Behavioral Therapies,  Living the Life

Here’s How to Make a Quick Summer Activity Menu

My son hits the three-hour mark of gaming on his iPad, and it’s not even lunchtime. Fingers poised on the internet-rationing app, I’m ready to give him just…30…more…minutes, when…

“Wait, wait, there’s another way!” a little voice chirps in the back of my mind.

“Yeah, maybe,” I say wearily, “but I can’t think of a single one right now.”

“That’s where a little photo chart comes in handy!” the tiny voice enthuses.

“Handy, you say? You sound a little too cheerful to me, but go ahead, I’m listening.” 

“You can use a photo chart of simple activities to help anchor your day. It’s a small something to resist the screen, if only for an hour. Something eye-catching, fun, and easy to make!”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

Bulleted activity lists quickly get buried under stacks of papers or posted on a forgotten wall. But a splashy photo collage? That’s way more fun and a little bit harder to ignore.

Me and the voice of Hope, let’s call her, put this activity menu together (pictured) in about 5 minutes. We used Layout for Instagram, but there are many other free layout apps for mobile devices out there. Here’s what I did: (“And you can do it too!” adds Hope)

1. I took pictures of my person doing enjoyable, easy activities other than screen-time—no prompt needed for that one! I chose my favorites and flagged them in my album.  

2. For activities that I didn’t have images for, I created screenshots of random, similarly-aged people doing the preferred activity, saved them, and flagged them on my device.

3. I downloaded the free layout app.

4. I pulled my images into the app, chose a pre-formatted layout, then cropped, flipped, and resized them within the program.

5. I sent that beautiful creation to print!

These apps are so much fun because there’s no need to take the extra steps of downloading images and bringing them into a layout program on your PC (so 2010!). I gave our menu a blue backing and pinned it up in a high-traffic area.

Activity Menu is on the scene

I adapted the idea of a Free Time Activity Menu from Sarah Ward’s Executive Functioning Webinar, where she had it formatted as a written list. You can find out more about her Executive Functioning Webinar on this blog post, or on her website https://efpractice.com.  

Some popular layout apps are: Layout for Instagram for iPhone/Android, Collage Maker for Android, Grid Post Maker for Instagram for iPhone/Android, Pic Jointer Grid Photo Collage for iPhone, 9Square for Instagram for Android

Free images can be found on these websites: pexels.com, unsplash.com pixabay.com.

 

 

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