8 Ideas for Screen-Free Week

Find screen-free space to dream.

 

That’s the encouragement for this year’s Screen-Free Week — May 2-8, 2022.

 

At woom, we champion childhoods filled with joy, courage, and responsibility. Technology as a tool is a great way to engage minds, creativity, and discovery, but more often than not, those are not coupled with movement, in-person relationships, or wonder of the physical world around us. Bikes, however, take joy, courage, and responsibility and intertwine them easily with movement, relationships, and wonder.

 

Let’s take a quick moment to do a reality check: a screen-free week? Yes, the word “week” wasn’t a typo. The concept probably feels as difficult as an electricity-free week to you would be and ridiculous as an oxygen-free week would be to anyone born after 2007, which, by the way, was the year the iPhone was released and digital parenting had to kick into high gear.

 

Kids ages 8-18 spend, on average, almost 8 hours per day in looking at a screen. Doing the math, that’s 114 days per year. 114 days. Screens, like all technology, are not in and of themselves bad or wrong or negative; they are, however, intended to be a tool we can use. When they are used appropriately, amazing things happen! We all received a crash course in this because of the pandemic. Nonetheless, if we are honest — more honest than we want to be with ourselves, let alone our children — sometimes, those tools seem to own us more than we are owning them. So maybe, just maybe, taking a break or cutting down on screen time could be a healthy habit, even if it’s just once a year.

How to have a screaming-free, screen-free week

Changing expectations without a voice is difficult for most humans, even the littlest ones. We naturally want to know why and push back when something flips our normal upside down.

 

When sharing the idea of a screen-free week with your kids, approach it as a conversation about how you can rally together to tackle this tremendous challenge as a team, especially if you have a house of preteens and teens.

 

Ask them how they might consider adding boundaries and limiting screen time. If they and you can avoid screens entirely, that’s fantastic, but if you need to use screens for work and school, that is a little trickier. Figure out together what makes the most sense to have a successful screen-free week, and everyone, even the most disappointed, will more likely be a little less disappointed.

 

Part of the conversation could include talking about how this is an opportunity to have more time for things your kids don’t normally get to do — the friends they could see, playing outside (May is typically a decent weather month in most places), and having extra family time. Approach it as adding something good to this particular week in May and not taking something away. Be as excited as you want them to be, even if you’re trying to figure out what hashtag you’ll use the week after Screen-Free Week to post all those pics from the fun times you shared with your family.

Pro-tip: If you choose to use your camera to document the days, turn it on airplane mode so you are not distracted by any notifications you are trying to avoid.

You might also consider having one place in your home where the screens or remotes to the screens can be stored. No one who goes on a diet wants a freezer filled with ice cream or cabinets overflowing with chips. “Out of sight, out of mind” can be quite powerful.

 

Most importantly, don’t forget to play by your own rules. Of course, you are the parent and they are the child, but it’ll likely result in a willing surrender of the screens if you’re also giving up your gadgets.

8 ideas for Screen-Free Week

1. Personalize the ride.

Kiddos love making things their own and leaving their mark. You might even have a surface or object in your home with the goo from an unwelcome sticker or the remanence of a permanent marker from when your little one tried to do this in an unwelcome way. Lean into that creativity!

Ride your bikes to the store, pick up some stickers or permanent markers, and get decorate those helmets for the rides ahead. This is ideal for those who love to use technology to do art and design or have an interest in fashion and clothes. Remind them that they don’t need the Internet to be inspired or be creative.

2. Create a destination ride.

With some extra time from not diving into devices during downtime, head to a playground or a State Park after school or on the weekend for some extra adventure. In an age-appropriate and safe way, have kids carry their own snacks or toys they want to tote with them. Talk with your kids about what it’s like to do a trip like this without being able to look up things online (just make sure you only suggest places with which you’re familiar so you can avoid using the Internet to look up information!). If you head to a State Park, chat with a Ranger about the environment instead of looking up answers yourselves. It’ll give your kids the chance to learn how to ask questions, which is also a great life skill.

The woom NOW is ideal for this kind of journey because the front rack can hold all their gear. It also has powerful lights, so you and your crew can get home safely if your adventures keep you out past dark.

3. Puddle jumping.

Most kids love to be unleashed to jump in puddles on rainy days. Young ones don’t worry about mud stains, getting wet, or being late. They just like to splash, and the bigger the splash, the better. If you find what might seem to be less than ideal weather for an outdoor adventure, take advantage of it with your bikes. Grab those raincoats, and hunt for puddles!


It’s best only to do this activity with confident Riders and make sure no thunderstorms are approaching quickly. When you’re soaked and smiling, just don’t forget to hose off your bike and dry it off well. If you’d rather not deal with messy bikes, that’s not a problem. Simply stomp around the driveway seeing who can make the biggest splashes.

Pro-tip: This might seem like something only younger kiddos would enjoy, but if you surprised your preteens or teenagers with this idea and convinced them to jump around in the rain with you … well, it’d be hard not to make a memory they’d talk about for years to come.

4. Sharpen skills.

Even the “best” Riders can get better, and biking, like most things in life, is a skill and takes practice. Set up a skills course in your driveway with a garden hose, large plastic buckets, trash cans — whatever you have in your garage or the basement. Make sure that nothing would be damaged if your Rider veers off course and that if there were some stumbles, they’d be safe.

If you’re looking for more ideas, check out one of our favorite blogs about this called “Skills school: refine, improve, learn.”

5. Go old school.

Dig deep into your own memories of what games you loved as a child. Perhaps your grandparents had a deck of cards that entertained you for hours, sidewalk chalk led to hours of tic-tac-toe and hopscotch, or there’s a board game stored somewhere on that back shelf that hasn’t been touched in decades. Introduce your own children to some of your own favorites.

If you don’t have a collection of games or ideas that don’t involve power cords, never fear! You can practice recycling old items by taking a trip to a thrift store to pick out one (or some) to play together. You might be creating a new screen-free family tradition of your own.

6. "I Spy" ... rainbow style.

Ride the rainbow by playing “I Spy” with colors. This is a particularly great idea for little ones because they get pretty excited about knowing their colors. When you get back from your ride around the neighborhood, grab some sidewalk chalk and draw what you saw.

Pro-tip: If you’re like some of us, and it’s been a while since you had to recite the “official” colors of the rainbow, “ROY G. BIV” can be a helpful reminder: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Of course, feel free to use whatever colors you’d like and even invite your Riders to add others, like teal or pink.

7. Bike for books.

When was the last time your children experienced the wonder of the library? Most local libraries have kids’ sections with small chairs, bright colors, and lower shelves. Start a conversation about how your kids can easily get lost in their favorite TV shows. Ask them what it’s like to choose what to watch and what they like the most. Then talk about what books they like and why they like those books. Young ones probably like the pictures and colors, but older kiddos start to engage more in the actual story.

Take a family bike trip to the local library for entertainment instead of sitting around screens. Don’t worry at all about having a schedule; instead, unleash them for enough time for them to get lost in wonder. Select a few to take home, and if the weather cooperates, consider reading them outside together at a park.

8. A good, ol' fashioned scavenger hunt.

If you have older kids, invite them to help you create a scavenger hunt around the neighborhood for their friends. Write clues that describe different locations and have them complete challenges, such as safely zig-zagging around obstacles on the driveway, before you hand over the next hint. And of course, don’t forget to have a prize or the winner!


Screen-Free Week isn’t about giving up something; it’s about adding the glorious gift of tech-free time that is so scarce these days, even if it’s not received as a gift at first.

 

When you’ve wrapped up the week, consider planning a special meal — at home or your family’s favorite place — to talk about what everyone got to do while not staring at their screens. It’s OK to acknowledge what they missed, as well. Younger ones might have been bored or wanted to watch a show, but preteens and teens may have genuinely struggled if they felt disconnected from friends they didn’t get to see in person.

 

To take this to the next level, talk about how you can weave some screen-free time into your days and weeks as a new family habit. Even if it’s an hour a day or an afternoon a week, overtime, it’ll help your kids engage more with the non-digital world around them.

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