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Disconnect and reconnect as a family this summer

It will shock no one to learn that screen time skyrocketed during the pandemic. According to a Western University study, on average, children had nearly six hours of screen time per day. This is nearly three times the amount recommended by the Canadian Pediatric Society. 

While this statistic is less than optimal, it is nonetheless understandable. Parents were suddenly thrown into the incredibly challenging situation of juggling their children’s online learning needs with working from home and heightened domestic responsibilities. 

Playdates took a hiatus. 

Extracurricular activities were canceled. 

Screen time which includes video games, watching television, and using computers and smart devices - provided a much-needed distraction.

That was then, though, and this is now. After a rough couple of years of social distancing and increased couch time, it’s looking promising that this could be the summer to reconnect with loved ones with nary a screen in sight! 

Here’s a whole host of ways to disconnect and reconnect this summer:

Get out of town

There is something truly magical about a road trip. Road trip snacks, road trip games, carefully-curated road trip playlists, road trip wildlife. Good thing there is no shortage of great road trip options within spitting distance of Calgary. A few of our favorites include:

  • Banff is a regular go-to for Calgarians, but keep on driving another 60km and you’ll hit Lake Louise, which has so much more to offer than just skiing, including hiking, canoeing, visiting the Lake Agnes tea house (7.2km round trip), or catching afternoon tea at the much-easier-to-access Fairmont Chateau.
  • 90km away in the Badlands is Drumheller, most known for their Royal Tyrrell Museum. In addition to the museum, the town itself has fully embraced its paleontology-focused reputation and is all sorts of fun to check out.
  • Have a Star Trek fan in the family? If so, Vulcan is a must-do. The town of 2000, 130km from Calgary, has leaned into its name in a big way! 
  • Crowsnest Pass, two hours from Calgary, has lots to see and do including visiting the Frank Slide Interpretive Centre, the Bellevue Underground Mine, hiking, and exploring the five towns that make up the Pass.

Eat outside

Hot summer days and nights provide the perfect opportunity to dine in the great outdoors. Whether it is sampling the wares at one of Calgary’s many festivals, going for an al fresco lunch in Stanley Park, or grabbing a scoop at Village Ice Cream, something about eating outdoors just makes the food taste better.

Commit to trying some new activities this summer

With such a short summer season, it’s no wonder that many Calgarians look for any excuse to spend as much time as possible outside. Here are some fun, seasonal activities that may be worth exploring as a family:

  • Frisbee golf
  • Lawn bowling
  • Archery
  • Tennis
  • Golf (the City of Calgary has family nights available for those who are just starting out)
  • Urban hikes
  • Mini golf
  • Fishing
  • Roller blading

Get your swim on

Calgary is home to several lake communities, and the residents of those communities are used to summer days spent at their neighborhood lake. For those who don’t live in lake communities there are still water options a-plenty, including:

  • Outdoor pools – Stanley Park, South Calgary, Silver Springs, Mount Pleasant, Millican-Ogden, and Forest Lawn all have popular outdoor pools. 
  • Local lakes – Sikome Lake, Chestermere Lake, Bowness Lagoon, Quarry Lake, and Ghost Lake are all right in Calgary or within an hour drive.
  • Splash parks – these hit the spot when cooling down is desired without committing to a full day of swimming, and Calgary is home to some great ones! (See a full list on page 10.) Don’t forget the waterproof sunscreen!

However you choose to reconnect, make sure that the disconnect is part of the equation by making a family commitment to put the phones away. 

Wishing you a wonderful summer full of rich family memories!

Erika Holter is a Canadian freelance writer and content creator as well as a writer for WordPLAY Consulting. Every business, and every person, has a story and Erika loves to tell those stories.

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