So, you’ve decided to grab the crew and spend a little time together off-grid. Fresh air, family bonding, mindful nature therapy — and just so you don’t go categorically insane — a prime opportunity to get those dreaded phones out of your kiddos’ hands.
Now, this is not your first rodeo, so you’ve got the gear part down pat. Your shopping list is filled with the family’s favorite campfire-cooked items. You’ve dug serviceable old clothes out from the bottoms of drawers. But what about entertainment?
That’s right, you’ve got to have stuff to keep the kids entertained. Going off-grid is a big challenge for today’s youth. And you’ll be damned if you’re going to spend one single moment of precious family time listening to notification pings.
Don’t worry! We’ve compiled several engaging child-friendly activities the whole family will get a kick out of. The only things you’ll be hearing are birdsong and the kids’ belly laughs.
Glow Stick Ring Toss
Have the kids help you clear an area of land roughly equivalent to the space you’d need to play a game of horseshoes. Obviously, you’ll need a shorter toss distance if your children are younger. At the dollar store, pick up several bags of bracelet-sized glow sticks, and one large one. Wait until dark.
Plant the large glow stick in a small pile of rocks, so it stands vertically with solid ballast. If the dirt is soft, you can also dig a hole for the base. Activate the bracelet-sized glow sticks and bend them into rings. Three rings per child — or however many you bought — and let them toss!
Enhance this classic activity with as many unique twists as you can dream up. Break kids into teams and attach an adult to shadow along with each. Doing so is essential safety protocol, but feel free to tell the kids their shadow’s purpose is to provide hints and make sure they don’t cheat!
Compile a creative list of objects for each team to find. Set a time limit and “base” for final judging. A sample list might look like this:
- One piece of human trash for recycling
- Five-pointed green leaf
- Smooth rock
- Y-shaped stick
Let’s get this straight: Off-grid does not mean no toys. Grab something like corn hole or QB54 to have your kids pumping high-fives. Easy to pack and store, these versatile travel games include everything you need for ultimate ball games on the go: point markers, touchdown goals and even spectator seats that double as comfy campfire chairs when the action cools down.
Loosen up on typical meal planning and incorporate fun dishes that will make your kids feel like they’re in junk food heaven. Compile snacky foods like Goldfish crackers, M&M’s, peanut butter chips, pretzels, breakfast cereal and dried fruit. Allow the kids to design trail mix with proportions that match their individual taste. Store in separate airtight containers labeled with each child’s name. After all, nothing beats having your own stash!
Don’t be surprised when you overhear the kids talking excitedly about the trip to their friends upon return. They’ve got to catch up, of course — they haven’t Face-Timed since you left!
Scott Huntington is a writer from central Pennsylvania. He enjoys working on his home and garden with his wife and 2 kids. Follow him on Twitter @SMHuntington