Family Summer Challenge on online well-being

  • Awareness
  • 09/08/2019
  • UK Safer Internet Centre

South West Grid for Learning (SWGfL), a partner in the UK Safer Internet Centre (SIC), has put together this Family Summer Challenge so families can have fun this summer, online and offline.

All over Europe, children and young people are breathing a collective sigh of relief as the school year ends and the summer months begin. Parents and carers, on the other hand, may be feeling a bit overwhelmed as they see the summer months stretched out before them, and they may be concerned about the amount of time their children will be spending online.

Technology can play a very positive part in young people's lives, which is why the UK SIC have put together the Family Summer Challenge to help families benefit from online and offline activities in equal measure and keep them connected, creative and entertained.

What is the Family Summer Challenge?

The Family Summer Challenge is full of activities that children and parents/carers can do together, and is a mix of online and offline challenges. The challenges are also divided into six themes – creativity, fitness, emotional, culinary, environmental, and discovery. There are activities for all ages; under 7, 8-12, and 13-17-year-olds are all grouped into the six weekly themes.

There are online activities in this challenge because technology, the internet and social media can provide positive experiences and opportunities for young people, and it engages them easily, so these can be a great starting point for any family activity. One great benefit of the summer holidays is that parents/carers may have more time to really dive into their child's digital world.

How to take the Family Summer Challenge?

Read through the summer challenge and see what activities would work best for your family.  Don't be afraid to present new ideas to your kids; they may just surprise you!  Feel free to adapt these to suit your family needs and your kids' own ideas. Once you have identified your challenge for the week, pick your time, gather any necessities for the activity and have fun.

A handy is also available for you to track your progress! You can download the Family Summer Challenge chart. If you want to share your family fun, please post and share on social media (@UK_SIC) using #FamilySummerChallenge.

Week 1: Get creative!

Use a range of sites, apps or games to get your creativity flowing online and offline!

Parents/carers and their children under the age of 7

  • Get creative with paper: make a kite, a paper airplane or an origami animal. You can use some fantastic arts and crafts sites online to get some ideas, such as the BBC Mister Maker website.
  • Pick up a magnifying glass and a journal and document all the summer insects and plants outside.

Parents/carers and their children aged 8-12

Parents/carers and teenagers aged 13-17

  • Pick-up a disposable camera and let the teens be photojournalists for the summer; don't forget to ask for consent!
  • Improve your photography or filming skills by watching a free tutorial.
  • Download the InfoAge+ app to see if you can achieve the tasks set by the Science Museum.

Note for parents/carers

Week 2: Get fit!

There is a wide range of fitness and health videos available online to help your family get moving this summer.

Parents/carers and children under the age of 7

  • Choose your family's favourite songs on your music streaming app and have an impromptu dance party – turn up the music and get moving!
  • While watching your favourite show on Netflix, take a break between episodes for a chance to do some quick yoga or jumping jacks in the living room together.
  • Check out the NHS guidelines for physical activities for children aged 5 to 18.

Parents/carers and children aged 8-12

  • Go for a walk in the local woods or park and use your smartphone to find some geocaching spots.
  • Grab some friends and go for a swim at the local public pool or camp out in the back garden.

Parents/carers and teenagers aged 13-17

  • Share and try to learn some dance moves from each other – what are some moves popular now amongst young people and what was popular when your parents were young?
  • Research and try a workout app or workout videos on YouTube.

Note for parents/carers

  • Create a playlist of your favourite music for workouts or for a dance party.
  • Take a walk with your child to the nearby park, wood or beach.

Week 3: Get emotional!

The summer holidays are a great opportunity to spend time together as a family and have conversations about each family member's feelings, and specifically how we feel and express our feelings online.

Parents/carers and children under the age of 7

  • Watch the UK SIC's puppets Red and Murphy talk about the importance of taking a minute when something you see online is upsetting or too much.
  • Do a role-play game that begins with "How would you feel if…"

Parents/carers and children aged 8-12

  • Try the new Own It app from the BBC to help you lead a happy and healthy life online.
  • Try yoga or meditation or spend a moment of gratitude, have a conversation as a family about why taking time out regularly is important for our well-being.

Parents/carers and teenagers aged 13-17

  • Start a family book/movie club with books or movies about underdogs – find great recommendations for books and movies from Common Sense Media.
  • Watch Brené Brown's short film on empathy below and have a conversation about empathy.

Note for parents/carers

Week 4: Get cooking!

There are lots of cooking tutorials online – why not find some videos of recipes you like and get cooking in the kitchen together!

Parents/carers and children under the age of 7

  • See how many snacks you can make using fruits, vegetables or nuts.
  • Draw or paint your favourite summer snack.

Parents/carers and children aged 8-12

  • Make a weekly plan of healthy desserts without using any sugar at all.
  • Find a big basket or container and fill it up with healthy picnic foods, then plan a picnic together.

Parents/carers and teenagers aged 13-17

  • Create a recipe book with family summer favourites in paper or digital format.
  • Make your own cooking video to share with your family and friends.
  • Use Pinterest to find tasty, sweet, spicy or salty new recipe ideas.

Note for parents/carers

  • BBC Good Food has useful guides to cookery skills by age and some recipes suitable for any age.
  • Research apps that help your family pull together healthy meals with simple recipes like the Change4Life Smart Recipes app.
  • Take a look at your own eating and culinary habits, think of how you can be role model for your family.

Week 5: Get green!

Spending time outside and exploring how we can protect our planet can be a great family activity this summer, and you can start with finding information online about how you can make a difference.

Parents/carers and children under the age of 7

  • Plant a garden plant outdoors or in a mason jar.
  • Visit a natural science museum.

Parents/carers and children aged 8-12

  • Do research on what is better for your family: paper or plastic? Come up with ideas as a family on how you can reduce the plastic you use at home.
  • Walk barefoot on the beach and then think about digital footprints and the traces we leave behind.

Parents/carers and teenagers aged 13-17

Note to parents/carers

  • Think about any of your regular errands and see whether it's possible to walk or ride a bicycle instead of taking the car.
  • Check out some ideas from the BBC on what you can do as a family to protect the planet.
  • Take a look at these environmental ideas to see if any would be fun for your family.

Week 6: Get discovering!

Being curious needn't change with age – explore and ask questions as a family about the world around us.

Parents/carers and children under the age of 7

Parents/carers and children aged 8-12

  • Think about mechanics and find out how things work: fans, engines, computers?
  • Check out The Science Museum's range of science games and apps.
  • Share your favourite YouTube channel that discusses Science and Discovery with your family.

Parents/carers and teenagers aged 13-17

Note to parents/carers

We hope you enjoy these activities together as a family this summer. A chart is available to help you keep track of your Family Summer Challenge – you can download it.

Let us know how you are getting on, using #FamilySummerChallenge or tag us at @UK_SIC on Twitter. Have fun!

Find out more information about the work of the UK Safer Internet Centre (SIC) generally, including its awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services, or find similar information for Safer Internet Centres throughout Europe.

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