Unplug and Connect!

Unplug and connect with 24 hours of family fun during the National Day of Unplugging!

unplug by Andres Amador 2400
Photo courtesy of Andres Amador

Celebrate the annual National Day of Unplugging, an event dedicated to family connection. This year the event starts at sundown on Friday, March 4 and runs until sundown on Saturday, March 5. The dedicated family day centers around putting devices to “sleep” and focusing on loved ones. There are no social media check-ins, just living in the moment through art, music, recreation and play. So, what’s the best way to focus on family and reconnect? National Day of Unplugging (NDU) has 50 ideas on their website for socially distanced fun. Here are a few favorites.

fort night 2400
Create Fort Night (not Fortnite) Fun!
Build a fort with boxes, toss blankets over a table or create an A-frame with couch cushions. Fill it with family, plush friends, flashlights and books. Make a picnic. Try an alternative to traditional s’mores (www.sandiegofamily.com/things-to-do/dining-and-recipes/21-ways-to-make-smores), pretend the power is out and camp in the living room. IKEA offers instructions on Instagram for those who lack architectural fort skills, or use Noodle Builder Girders (durable, foam connectors) and pool noodles to create forts with doors that open and close. 

book box 2400
Join a Little Free Library Scavenger Hunt

NDU ambassadors with their own Little Free Libraries (LFL) are conducting scavenger hunts in Clairemont, La Mesa, Santee, North/South Park and Calipatria (Imperial County). Families who register on the NDU site will be given information about the hunt closest to their home (before unplugging, of course), in addition to the first clue. After that, follow the clues at each participating LFL (and pick up free, used books). Some LFL sites will offer special giveaways and treats. The San Diego County Bicycle Coalition will teach kids how to correctly adjust their helmets at stops on the Clairemont and North/South Park routes.

London kaye 2400
Take Your Art Public

Artists Andres Amador and London Kaye will instruct participants how to create public art. Amador is an environmental artist who creates beautiful mandalas in sand, using a rake. He filmed a movie at Moonlight Beach (Encinitas) showing beachgoers how to make an ephemeral sand drawing, and a video short on making nature art in the backyard.

Kaye is a yarn-bomber who teaches would-be urban artists how to crochet simple pieces on chain link fences and trees. Her instructions and supplies are available on the NDU website. Kaye’s Crochet for a Cause movement inspires artists to crochet signs for people moving from homelessness into a safe living environment.

Sculptor Andy Goldsworthy takes rock stacking and nature art to another level. The Early Years Learning Framework offers downloadable lessons for creating Goldsworthy-type art with young children at www.andygoldsworthy101.weebly.com/index.html. Locally, kids might gain inspiration from The Sandcastle Man, whose gravity-defying creations grace Coronado beaches and private events.

Additional “unplug and connect” ideas include participating in mindful practices like yoga and meditation, taking a bike ride, heading to the snow for a sledding adventure or having a family dance party. Families can also volunteer or delve into a big home project, such as cleaning up the garden and celebrating with an evening tea party (complete with fancy dresses and hats). Let’s hope this dedicated full day inspires more days (or even hours) of screen-free family fun.


Resources

National Day of Unplugging
Consider registering on the NDU site (it’s free). There are optional paid upgrades with special offers, such as cell phone “sleeping bags” and other goodies.

Discover 24 Ways to Connect with Nature in San Diego!


Foam Noodle Connectors

Yarn bomber/artist, London Kaye

Environmental artist, Andres Amador

Coronado’s Sandcastle Man, Bill Pavlacka

Emily Dolton is a local artist and National Day of Unplugging Ambassador.

Here's how we spent the Day of Unplugging:

Unplugged 21 kids2

Unplugged 21 helments

Unplugged 21 kids

unplugged 21 emily

Unplug2021 bike

We’d love to see how you spend your screen-free days! Share your family’s adventures on social media with the hashtags #NationalDayofUnplugging and #ShareSanDiegoFamily. Be sure to tag @SanDiegoFamilyMagazine. 

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