Summer Rules: Back to Basics for your Modern Family

Summer is finally here! The sun is out. The temps are warm. The days are lighter longer. It is – hands down – my family’s favorite time of year. It’s time to make some summer rules. This summer I’m committed to keeping my family outside as much as possible to play and explore. I remember when I was a kid I would be outside playing with my friends from sun up to sun down. We would ride bikes, swim at the local pool, explore the town center, and just play-play-play in our backyards for hours. My neighborhood growing up was full of kids, so there was never a shortage of someone to play with outside.

Summer Rules: Back to Basics for your Modern Family

I want my 5 kids to have the same kind of summers! The kind of summers that you remember because they were all about experiences that you can’t and won’t forget! The big difference in this day and age is smartphones. Smartphones have taken over and I’m the first to admit that all 4 of my sons have them.That’s why this summer I’m laying down some summer rules, BIG TIME.

When we purchased them smartphones specifically for us being able to get in touch with them and for safety purposes. With 4 sons who are constantly on the go in the summer with friends and family members who live close by, I wanted to make sure every one of them was armed with a smartphone. I like the idea of being able to call them if they’re spending the night at my brother’s house to say goodnight.

I like the idea of them being able to call me or text me if they miss their summer camp bus or ride home. I like the idea of them getting in touch with me after they’ve biked to a friend’s house to hang out. For me there’s a safety and reassurance factor when it comes to smartphones, which is the main reason why they have them. The problem is that smartphones have evolved into distracting screens for them and this isn’t going to “fly” for me this summer.

I want them to truly experience childhood the way it’s supposed to be —the freedom to explore, use their imaginations, and play outside with friends—without distracting screens, or any of the worries that come with smartphones.

I’m ready to put childhood back in MOTION for them and I’m doing that this summer with RELAY. With kids that are 5, 10, 11, 12 and 13… these are prime ages for summer fun and I know Relay is going to help me out! This is the best resource for summer rules because I’m able to actually see and make change on my end.

Summer Rules

If you haven’t heard about Relay, you’re about to be introduced!

Summer Rules

Relay is a nationwide walkie talks that celebrates adventure and leaves smartphone worries behind. Relay combines the range of a phone with the fun of a walkie talkie — for a simple, screen less, voice connection that makes staying in touch easy as can be! I mean, it literally has nationwide 4G LTE and WiFi coverage so your kids are connected everywhere. And my personal favorite feature, it’s GPS enabled so I can check their location with a simple glance on my Relay app.

My 4 sons had never heard of Relay before, so they were intrigued from the start. Since they love to be “on the go” in the summer with their friends, they thought it was cool that they didn’t have to worry about using too much of their data up on their smartphones. This summer with out summer rules in place I don’t want data eaten up like Pac Man pellets! Not to mention – all I had to say was walkie-talkie and they were really excited about it! Honestly – it’s so simple and so effective.

Our goal was to build a device with the power, sensors, and connectivity of a smartphone, all in a simple exterior a 5-year-old could operate. “Designing something better” usually means adding features and complexity, but we did the opposite—removing the screen, and constraining most interactions to a single button. Making technology disappear is beyond challenging. But we were determined to deliver more with less.

Kids Going Back to Basics in the Summer

So how are we using Relay?


We’re a BIG outside game family. My kids love to play games, especially oldies that I’ve taught them from my own childhood. There’s nothing like seeing your kids eyes light up when you teach them a new game that they can play. First on my summer rules? We’re playing lots of outdoor games!

A big fave of theirs right now is Spud. Remember Spud? I used to play this for hours with my friends when I was kid. Spud is a fun outdoor game and it’s a very simple game, too. All you need to play spud is at least 5 people (thankfully we fit the bill with just the McClelland kids)! Everyone is given a number and then the players try to eliminate each other by catching and throwing an inflated and generally soft ball.

The person whose number was called catches the ball and then yells “Spud!” When he or she yells this, everyone must freeze. The person with the ball then is allowed to take three giant steps toward any player. He or she throws the ball and tries to hit someone close to them. But here’s the thing… when the ball is thrown high up into the air, players are supposed to run as far away as they can! So basically kids are everywhere! I swear it’s also like playing hide-and-go seek, too!

McClelland - Brotherly Love

Since my kids don’t always like to stay in the backyard, I love that they can take Relay and go off to play with buddies and I can still keep in touch with them. I can see where they are and and my kids can simply press one button and speaks a message that I instantly receive it on my Relay phone app. And it’s just as easy to reply, too. I can keep tabs on where they are, but also know that I don’t need to call them in order to stay in touch.

Playing SPUD

The best part? No screens necessary at all!

I’m not looking to take their smartphones away, I’m just looking to bring them back to basics and remind them of the power and the beauty of summer play. I love seeing them take breaks from their screens and really be in the moment with each other and their friends… just like I did when I was a kid. It’s time to get outside this summer and really bring families back to basics! We’re all so used to technology being part of our worlds, which is great – but there’s a time and place for it. I love that Relay bridges together a perfect combination of being able to stay in touch with encouraging outdoor play! It’s a win-win for parents and kids everywhere!

Check out our YouTube Channel for more summer fun to have with your family!

See my summer fun content for your family:

Ways for Kids to Make Money this Summer

Things to Do in the Summer with Toddlers

Summer Bucket List: 101 Things To Do

Why Joining a Swim Team is the Best

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post with Republic Wireless. All opinions are 100% my own.

Summer Rules: Back to Basics for your Modern Family was last modified: June 4th, 2019 by Audrey McClelland
SHOWHIDE Comments (15)
  1. Such a great idea! And I love that it’s so portable so you don’t have to worry about the bulk of a phone when you are running around playing. I’d never heard of this before, but I will check it out now!

  2. This is the coolest thing ever! I remember having so much fun with walkie-talkies when I was a little kid. All kids should have that kind of fun in their lives. I also love that it takes away the worry of losing a phone signal.

  3. No screens…I’m in!!! Love those shirts. Outdoors families are where it’s at these days. Keep it up!

  4. Wow! How cool is that! It’s so small too I’d never have known even what it was!

  5. I NEED about 5 of them for my older kids! What a great idea! I like how compact it is.

  6. I haven’t heard of Relay before, but now I am intrigued. I love the idea of shortening screen time and getting back to outdoor play in the summer. I am definitely going to be looking more into this!

  7. I couldn’t agree with you more. It’s so important to take breaks from screen time. I am doing the same with my kiddies!

  8. This would be great for my sons to have when they go on outdoor adventures with their friends. I know they are responsible young adults, but you’ll never know what might come up while they go camping or hiking or just by going on a field trip with their sports team. It would give me peace of mind to know that they are constantly in contact with each other, with or without a cellphone signal.

  9. This looks like it would be so much fun to keep the kids busy. I have three home this summer and I think they would really enjoy this.

  10. Some people may disagree with this and say that this is so much like helicopter parenting. I don’t think so. If it gives parents some peace of mind, and provides the children an easy way to communicate with their parents, I am all for it. I think this is a really awesome device to have for families who love the outdoors.

  11. There’s no doubt that this one’s a game changer especially when it comes to a child’s safety. I think it’s awesome that they can send messages without hassle and it’s easy to take with them as well. Definitely something that parents must consider getting for their family! So innovative!

  12. I love this concept of having a device that doesnt involve a tablet or phone. It makes going outside fun again it look like your family had a great time!

Summer Rules: Back to Basics for your Modern Family was last modified: June 4th, 2019 by Audrey McClelland