SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Monday marked the first day of screen-free week. During the first week of May, thousands of families, schools, and communities across the nation are being put to the ultimate test, can we truly put down our screens for seven consecutive days? Nowadays it seems like kids are born with an iPad in their hands.

Although it can be intimidating to turn off the screens, unplugging can help students have more time to engage in other enriching activities. An hour once dedicated to video games or YouTube becomes an hour spent outside; ten minutes on social media can turn into ten minutes spent working on reading comprehension skills.

Experts believe that a healthy childhood depends on play. Constantly being on screens displaces the kind of creative play kids need to thrive. It’s through creative play that kids can explore their physical world, build their curiosity, and expand their imaginations.

22News spoke with Square One in Springfield to find out why kids need time away from the screens. Vanessa Pashkoff, an early childhood education coach said, “A child’s brain is still developing and having time away from the screens is imperative for executive functioning skills which include memory work self regulation being able to follow a process and also just having a way to make sure there’s creativity there.”

Kids of all ages can take part in screen free week, many schools across the country will host creative events that foster interest in reading physical play and even exploring nature.

The creators of screen free week have a list of over 101 activities that you can do with your loved ones, some of them include writing stories, painting, doing arts and crafts or even taking time to learn basic sign language. The opportunities are endless when we put our screens down even if it’s for a bit.