When my family and I went back home to Mississippi for graduation, it was amazing to catch up with Great Aunts and Uncles, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th cousins – the whole clan. It was the perfect opportunity to reminisce about my childhood there–playing outside, little league, fish fries accompanied with blues, and playing made-up games with my cousins. Hand held games weren’t a thought for us, using our parents phones for YouTube and TikTok was not an option. Bottom line, we had to use our siblings, cousins and the neighborhood kids as entertainment and our imagination for the wifi–we were unplugged but having fun. 

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Growing up like that, I was disturbed at the fact that my son and his cousins are the opposite of unplugged. They sat on their Nintendos and phones the whole time at the graduation party, instead of joining their other cousins in the park just a few feet away. Anytime I tried to take the phone away he would become upset, I didn’t want him to be miserable so I eventually gave in and let him his electronics against my better judgment. 

Moms, we can fight against technology or we can share the attention. While there is a time and place to wind down or pass time with screen time, this Summer I’m focusing on some unplugged, outside fun. I coach, train, and teach, so I can come up with activities that allow my son to be entertained through other mediums, challenge him at the same time and no need to take up a second job for multiple camps. We’re looking forward to lots of hiking, museum trips, random car rides into the hill country, making up games, and practicing his writing. In addition to that, I want to show my son that he can be unplugged and still have tons of fun this Summer. Here are a few of our favorite spots where you can find us making memories this season…perfect for keeping kiddos minds and bodies active.

Splash Shack in Cedar Park is a small indoor water park that allows for the parents to sit and let the kids cool off inside on a water playscape. Suitable for tikes 12months to 10. It also has a snack bar inside with some favorite quick snacks. 

Rock’n River out in Round Rock’s Old Settlers’ park is another fun watering hole for the whole family to enjoy. A personal favorite of mine to go head-on with the heat. 

The Thinkery is my son’s favorite. It’s an interactive kid’s museum filled with S.T.E.M attractions that the kids can engage with. Water play, magnetics, lights and mechanics- it’s a place where the kids can learn and have fun-unplugged!

Round Rock Play For All Park is a huge park geared to children of all abilities. It’s shaded, with a trail in the backdrop for a family stroll. If you come out at the right time you’re liable to catch the Kona Ice truck out serving their delicious snow cones. I suggest making that a late evening stop with this outrageous heat we’re having. 

Playland Skate Rink in Austin is another way to beat the heat this summer and get the kids active. 

Not completely unplugged, but there are a few arcades to explore and get them off the couch. Pinballz, Chucke Cheese, Cidercade, EVO, Austin’s Park, Mt. Playmore, Monster Mini Golf, Sparetime, Main Event & Pinstack adds bowling. 

We love bouncing around at trampoline parks. Altitude and Urban Air are great. 

Don’t let technology take over childhood, it’s crucial to their grand development to unlock the imagination they possess and not block it. How are you spending your unplugged Summer? 

Ashley Brown
My name is Ashley Brown and I have been an adopted citizen of Austin since I was 6 years old. I’m a country kid from the Delta of Mississippi chasing city dreams – I’m a Texissippian. I'm an Army vet, and now I'm helping the youth in the Austin area grow on the basketball court--teaching life skills through basketball. I’ve always wanted to be a mom for as long as I could remember. I took a non-traditional route and I hand-picked him and that’s what makes our bond a little more special. If I’m not in the gym coaching and mentoring kids, or in the arcades with my kiddo & crew, I am on the hiking trails trying to find the quiet within the storm that is growing Austin. I also like to catch up on the latest food spots to grab a tasty bite.


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