Outside with Charlie: Unplug this week

By From page A11 | May 04, 2012


Are you and yours spending too much time tethered to the electronic grid? If so, perhaps it’s time to assess what you are able to do outside instead of inside.

Screen Free Week asks that you do something very simple. Unplug yourself from the TV, Internet, and the various other electronic devices that you spend time with, for one week, until next Tuesday.

Here are some outdoor recreation suggestions for you and your little ones for this week, and perhaps even longer:

If your children aren’t in school yet, gather them up and go outside. Start a small garden and have your children help plan what to plant.

Go for a walk.

Go to the Crocker Art Museum if you are in range of Sacramento.

Walk along the river front in Old Sacramento, explore the old buildings in the historic area.

Take a hike on the American River Bike Trail. Pack some goodies and enjoy a picnic just about anywhere along the trail. Ride your bicycles on the trail on a different day.

Head out of town and explore Auburn, Grass Valley or Nevada City on the Highway 80 corridor.

On the Highway 50 corridor, go to Placerville and explore this historic old gold mining town. Head down Highway 49 to Coloma and see where gold was discovered at Marshall State Park.

Walk around Sly Park Lake in Pollock Pines or trundle through Apple Hill.

Go further up Highway 50 into South Lake Tahoe. Continue through the “Y” towards Camp Richardson. A fantastic paved bike trail weaves through the forest on the lake side of Highway 89. Walk the trail if cycling isn’t for you.

Walk along the shore of Lake Tahoe, from Camp Richardson to Taylor Creek.

Have lunch or dinner at the Beacon, or the Burger Lounge. For coffee, hot chocolate and goodies, go to Alpina Coffee Cafe.

When you get home, take some time to remember what you saw and heard, and what the favorite spots were.

Get out some paper, crayons, pencils, and paints and spend some time with your children painting, perhaps something from one of your jaunts, or something around your yard or in your head.

Read a story each day to your children. Go to the library with them and check out some books.

Towards the end of the week, take your journal notes, drawings and paintings, and make a book chronicling all you did during your unplugged week. All it takes is a little tape, perhaps some twine, and your imagination.

For your older children, adjust the schedule a bit. Ask them what they’d like to do outside, where they might like to explore. Encourage them to keep the journal and help make a family book at the end of the week.

Perhaps your unplugged week will turn into many unplugged hours, spent with your family, exploring, painting, and reading. It’s a week well invested for building great family memories. Get outside!


Charlie Ferris

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