Screen-Free Week and Children’s Book Week are April 29th to May 5th.
Screen-Free Week – CCFC’s Quick Reference Guide for Schools
Kids of all ages can celebrate Screen-Free Week! Preschools, elementary schools, and even middle and high schools around the country organize screen-free events at school and encourage students to unplug at home.
Screen-Free Week offers children and families an opportunity to trade digital entertainment for screen-free fun for an entire week. Schools have taken the lead in organizing memorable, fun, and creative events that foster interest in reading, physical play, exploring nature, and more. Class discussions and written assignments can help make the week richer, but aren’t required. (Also not required, but fun to try: screen-free home and school work!)
Homes, schools, the local library, nature centers, parks, playgrounds, bowling alleys, swimming pools, skating rinks, museums, and more – there’s no limit to where Screen-Free Week celebrations and activities can take place! Some schools choose to hold all of their activities on campus, while others collaborate with their larger communities to bring screen-free activities to all.
Officially, the next Screen-Free Week takes place Monday, April 29 – Sunday, May 5, 2019. Unofficially, many schools celebrate Screen-Free Week at times that are convenient for their calendars, such as after standardized testing, around spring break, or right before summer break. The official Screen-Free Week on April 29 – May 5 also coincides with the 100th anniversary of Children’s Book Week – celebrate both with a reading-related event like story time, a local author visit, or poetry slam!
Schools are on the forefront of protecting and promoting students’ physical and mental health, which means getting them off digital devices. Teens spend nearly 9 hours with entertainment screen media every day; tweens average nearly 6 hours; and kids 8 and under average 2.5 – that’s a lot of time not spent on valuable offline activities like physical play, leisure reading, or time spent with friends and family! Screen-Free Week encourages students to think critically about our digital world, consider the benefits and challenges of technology, and explore how they can best bring balance to their lives.
And there’s another, simpler reason schools should host Screen-Free Week: it’s fun! Kids love to play with their friends, try new games and activities, and see their teachers having fun with them outside of the classroom. Families can be invited to Screen-Free Week activities and events, which adds another valuable dimension to the experience.
There is no template for a successful Screen-Free Week experience. Schools organize events and activities that best meet the needs of their students. Some schools plan five days of activities during the school week (either after school or during breaks in the school day), some choose to host just one large kickoff event, and some encourage children to commit to Screen-Free Week at home (using pledge cards you can find here) and offer a prize upon successful completion of the week. We recommend that schools make full use of our essential handouts, including sample permission slips for participation, and lots more.
The options are limitless! For a little inspiration, we list some actual Screen-Free Week activities that schools around the country have organized in the past:
- Reading events (read-aloud, poetry event, library activity, group read-in)
- Physical activity (fun run, obstacle course, kickball, bowling, ice and roller skating, swim night, miniature golf, dance parties, hip hop/tae kwon do/yoga workshop, family fitness night, color war, parents v. students games)
- Outdoors/nature/gardening (hike, beach event, picnic, campfire, gardening project, schoolyard cleanup, nature walk, nature talk, playground meet-up)
- Games (family bingo night, family game night, music trivia)
- Volunteer (school fundraiser, giving back night)
- Arts and crafts (tile painting, knitting, sidewalk chalk drawing)
- Music and theater (music concert, talent show, magic show, open mic night)
- Out-of-the-box (cooking, scavenger hunt, dress up day, carnival, Mad Science night, Lego building, book character parade, cardboard box challenge, museum/restaurant/local Y/trampoline park outing, used book sale, truck day, ventriloquism workshop)