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31 Things Parents And Kids Can Do Without A Screen

23: Look at the night sky with your family and when you see a shooting star yell "Ooooo, an animated GIF!!!"
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31: Use magnets to place ads next to the photos, notes, and drawings on your refrigerator door so it more closely resembles your Facebook wall.

30: Act out the "Redrum" scene in The Shining using a mirror, lipstick and hand puppets.

29: Make pizza dough from scratch utilizing only three ingredients: flour, water and old USB cables.

28: Write a haiku using fewer than the 140 maximum characters allowed in a tweet.

27: Sit under a tree and discuss Chelsea Handler in an effort to understand why anyone considers her funny.

26: Draw a picture of the computer that you're dying to turn on.

25: Hold a contest to see which family member can be the first to successfully send a text using a quarter and a public pay phone.

24: Bake cookies cut in the shape of every U.S. state -- so you can pretend that Colorado is an iPad and Wyoming is a Kindle.

23: Look at the night sky with your family and when you see a shooting star yell "Ooooo, an animated GIF!!!"

22: Reconnect with a friend whom you haven't spoken in years -- and tell them how much you miss your 70" hi-def TV.

21: Dance like nobody's watching -- via the WiFi webcam that your creepy neighbor secretly hid in your family room, which, happily, is offline right now.

20: Write a poem about the hole left in your heart when you suddenly realized that you forgot to charge your iPhone.

19: Gather everyone together in the rumpus room and sing some good, old-fashioned ringtones.

18: Play Jenga using flash drives instead of wood blocks.

17: Go outside to marvel at the songbirds -- especially the one whose high-pitched warble sounds exactly like Minnie Ripperton in “Lovin’ You,” which you recently downloaded to your iPod.

16: Guess at what the weather will be tomorrow based solely on how many animals are stampeding at the zoo today.

15: Play Monopoly using your old, outdated, ghetto cell phones as fleabag hotels on Baltic and Mediterranean.

14: Become reacquainted with your Webster's New World Dictionary and look up the word Google.

13: Stare at a blank wall in the airport and see if you can correctly guess what time your flight departs.

12: Attempt to mentally bend a spoon like Uri Geller, and when that fails, see if you can telepathically post snarky edits
to his Wikipedia page.

11: Plant a vegetable garden so you can experience the joy of holding in your hand a bumpy cucumber that feels uncannily like a remote control.

10: Turn off the GPS system in your car and sniff the air for pot roast as you try to find grandma’s house.

9: Attempt to access your money not from the ATM, but through the mail slot in your bank’s door.

8: Take your pet for a walk, and just to make sure your Wii controller doesn’t feel left out, tie it to your dog’s tail.

7: Instead of relying on Photoshop to digitally remove the wrinkles from your grandfather’s face, use clothespins and duct tape.

6: Pull out your old family albums and write “like” in grease pencil across the photos of your relatives who are now dead.

5: Send a handwritten letter to your email account asking if it’s still alive.

4: Write a letter challenging a buddy in London to play Words with Friends via mail -- because playing a word game through the U.S. Postal Service is far more efficient than playing online.

3: Go on a hike -- and ask random woodland creatures to friend you.

2: Finally introduce yourself to your neighbors -- and ask them if they know what happened last week on Mad Men.

1: Read a book -- about how Amish people who don’t have TV at all somehow refrain from going totally nutzoid.


This piece was written for HuffPost Parents to coincide with Random House's Screen-Free Week (April 29–May 5, 2013). Bob Staake is the author and/or illustrator of over 60 books for children, including Bluebird, The Red Lemon, The Donut Chef, and Look! A Book! He can be found online at

Tell us in the comments: what do you do with your kids without a screen?

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