Technology rules, especially for kids. Smartphones, iPads, tablets and other devices are the recreation choice of the day.

The family unit has taken a hit from technology. Instead of conversing at the dinner table, your 10-year-old is playing a game on his iPad. After dinner, your teenage daughter jumps up, texting madly on her smartphone on the way down the hall to her room and you won’t see her again until bedtime. On a weekend afternoon, your son can be heard shouting in his room because he is playing a video game on his Xbox with his friend who lives a block away.

What to do? The fix is simple: find things to do outside the home with your kids that put them into family mode and go a long way towards making happy memories. All memories made must be device free, so the kids have to leave them at home.

Try these three examples of family activities that don’t include a screen.

Kids Under 10

When a child is approaching the age of 10, his world is really starting to open up. Instead of opening it up on an iPad, why not take him on a one-day excursion every Saturday?

Make the decision as a family during the week as to where you want to go and then get out of the house. One day excursions in New Jersey are a dime a dozen. You could take your child to a family fun place called Demarest Farms. The expansive farm and orchard is not only fun, but educational, too.

Choose a season and go on a hayride out to the fields to pick peaches, apples, or pumpkins as a family. You can visit the farm animals, learn about the daily farm life and more. When you decide to have lunch, you can choose a place on the grounds for a picnic made with some of the best food you’ll ever taste. From homemade daily soups to a made-from-scratch salad bar and deli, you’re guaranteed the best. They also have a custom bakery where everything is made from scratch; even the ice cream stand has ice cream made from a dairy near the farm.


Kids today might not spend that much time outdoors, but in New Jersey families have a large variety of outdoor activities to choose from—outdoor activities that any preteen would love to do with her parents.

Go ballooning! Captivating hot air balloon rides are available in north and central New Jersey.

One evening during the week, everybody can take a night off and go on a sunset dinner cruise, or whale and dolphin watching. Paddle boarding or parasailing are two other good choices, especially if you haven’t done them before.

If you as a family can choose things to do that you would like to learn together, that makes it worth getting away from your phone, and is a lot more fun, as well.


He's not a baby anymore, he's growing up. And growing up calls for more grown-up sports. In their late teens, boys like to start doing things like motorcycle riding, repelling—anything that is a little more “grown-up” and maybe even a little dangerous.

Go on a one-on-one kind of excursion. Hunting, for example, is something fathers and sons enjoy doing together and is an activity that would make some good memories.

There are more than 750,000 acres of public land in 27 different parks that are dedicated to hunting in New Jersey, according to the New Jersey Division of Fish & Wildlife. Locating an area to hunt will be no problem. Don’t forget, the state of New Jersey requires all hunters to have a hunting certificate to purchase a hunting license. Jump online and get one, it’s that easy.

For water lovers, the lakes in northwest New Jersey are great for families that love water skiing and all things water sport.