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Screen-Free Ideas for Teens in the Time of Social Distancing

Posted about 4 months ago by Jennifer Deuell
Posted in Teens

Teens, we know you are probably very well-equipped to deal with this whole social distancing thing.  You’ve been texting, facetiming, online gaming, etc. since you were able to hold a phone.  Well, let’s just pretend for a minute that you get tired of being constantly plugged in over the next few weeks of quarantine.  Unlikely, I know, but humor me.

On the off chance that you are looking for some fun, screen-free activities, here are a few suggestions (besides the obvious…READ A BOOK!):

Take a trip down memory lane.  You know those photo albums that sit around your house collecting dust?  Well, chances are the adults in your life spent a lot of time making those back in the day.  And, they probably hold a lot of valuable memories.  Pull them out, sit down with a loved one, and have her tell you some wonderful stories about the pictures within.  I guarantee you won’t regret it.

Get outside.  This one may seem pretty obvious, but I know there are some of you who have not been outside yet today.  I’m not pointing fingers…but you know who you are!  Have you looked out the window?!  It’s gorgeous. Spring is officially here and instead of being stuck inside a school building this spring you actually have the opportunity to get outside and enjoy it.  Do it!  Take a long walk.  Play ball with the dog.  Shoot some hoops.  The possibilities are endless.

Practice your cooking skills.  Chances are your family has stocked up on some food in the last few days.  This is the perfect opportunity to get into the kitchen and learn some basic cooking skills.  Try cooking a very basic meal for your family like pasta or tacos.  They’ll appreciate it and it’s a great way to earn brownie points (wink wink).  Already have those cooking basics down?  Try getting creative.  Pull out a new recipe and give it a shot.  Perhaps you don’t have all the ingredients but you can’t go out to the store because, well you know, that whole social distancing thing.  See if you can do some creative problem-solving and work with what you’ve got.  You might discover a new favorite dish!

Clean out that closet.  I know, I know.  This doesn’t sound very fun but what else do you have to do?  Chances are your closet probably hasn’t been cleaned and organized in awhile (unless you’re like me and cleaning weirdly relaxes you).  Go ahead and give that closet some love.  At a minimum you’ll get rid of some of those old clothes you don’t like anymore.  Maybe you’ll find something you thought you’d lost.  Or, maybe you’ll prove to your adults that it’s time to go shopping for some new clothes.  Either way, it’s a win-win situation.  So stop procrastinating and go do it!

Do some goal-setting.  Sometimes life is so busy that we only have time to think about the present.  I guess one bright side to social distancing is that we are forced to slow down a bit.  This provides us the perfect opportunity to think about our future, perhaps setting some goals for ourselves.  Some of my favorite ways to do this are journaling and/or making a vision board.  If you are more of a writer, perhaps expressing yourself through writing is the best way to go.  On the other hand, if you are more artistic and prefer to express yourself visually, try making a vision board out of old magazines, newspapers, and any other craft supplies you might have laying around your house.  Who knows, you might discover something new about yourself.

Play some family games.  Playing family games is one of those activities that everyone always complains about doing but ends up having a ton of fun anyway.  A lot of people have board games somewhere in their house.  But, if you don’t, here are some fun Minute to Win It games you can play with everyday materials.  I’d be willing to bet you’ll all be in stitches by the end of the day.

Get zen.  My final recommendation for screen-free time is a way to totally unplug.  Ever tried meditation?  There are countless studies demonstrating how meditation can be good for us.  It reduces stress, controls anxiety, improves mental and emotional health…the list goes on and on.  Meditation can be challenging if you’ve never done it before.  Think of it as a skill that improves with practice.  The first time I tried it my mind wandered constantly.  To help, my yoga teacher gave me great strategy.  She told me to envision a daisy.  The center of that daisy is exactly where you want your focus to be.  As your thoughts start to drift off, they begin to create a petal of that daisy.  You can circle back around to the center of the daisy as many times as you need throughout your session.  In the end, you’ll still end with your focus in the center AND you’ll have created a beautiful flower.  Make sense?  Give it a shot and let me know how it goes.

These next few weeks are going to be challenging for all of us; however, we don’t have to let it get us down.  We can see social distancing as an opportunity to try new things, stretch ourselves, get creative, and connect in new ways.  I hope one of these suggestions brings you joy and peace while you’re at home.  Also, feel free to share!

About the Author

Jenn Deuell is the Young Adult Coordinator with Richmond Public Library. She is a native of Fredericksburg, VA but has lived in Richmond for long enough that she now considers it home. She loves all things YA and can usually be found curled up at home with a good book (rainy day or not). Her other hobbies include traveling and spending time with family, including her three rescued pit bulls.

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