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Screen-Free Entertainment: Crafting As An Engaging Alternative For Family Time

Today, family time often means time filled with glowing screens. According to research, children ages 8 to 14 years old now spend about 6 to 9 hours a day staring at phones, tablets, computers, and televisions. And those hours don’t even include yet the time they spend online for their schoolwork. With busy schedules and countless digital distractions demanding your attention, dedicating meaningful, uninterrupted moments together can feel like a challenge for families.   

Thankfully, there are several alternative ways for family time that don’t involve any screen time – crafting. Crafting activities offer an excellent way to engage kids and adults alike, providing an entertaining analogue alternative for quality family time. Keep reading as this article discusses how crafting is a perfect alternative for family time, along with its benefits for both children and adults.   

Discover creative interests and hidden talents together  

One of the best benefits of crafting during family time is it allows everyone to uncover their hidden talents that can potentially blossom into full-fledged interests and even future careers. For instance, perhaps you’re unaware that your 4-year-old daughter is fond of finger painting or maybe your teenage son is actually a talented candle maker. You can never discover these skills unless you all make time as a family for some crafting activities.  

So, set aside regular time for some imaginative, creative, and hands-on fun together. Encourage your kids (including both parents) to put away your gadgets the entire time you’re in your crafting session. During this time, allow your kids to freely explore all the art and building materials available so they can decide which projects they’d like to take on for the day.  

Better yet, you can also attend crafting-related events together, such as the upcoming Papercraft Expo Penrith. Through engaging events like this, you and your kids will have a chance to meet up with local and interstate craft experts, attend their classes, and potentially discover new crafting interests. At the same time, you can also go shopping for the latest craft supplies and add them to your collections at home.   

Gain confidence and self-assurance while crafting  

Did you know that two-thirds of parents say their children have low self-confidence, particularly with their appearances, due to social media exposure? That’s because kids are more prone to exposure to unrealistic physical standards when they’re regularly using their gadgets. To avoid your children from losing their confidence and self-assurance all because of the internet, now’s the time to start exposing them to crafting.  

The process of making something from scratch can be a confidence booster, especially for kids. They can feel a sense of pride in handmade creations, regardless of skill level. And as long as your family crafting time provides a judgement-free zone for experimentation, young makers can feel comfortable stretching their wings creatively.   

For older kids, allow them to access power tools like sewing machines, jigsaws or soldering irons to tackle more complex projects that may fire up their confidence and self-assurance. Even handling safety scissors or an oven to bake clay sculptures themselves can give small children a giant confidence injection. 

Enjoy conversation and bonding together as a family  

As per resources, 70% of parents claim that their cell phones or other gadgets distract them from spending quality time with their kids. Unfortunately, this can result in your kids feeling ignored and lonely – ultimately affecting your parent-child relationship that could last until adulthood. One way to ditch screen time and spend quality time together as a family is through crafting.   

Easy banter and bonding happen almost effortlessly when family members gather for crafty pursuits. Parents who craft with their child’s side are more likely to have open and meaningful conversations. The relaxed and collaborative atmosphere that crafting provides can make a perfect setting for myopic minds to open up and let thoughts wander freely.   

Once this becomes a habit, it’ll make it easier for your kids to chat more candidly about their school or friends while their hands tinker. Laughter comes easily, too – whether from a clumsy measurement mishap or brainstorming an eccentric decoupage concept together.   

Group of сhildren in arts and crafts classes

Unplug healthfully  

Excess recreational screen time has already been dubbed as a modern health epidemic. According to one study, screen-based activities can lead to metabolic risk and obesity among children and adolescents.  

But with crafting, parents and kids can trade their phones and tablets for paint and pencils to promote active participation. Hands-on making keeps both minds and bodies healthfully engaged, providing immersive sensory experiences that foster togetherness. Instead of solo scrolling in separate rooms and sitting for hours, shared craft endeavours can mean laughing together over poorly formed pottery and fighting away boredom at home.  

The physicality of folding origami, drilling wood, or kneading salt dough also improves strength, dexterity and visual processing innately. Meanwhile, collaborative crafting also prompts healthy movement for gathering materials or displaying projects.   

Crafting teaches valuable skills  

Now that you’re in the digital era, traditional artisanship and handcraft skills are beginning to fade and become extinct. One way to revive this is through crafting with your family. Family craft nights can help pass these time-honoured talents to the new generations. Simple sewing, knitting, or basic woodworking projects teach dexterity and design skills. 

Meanwhile, weaving, jewellery-making, candle-making, or leatherworking together lets kids and parents exchange practical tips just as such knowledge was originally shared.  

When families collaborate on building or fixing things, young people glean handy capabilities that foster self-reliance. This creative exchange also strengthens the connection between family members. Furthermore, fun mementos made as a family withstand trends and nostalgically transmit talents across generations.  


While digital leisure reigns supreme these days, crafting creates priceless opportunities to simply enjoy each other’s company, free from glowing screens and non-stop notifications. Collaborating creatively offline opens doors for laughter, sharing ideas, and feeling a sense of team accomplishment. And remember, whatever emerges from crafting by each other’s sides isn’t just DIY masterpieces to enjoy for years but memories that connect your family forever.

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Janine Mergler

Janine Mergler is a veteran Queensland teacher, graduating from QUT with a BEd majoring in Social Sciences. After many years in the classroom, Janine moved on to academia. She has proudly trained new generations of teachers in her role as a lecturer at Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Education. She has also worked in the Queensland Government as an education specialist, developing education resources and delivering community awareness programs to help families conserve water. Currently she is the owner and editor of Families Magazine, a publication specifically targeted at parents who value a quality education for children.  Janine leads a team of professionals who write about family lifestyle, early childhood, schools and education information and family-friendly events.

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