Summer Fun – Get Moving | Ask an Ann Arbor Expert

Are you looking to Get Moving this summer? Ypsilanti Mom Keri and her daughters have written the book Screen-Free Summer Endless Ideas to Get Kids off the Device and into the Summer. In today’s Ask an Ann Arbor Expert post, she brings us 13 Ideas to Get the Family Moving in excerpts from her book. I’ve added some local suggestions for some of the ideas.

Disclosure: Ann Arbor with Kids is compensated for sales through Amazon links. Thank you for supporting the site by shopping through our links.

Screen Free Summer: Endless Ideas to Get Kids off the Device and into the Season is free with a Kindle Unlimited subscription. It is $2.99 to purchase for Kindle and $9.99 to purchase as a paperback.

Screen-Free Summer

Endless Ideas to Get Kids off the Device and into the Summer

an excerpt, including abstract encouragements and concrete ideas

What follows is neither a philosophy nor a manifesto. It is simply a manual chock full of ideas of how to use the wide expanse of June, July, and August, what we fondly call “summer” in the Northern Hemisphere.

Screen-free is not a punishment, but an opportunity. Studies have shown that kids with less screen time read more, are more active, and engage with the world around them in a deeper way. One family reported that their children bickered less and were more good-natured when they gave up devices for several weeks.


We think it’s important to watch out for the “vice” in “device”. It has been shown that screens can be addictive, both for kids and adults – and addicts get grumpy when they don’t get their fix. We encourage families to offer something better than devices, such as an outing, a skill, or the wonderland of their own imaginations.

We would be remiss not to acknowledge the irony that many readers will read this very book on a device. Fine. No problem. What comes afterward is the important part.

How to Use this Book

Please treat this book like you would a buffet: take what pleases you and leave the rest behind What seems fun to one family may leave another family yawning. No big deal. Feel free to modify to accommodate kids from toddlers to teenagers. So use this book as a springboard. We invite you to come up with your own screen-free ideas and post them on our facebook page, Screen-Free Summer: Endless Ideas book. Yes, you’ll have to sneak some screen time for this. Feel free to post photos of your families engaging in some of these activities. Or better yet, don’t post on the facebook page. Instead, tell your friend or neighbor about it and encourage them!


Let us also say that the Internet is wonderful. Tablets are our newspapers, our maps, our pony express. They entertain, organize, teach. But they are not everything. We feel that much of the memories of life, most of the lessons, are experienced away from screens. One idea is to use online resources to plan the week (consulting maps, museum hours, recipes, etc.) during a designated research time. We can model using screens as a way to have access to information. Then step away from the screen. Let’s help our families get off the device and into the season!

from Chapter 11: Get Moving

Summer is a great opportunity to get some extra exercise or try a new sport. Physical exercise has also been known to decrease the need for many medications while increasing the ability to concentrate and get along with others.  For a more in-depth look at these claims, I recommend the book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. We sure enjoy those endorphins at our house!

    • Take a bus somewhere. Even a short ride to the library or the grocery store will get you out and about. Editor’s Note: Check out to plan your trip. Ride free on Saturday’s through August 26 with your Ann Arbor District Library Card
    • Walk or run a 5K, or perhaps just a 1 mile fun run. The excitement of the crowd is infectious and may have you skipping.
      Get Moving - Saline Summerfest 5k
    • Ride a bike to your destination (library, park, store, etc). You could bring a picnic, if you like. Editor’s Note: Check out our playground profiles

Ann Arbor Activities - Visit a Playground

  • Go on a nature walk. Many city parks have nature trails behind them. Bring a camera or sketchbook to document birds, fish, and turtles you might see.
  • Climb a ropes course. Not for the faint of heart. Editor’s Note: Check out our experiences on these two courses
  • Attend a zumba class, or just dance to Latin music at home.
  • Bounce at an indoor inflatable playscape or trampoline park. Editor’s Note: Check out these local venues:
    • SkyZone has locations in Canton, Taylor, and Brighton
    • Pump It Up – Now in Westland
  • Go to McDonald’s playland. Bonus: it’s air-conditioned!
      • 3001 Lohr Rd, Ann Arbor

    • 5550 W Michigan Ave, Ypsilanti
    • 7847 E Michigan Ave, Saline
  • Jump rope, hoola hoop, or square dance. See chapter on Vintage Fun.
  • Enjoy a taste of winter by ice skating at an indoor rink. Editors Note:
  • Create an obstacle course in the backyard, or at the park. Editor’s Note: Pittsfield Township’s Woolley Park has some Ninja Warrior like obstacles
    Woolley Park Playground Profile - Challenge Park Spinners
  • Visit as many municipal pools as you can. Editor’s Note: See our list of 10 Places to get wet
    10 Places to Get Wet: Ann Arbor Swimming Pools
  • Chores such as pulling weeds or sweeping the deck are good exercise too, especially when peppy music has you working quickly.


Participate in a kids triathlon and let the proceeds benefit a local cause. The Kids Triathlon at Rutherford Pool is a non-competitive one nearby. Deadline to register is August 9. We’ll be there!

This article was written by a Guest Poster:

Ask an Ann Arbor Expert Series

This article is the second in our new summer series, Ask an Ann Arbor Expert. Each week we will be featuring advice from an Ann Arbor expert on a family friendly topic. Would you like to be featured as an Ann Arbor Expert? Contact us for more information about appearing in the column.

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