Tag Archives: Mr. Rogers

Childhood unplugged! Celebrate Screen-Free Week

While I spent many pre-adolescent hours claiming otherwise, I now feel incredibly lucky to have grown up in an almost entirely screen-free home.  As I shared in this post on Mr. Rogers, I enjoyed a magical 30-minutes-a-day of PBS during my preschool years, but after that, our little black box stayed off through high school.

The lack of screens in my childhood is a bit ironic when you figure my father was one of the very first Computer Science PhDs – but fun computer time in the 80’s meant either a game of Pong or learning to program the Logo turtle to walk in a line – both thrilling, but certainly nowhere near the all-consuming appeal of today’s computer offerings for kids.

While there is certainly loads of fantastic digital content available to kids today and quality educational brain snacks served up on a screen, I strongly believe that time spent away from the glass is critical for healthy development.  I’ve blogged before about the beauty of allowing – and encouraging kids to be BORED – and the amazing things that can emerge when left to their own devices to create, innovate, and stretch to find new ways to entertain themselves.

I’m so thrilled to celebrate Screen-Free Week this week.  This annual national celebration encourages children, families, schools, and communities to turn off TV, video games, computers, and hand-held devices – and turn on life. Instead of relying on screens for entertainment, they play, read, daydream, explore nature, and enjoy spending time with family and friends.

Check out this Pinterest board for loads of fun ideas for games and crafts you and your family can create together – and learn while you’re laughing!

Source: Childhood Beckons

Whether playing outdoors, writing the next great novel, or planning a family game night, there are loads of creative ways to make screen-free time enriching and fun for the whole family!  I would love to hear your creative ideas… Want to get involved? For a listing of Screen-Free Week activities in your community, click here!

I’d love to hear your ideas – how will your family celebrate?! (please post – then kiss your screen goodnight and go play!)


Thank you, Mr. Rogers!

Last week a friend sent the “Garden of Your Mind: Mr. Rogers Remixed” video, and it brought the biggest smile to my face.  Another friend sent it, and I teared up… by the 3rd viewing, I had goosebumps, a giant grin, and was reaching for the Kleenex – a bit of a mess, but 2 things are abundantly clear – I have friends who know me very well, and I love the bejeezus out of Fred Rogers!

This video makes me so happy I had to give it a home on my blog!

Growing up, my parents enacted a strict “no tv” policy – and I mean strict! (No mom, I’m not launching an “I was deprived of pop culture” diatribe, I’ll save that for another post!).  The exception was 30 minutes of PBS a day through kindergarten – half an hour I’d spend inches from our 13″ black & white screen, engrossed in either Sesame Street or Mr. Rogers.  On days I was sick, I’d often score big and get to watch both!

For me, Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood was such a happy place – and I remember my delight each time the train pulled up to take me away to the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.

I remember Mr. Rogers for his calm, predictable routine – his shoes, his sweaters (which I recently learned were all knitted by his mom!), his fish, his tolerance, his mailman, and most of all his calm kindness.

Hand-made sweater worn by Fred Rogers, in the Smithsonian Museum of American History

Mr. Rogers encouraged children everywhere to ask questions, to explore, and to celebrate their minds.  Fred Rogers believed childhood curiosity should know no bounds – and that message is something I’ve carried with me throughout my career.  So, “Did you ever grow anything in the garden of your mind?!”