Today marks the start of Screen Free Week and Smiggle invites you to swap the screen with them! Taking some time away from screens can have a real impact on children; even if it’s for a short time, you will be sure to notice difference, trust me.
With hundreds of creative products to choose from you’re spoiled for choice; my children have had a jump-start on the week and would like to share with you what they’ve been doing with some nifty items that Smiggle kindly sent to them.
A couple of weeks ago we told our children that other than for school work they were not going to be having screen time. They don’t watch a lot of TV to begin with; maybe 30-45 minutes a day during the week, a family movie on Sundays and on occasion, a little more. Their attitudes had become very negative and there was too much whining and grumping on a very regular basis and I reached the end of my tether. This is not the way my children normally behaved. They had been watching a so-called family-friendly TV show that we suspected had something to do with their unappreciative outlook on life. So I said they weren’t going to have any TV for a week.
In fact, the time extended to about 10 days…and they never even noticed! After only 48 hours they were once again more happy and helpful around the house without being prompted. There wasn’t any arguing (which includes me because I wasn’t hearing a plethora of whining). I even specifically pointed this out to them and they couldn’t deny it. Since that week away from the TV the children have daily been getting up on their own and starting their home education work a little earlier each day…and if you can believe it – what used to take them until 6pm to complete is now finished by lunch time or soon after and they have their afternoons free! It really is incredible!
To get you started, Smiggle has a downloadable activity pack on their website. Tristan and Kallista have just started working on a word search, a maze, and you can see Kallista cutting out papers for a game of charades. There is also a game that I used to play with my students in Japan that I can’t wait to introduce to the kids on Tuesday, amongst other activities.
In addition to the activity pack, Smiggle stores are running competitions to create your own Smiggle product – how cool, and the winner will receive a special prize! And in selected stores there will also be some creative drop-in workshops, so check with your nearest store to see what they have planned.
Surprising children with treats from Smiggle is always lots of fun! Eyes always light up in anticipation and delight. Kallista even keeps all of her Smiggle items together in a safe place; even I’m not privy to her secret location! When she’s feeling inspired she’ll bring them out and put her creativity to work.
As for Tristan….working on his math or English always goes better with a little extra colour and scent with Smiggle pens or highlighters. He still talks about going with me into Belfast for the grand opening of Smiggle and having a great day out; just the two of us.
Kallista couldn’t wait to get started on the DIY Keep Safe Journal Kit! It comes with all the pieces you see above, and inside, in addition to lots of pages for writing your deepest thoughts and ambitions, there are also pages to talk about your best friend, create your dream dress, plan a birthday party, and more.
However, before Kallista could start working on recording her ideas for posterity, she just had to put her creativity to work and design the cover of her book to make it unique. She set up and did everything herself. She used the whole tube of puffy paint and smoothed it over the journal cover and pretended she was decorating a cake, which is one of her loves. The she carefully placed the majority of the 14 trinkets onto the puffy paint in just the right spots, and as a final touch she sprinkled glitter, aka fairy dust, over the cover.
The hardest part is waiting for the puffy paint to dry thoroughly!
Tristan couldn’t wait to get started on this DIY Skateboard Kit! He even loved the fact that he could rearrange the spaces inside the box with the little adjustable gates; just like real tool boxes. He thought the mini tools were so cool.
This kit contains enough parts to build 3 decks which can then be further customised with the stickers provided. There are even a few spare parts. As Tristan was putting his first board together we wondered if using a skateboard was how Mark McMorris had his start to snowboarding back in Canada as there aren’t any hills in Regina, the hometown we both hail from.
The skateboards can later be run on the various courses which are laid out in his Big Ideas Sticker Book. In this book there are pages for writing your big ideas, as well as scenes which he can add his own creative touch to by using the pages and pages of stickers in the book. From glow in the dark to grip stickers, as well as the regular stickers and more. The Big Ideas Sticker Books also come with a set of 6 markers and a stick to use for the scratch and reveal stickers and are housed in a handy plastic case that is held on the coil binding of the book.
In the photo above both children are working on these books; Tristan is colouring a sticker and Kallista is using pre-coloured ones to create a scene in her book. They children enjoyed the afternoon with Phil outdoors together. No screen time means more family time and time to interact with each other instead of everyone staring blankly at a screen independently.
What on earth is Tristan doing here? He’s having a sniff of one of the scented stickers in Kallista’s Big Ideas Sticker Book. This book comes in two versions, and I must say the scented stickers in Kallista’s version are much more pleasant than in Tristan’s version! It reminds me of the old saying, Cinnamon, spice, and everything nice; that’s what little girls are made of. Snakes and snails and puppy dog tails; that’s what little boys are made of.
For the days when the weather isn’t agreeable, or when a busy life needs to slow down a little, swap the screen for a little look back through the Big Ideas Sticker Book is called for. Kallista cuddled up with her favourite blanket and her book and admired her scenes and planned out the other ones. More of the sticker varieties in these books are holographic, glitter, and sparkles.
I will come back in a day or two and share a photo of the scenes the children have been working on; they don’t want anyone to see them until they are just perfect. And of course, with a whole week being screen free we certainly don’t want the kids to finish all their projects in the first day or two! So first thing today…Tristan is outside working on an English crossword and Kallista is doing her first day of long multiplication…this could be a long week!
And while the children are working away quietly and having some fun, I think I’ll take out my depleting set of scented ink ball pens and write a letter to a friend overseas. I wonder if one of the children might be able to part with a sticker for the envelope…perhaps not as they do like them so much, and I can’t blame them.
Join us in Swap the Screen week! Let us know how you’re family is spending their reclaimed time in the comments below, or share how the time has impacted your family, I’d love to hear about that, too!
Have a wonderful week!
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