Unplug to Play with an Outdoor Scavenger Hunt
By Jaclyn Ryan
According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, on average, children ages 8-12 in the United States spend 4-6 hours a day watching or using screens and teens spend up to 9 hours.
With my own children, I know that I have to make a daily concerted effort to limit screens and engage them in real life activities. Additionally, since the onset of the pandemic, this effort has become even more necessary, as a lot of the time spent in school has been taken up by screens, and screen usage has become all the more accepted.
The “Unplug to Play” movement is not one to demonize screens, rather it is simply an initiative to inspire children and families to take a break from these all consuming screens and to get back to basics. It is a movement to inspire children and families to PLAY! And who wouldn’t want to get behind that?
If the thought of “unplugging” seems daunting to your family and you are not sure where to start, an easy way to begin is to engage everyone in a fun activity. It’s not always enough to tell children to “unplug” or “turn off the devices” and those words can oftentimes be met with resistance. There are, however, many great ways to limit and monitor screen time, and one of those ways is to offer fun alternatives!
One of the great things about unplugging is that it forces you to enjoy the natural world a little more. I happen to live in an area of the country with abundant parks, hiking trails and natural resources all around. So, for our activity, we chose an outdoor scavenger hunt using supplies from Wikki Stix’s Unplug to Play Kit.
–Wikki Stix’s Unplug to Play Kit
For this activity, I told my three children we’d be doing a scavenger hunt outside. We started by opening Wikki Stix’s “Unplug to Play” Kit and decorated the large, colorful butterfly and fish included in the kit to make them more appealing. Using Wikki Stix to decorate the cardstock was super easy, as you simply push the stix down and there is no glue necessary. As a result, this part can be completed in no time! Allow your children to use their creativity and imagination, as there is no right or wrong way to complete this part.
Next, we wrote “clues” on the back of each butterfly and fish shape using black marker. When completing this step, be sure that each clue leads to the next (for example, “head to where frogs like to swim” would lead your children to a pond). Then, punch a hole in the top of each clue so that you can hang them outside with string, if desired.
When all of your clues are ready, tell your children to cover their eyes as you hide the fish and butterflies somewhere outdoors! Then, hand your children the first clue and watch them get excited!
This activity is guaranteed to inspire your children to unplug and to engage in the world around them. As an added bonus, it will create lasting memories and fun for your whole family.