Do you feel like your kids are constantly on their phones? Here are five tips to keep your kids off their phone and engaged with your family.
I feel like I’m constantly telling my 13-year-old son to get off of his phone. As soon as I pick him up from soccer practice, he immediately grabs his phone. While waiting on dinner to cook, he’s on his phone. While driving to have a family dinner out or while waiting on our order, he pulls out his phone.
Unfortunately, I know that family vacation won’t be any different unless we intervene. With kids being used to having technology at their fingertips to stay in touch with friends, play games, and watch videos, it’s a hard habit to break.
Before we go on a trip, I like to tell my kids where we’re going and get them excited about what we’re going to experience. They get especially roused up when they hear about all of the sensory experiences they’ll be able to have.
Five Genius Ways to Keep Your Kids Off Their Phones
I’ve teamed up with Explore St. Louis to share my ideas to keep your kids off their cell phones and using their senses in other ways.
1. Hear the Sounds of the City
My son listens to lots of music on his phone. In fact, we got him new headphones for Christmas last year. Instead of listening to the hottest songs of today, how about taking a trip back in time to learn the roots of the music you think is so cool?
All you need is a trip to the National Blues Museum. Whether it’s jazz or folk, country or pop, rock or rap, the Blues has exerted a deep, profound influence that resonates to this day.
With distinct roots in centuries-old African-American culture, the Blues has always been about those feelings the word itself conjures up: feelings of sadness and solitude, and of being impacted by forces outside of one’s control.
2. See the Sights in the City
Teens second favorite way to use their cell phones is to watch videos of that kid, animal, or comedian doing or saying the funniest things on Vine, YouTube, and Facebook. How about taking a trip 630 feet into the sky to see up to 30 miles around you on a clear day?
Your visit to The Arch is not complete without journeying to the top. From the top of the tallest man-made monument in the United States and the highest point in downtown St. Louis, you will experience unforgettable views of the city and the Mississippi River. Take a 4-minute ride up the leg of the Arch in an enclosed tram to the Observation Deck.
3. Smell the Scents of Nature
If you have teen boys you probably smell different scents of nature. But, on a trip to the Butterfly House, you can watch their butterfly movie showing continuously throughout the day, explore several outdoor butterfly gardens, or learn about many live invertebrates on display and the butterflies they import. With over 60 butterfly species flying amidst over 150 tropical plants, there is a lot to experience at the Butterfly House.
4. Taste the Foods Famous in the City
Our family favorite for dinner is pizza. I wonder what my kids would think of a St. Louis style slice? Their taste buds might enjoy all of these St. Louis “must try foods”:
- Gooey Butter Cake (The bottom layer of the cake is flat, dense, and made with a box cake mix. The top layer is the “gooey butter,” which is made from powdered sugar and cream cheese. The cake is typically dusted with powdered sugar once cooled.)
- Toasted Ravioli (Ravioli, coated in breading and toasted dry or fried.)
- St. Louis Style Barbecue (Pork steak or St- Louis-style ribs cooked by direct grilling, rather than indirect heat and smoking. Then, they are coated with a sweet, sticky, and acidic tomato-based sauce.)
- Ted Drewes Frozen Custard (also known as St. Louis ice cream, made of custard so thick customers can turn the cups upside down)
- St. Louis style Pizza (cut in squares, thin and crisp, not made with yeast, and topped with white processed cheese – Provel)
5. Feel the Textures in the Places You Explore
Instead of embracing the video game controller or their cell phone, how about exploring old chimneys, salvaged bridges, construction cranes, miles of tile, or abandoned planes?
That’s what you’ll get when you visit City Museum. It is a museum, consisting largely of repurposed architectural and industrial objects, housed in the former 600,000 square-foot International Shoe building in the Washington Avenue Loft District of St. Louis.
It features an eclectic mixture of children’s playground, funhouse, surrealistic pavilion, and architectural marvel made out of unique, found objects.
Yeah, Minecraft, World of War, and Clash of Clans might be fun, but you can’t top that!
Here’s a preview of what you’ll find on the list of 25 Things to Do in St. Louis:
*St. Louis has plenty of kid-friendly, family-oriented activities, that kids of all ages will enjoy. Whether it’s Critter Stuff like an animal encounter or trip to the Zoo, Fun Stuff including amusement and water parks, Wacky Stuff to explore, Artsy Stuff where you can dig in and get your hands dirty or Smart Stuff that combines entertainment and education – you can find something just right for your family in St. Louis.
Plus, lots of places are FREE. Yep, you won’t have to break the piggy bank to have a great time in St. Louis and you’ll probably run out of time before you run out of things to do and see!
*Science Center – The Saint Louis Science Center, founded as a planetarium in 1963, is a collection of buildings including a science museum and planetarium. The main building consists of four levels containing The Ecology and Environment Gallery, Life Science Lab, a computer gallery called Cyberville, the Structures Gallery, the Discovery Room for young children and their parents, and the Omnimax Movie Theater.
In the bridge-tunnel connecting the main building to the Planetarium, there is a Flight! Gallery. All three floors of the Main building showcase the Energizer Ball Machine, which is three stories high. The machine is powered by the Energizer human hamster wheel.
*Art Museum – Located in the heart of historic Forest Park, the Saint Louis Art Museum is one of the nation’s leading comprehensive art museums with collections that include works of art of exceptional quality from virtually every culture and time period.
The public is invited to the Museum every Sunday afternoon for hands-on art activities and a lively 30-minute family tour through the Galleries. Each month’s session of the Family Sundays program focuses on family activities with a different, family-friendly theme.
*Saint Louis Zoo – Enjoy these special attractions: Zooline Railroad, Sea Lion Show, Children’s Zoo, Stingrays at Caribbean Cove, Conservation Carousel, 4-D Theater, Safari Tours, Inspired by Nature at Peabody Hall, and the
Animals Always Sculpture.
The Saint Louis Zoo app features a GPS map, pins that help you find your favorite animals, a photo booth, detailed information about the animals, and more.
*Six Flags – The park opened with six themed sections—Spain, France, England, the United States, Illinois, and Missouri, representing the “Six Flags” for the park. It was the last park built by Six Flags and was originally opened as Six Flags Over Mid-America. It’s the only original park totally owned by Six Flags.
St. Louis Funnest Family Contest
Be sure to enter the #FunnestFamily Contest. To enter, share your family’s funniest picture or video with #FunnestFamily on Instagram, Twitter or on the Explore St. Louis Facebook page. Contest ends 6/30/16. One entry per person. Please visit the contest landing page for more details.
One lucky winner will get:
• A two-night stay at a St. Louis area hotel
• Tickets to several St. Louis attractions for the whole family
• A $50 Visa gift card