Could you go screen-free for one week? That’s the challenge being put forth by a group of Winneshiek County organizations looking to celebrate Screen-Free Week May 1-7.
The coordinated effort aims to help kids and adults alike take a break from digital entertainment by turning off televisions, smartphones, tablets, computers, and gaming consoles for seven days, and instead tuning in to the community around them. Screen-Free Week is a chance for everyone to read, play, create, be more physically active, and spend more time with family and friends.
Winneshiek County Conservation, Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commission, and local libraries, businesses, and organizations are joining forces to create and promote events that offer fun, engaging alternatives to screen time.
The events, scheduled throughout the week, range from children’s story times and community walks to craft activities and performances, and are meant to appeal to a broad age range. For 2017, Screen-Free Week coincides with Children’s Book Week, and many of the highlighted events emphasize both disconnecting from screens and reading.
A kick-off party for Screen-Free Week will be held in conjunction with “Decorah’s Largest Play Date” on Saturday, April 29 at Phelps Park from 10:00-11:30am. Pledge cards, a calendar of events, and information on Screen-Free Week will be available, as will snacks, art projects, and games, and the event is free and open to all.
“Screen-Free Week is a much needed respite from the screen media dominating the lives of so many of us” says Lilly Jensen of Winneshiek County Conservation. “But disconnecting during school and work can be nearly impossible, so we’re focused on free time and finding ways to unplug ourselves from our screens when we can.”
“For each of us, that will look different,” she adds, “and that’s part of the beauty of Screen-Free Week. It’s an opportunity to focus on time with families and friends, and a chance to return to old hobbies or try something completely new.”
Even if you don’t attend any of the specific Screen-Free Week events, anyone can participate in the week simply by unplugging from screens. Organizations, groups, or businesses who would like to host an event or activity can contact Winneshiek County Conservation at (563) 534-7145. Find more information—including pledge cards, ideas for alternative activities, and a calendar of events—at www.winneshiekwild.com or by calling (563) 534-7145.
Screen-Free Week (formerly TV-Turnoff Week) is coordinated nationally by Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, a national advocacy organization devoted to reducing the impact of commercialism on children. Since the Week’s founding in 1994, it has been celebrated by millions of children and their families worldwide. For more information on the larger program, visit www.screenfree.org