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From the desk of the Head Master 26 April 2018

Our School Counsellor, Meg Harper, emailed us all earlier this week and asked us to share ideas about what a pre-digital childhood looked like. Digital addiction is a serious and growing issue, but many of our digital native children have little or no concept of what it is like to grow up without access to computers and phones. We all want them to restrict their screen time, but what on earth does one do instead?

The response was fabulous and Meg was deluged with lots of suggestions - memories of halcyon days. Reading more books, cleaning your shoes, doing some housework and packing your bag for tomorrow are all givens, and were often repeated, but here are some the other suggestions (and if reading comes up again, it's just because it's important)…

Pre-digital activities

Listen to music

Learn an instrument and work out how to play your favourite songs

Write music.

Write poems.

Write stories.

Write a diary.

Create storyboards.

Draw or paint.



Film trick shots with friends, edit them and put them to music.

Do jigsaw puzzles.

Play card games – whist, pontoon, rummy.

Play board games.

Learn magic tricks.

Walk the dog.


Crafts such as knitting or sewing.

Crossword puzzles, sudoku, wordsearch.

Read the newspaper.

Discuss the news, politics or sport with the family.

Non-digital solo games like Traffic Jam, Solitaire (with marbles).

Walk the dog (if not too dark).

Help in the garden (if not too dark).

Experimental baking.

Ride a bike.

Play Frisbee.

Take up photography.

Develop an interest in art history or architecture.

Fail to interact with females. Repeatedly.

Talk to friends on the telephone.

Play squash.

Join a youth group.

Join a church group.

Join the Cubs or Scouts.

Work for or raise money for charity.

Work very hard on schoolwork.

Join a local drama group.

Run or jog.

Go to the gym.

Compile mixed tapes (playlists, I suppose – this might be digital).

Play Dungeons & Dragons – the paper based version.

Make Airfix models.

Paint miniature figures.

Compile memorabilia/scrapbooks.

Sing – alone or in a choir.

Write letters – yes, on paper.

Chinese chequers.

Hunt for birds’ nests and count the eggs at this time of year – has to be done carefully!

Go canoeing.

Fly kites.

Translate favourite songs into another language.

Trivial Pursuit – the proper hard one.

Colouring-in books.

Kicking a ball (round or oval) up and down the garden.

Practising bowling a cricket ball in the garden. Badly.

Lego – until I was older than I care to admit.

Read comic books.

Play table-tennis with a sibling – or against the wall.

Polish your boots for CCF and iron your kit – very diligently.

House work. Chores.

Listen to Radio 4 plays or talk radio.

Play Monopoly.

Talk to other human beings (neighbours, family) without the intermediary of a mobile phone.

Practise tennis or throwing/catching with a sibling against the wall.

Listen to audiobooks, whilst painting or colouring.

Play with k’nex.

Play with the dog.

Make fruit smoothies.

Brain puzzles.


Do things with the family.

Bicycle maintenance.

Pets – learning about them / caring for them.

Milking cows (ask permission first).

Air Guitar!

Tinkered around on a computer for some (lots) of the time - CREATING not just CONSUMING.

Make dens in the woods.

Talk to parents and grandparents.

Go fishing.

Dance in front of the mirror!

Play Risk, Cosmic Encounter, Command and Colours (all board games).

Make various weapons; bows and arrows mainly.


Sew, knit, crotchet.

Make presents for friends and family.

Walk home from school with a friend, instead of getting the bus.

Whittle wood.

Practise lighting fires and cooking outside.

Camp in the garden.

Sit still in a wood/forest and watch the place come alive around you.

Learn magic tricks.

Learn to juggle.

Play with a model railway.

Climbing trees.


Stilt walking.