or “4-7-8 breathing” (or “Pranayama” in Sanskrit).

    Here’s how you do Long-Exhale Breathing:

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    1. Sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight and your hand on your tummy.
    2. Breathe in deeply and slowly from your diaphragm with your mouth closed while you count to 4 (ideally until your stomach feels full of air).
    3. Hold your breath while you mentally count to 7 and enjoy the stillness.
    4. Breathe out through your mouth with a “ha” sound while you count to 8 (or until your stomach has no more air in it).
    5. Pause after you finish your exhale while you notice the sense of wholeness and relaxation from completing one conscious, deep breath.
    6. Repeat 3 times, ensuring your exhale is longer than your inhale so you relax your nervous system.

    This type of “long-exhale breathing” is scientifically proven to reduce stress.

    When your exhale is twice as long as your inhale, it soothes your parasympathetic nervous system, which regulates the relaxation response.[11]

    Nutrition

    Diet is vital for beating fatigue if you’re feeling tired all the time – after all, food is your main source of energy.

    If your diet is poor, then it implies you’re not getting the nutrients you need to sustain healthy energy levels, which may lead to daytime sleepiness.

    Eating a diet for fatigue doesn’t need to be complicated or time-consuming though. For most people, it’s just a case of swapping a few unhealthy foods for a few healthier ones, like switching from low-fiber, processed foods to whole, high-fiber foods.

    Here’re 9 simple diet swaps you can make today:

    1. Replace your morning coffee with Matcha green tea and drink only herbal tea within six hours of bedtime.
    2. Add a healthy fat or protein to any carb you eat, especially if you eat before bed.
    3. Fill up with fiber, especially green leafy vegetables.
    4. Replace refined, processed, low-fiber pastas and grains with zucchini noodles and whole grains such as buckwheat, quinoa, sorghum, oats, amaranth, millet, teff, brown rice, and corn.
    5. Swap natural sweeteners for refined sugars, and try to ensure you don’t get more than 25g of sugar a day if you are a woman and 30g of sugar a day if you are a man.
    6. Replace ice cream with low-sugar alternatives.
    7. Swap omega-6, partially-hydrogenated oils such as corn, palm, sunflower, safflower, cotton, canola and soybean oil for omega-3 oils such as flax, olive, and nut oils.
    8. Replace high-sugar yoghurts with low-sugar, dairy-free yoghurts.
    9. Swap your sugar-laden soda for sparkling water with a splash of low-sugar juice.

    Also, ensure your diet is giving you enough of the daily essential vitamins and minerals. Most of us don’t get enough Vitamin D, Vitamin B-12, Calcium, Iron, and Magnesium. If you are low on any of the above vitamins and minerals, you may experience fatigue and low energy.

    That’s why it’s always worth having your doctor check your levels. If you find any of them are low, then try to eat foods rich in them.

    Alternatively, you might consider a high-quality multivitamin or specific supplement.

    The Bottom Line

    If you are tired of feeling tired all the time, then there is tremendous hope.

    If you are tired because you are not getting enough high-quality sleep, then the best remedy is a bedtime routine based on sleep best practices. If you are tired because you have stress and fatigue, then the best remedy are four simple lifestyle changes discussed above.

    Overall, adopting a healthier lifestyle is the ideal remedy for feeling more rested and energized.

    More Tips to Stop Feeling Tired All the Time

    Featured photo credit: Cris Saur via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] YouGov: Two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week
    [2] National Safety Council: Is Your Company Confronting Workplace Fatigue?
    [3] The New York Times: Why Are We So Freaking Tired?
    [4] Mayo Clinic: Chronic fatigue syndrome
    [5] Very Well Health: Differences Between Sleepiness and Fatigue
    [6] Advanced Sleep Medicine Services: NEW Guidelines: How much sleep do you need?
    [7] Mayo Clinic: Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick?
    [8] Ask Dr. Sears: The L.E.A.N. Lifestyle
    [9] National Institute on Aging: Sleep loss encourages spread of toxic Alzheimer’s protein
    [10] American Psychological Association: Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
    [11] Yoga International: Learning to Exhale: 2-to-1 Breathing

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