Creative Kid-Friendly Activities to Help Kids Unplug

With more digital distractions available to kids than ever before, getting them to unplug, get active, and socialize can be a real challenge for parents.


Somewhere at this very moment, a fellow mom is panicking about what to do with her kids this summer and the standard day camp just isn’t cutting it any more. Kids today want something that is exciting and different—definitely not something everyone else is doing.

With more digital distractions and online activities available at your children’s fingertips than ever before, getting kids to unplug, get active, and socialize can be a real challenge for parents. In fact, it’s reported that elementary school aged children spend an average of 7.5 hours per day on entertainment technology like TV, video games, tablets and other mobile devices.

Parents have always known it’s important for children to engage in active play and are on the hunt for fun and stimulating activities that get their kids to put aside their gadgets and step away from the TV (phone, tablet, games). And those parents are putting their money where their mouths are. It’s been reported that parents will spend anywhere from $1,500 and up annually on extracurricular activities for each child. Clearly, when it comes to their children, parents will spare no expense.

A few franchises have taken notice of this trend and have created experiences that both kids and parents are proud to share around the proverbial water cooler or schoolyard.

“Franchises are responding to the needs of parents who are increasingly looking for extracurricular activities that enrich their children’s lives, nurture their creativity, and expand their minds and social circles,” says Kenny Chan, Vice President of Marketing & Communications for the Canadian Franchise Association. “The beauty about franchising is when you see a franchise succeeding, you know the business has identified a trend and established that their proof of concept meets the needs of consumers.”

When we look at parents’ purchasing habits, it is clear that this will be an upward trend.

Here are some unique, fun, and scalable franchise businesses that let kids unplug, de-stress, get active, get messy, and most importantly, have fun.

Fun Art, Not Fine Art


The power of encouraging creativity in children is something that should never be underestimated.

Annette Brennan, President and Chief Idea Officer, Crock A Doodle – a creative pottery painting studio that promotes creativity for kids and adults in a big way – created her franchise based on her passions and life at the time.

She saw an untapped business opportunity and the challenge to shape an entirely new business model. As a mom of 3 young children at the time, she was looking for flexibility and she wanted to make a difference and meet today’s consumer needs.

“Life has become too hectic, too rushed, too impersonal,” says Brennan. “The busier people get, the more they need to slow things down, to unplug from technology, to reconnect with family, friends and themselves. Pottery painting is simply a venue for rejuvenating the soul. It provides an opportunity for relaxed social interaction, creative exploration and simple hands-on play.  We call it fun art, not fine art.  Anyone can do it …and everyone should!”

Franchises like Crock A Doodle are growing in popularity with more and more parents looking to unplug, find a unique activity where the whole family can enjoy together on a rainy Sunday or during the kid’s birthday.


Don’t Pop This Bubble


After watching a “bubble video” 20 times in a row, and couldn’t stop laughing, Noé Eve, Marketing Director of Bubble Madness, knew he needed to import this sport to Canada.

A great outlet for kids – or adults that are kids at heart – Eve jokes that his unique franchise is the perfect solution to those looking for more fun and a way to relieve stress. What’s a bigger stress-reliever than bumping into one another at high speeds, while being protected by an inflated bubble? Plus, it’s mobile.

“We created a business that allows our clients to enjoy and benefit whenever and wherever they please,” Eve adds. “Indeed with our mobile structure, any franchisee can organize an event all across his territory and therefore by as close as possible to his clients. Everything is taken care of all you need to do is safely enjoy yourself.”

The demand for Bubble Madness has been pouring in. And, although the company was created because they “simply wanted to have fun with something that had made us laugh,” it quickly became clear that they had a summer hit on their hands and consumer interest in this active pastime hasn’t faded.

Inside of the Box Can Be Just as Fun


If weather isn’t permitting to have any outdoor fun, Funtopia has found a way bring all the excitement from the outdoors inside, within four extremely fun walls.

Imagine a workout that involved climbing a building “on fire,” reaching the top of a dinosaur skeleton, or sliding down on 20-foot free fall.

“Some places offer fun activities, some offer active ones – we offer both,” says Yasen Nikolov, General Manager, Funtopia.

Part of the Walltopia group – the biggest producer of artificial climbing walls in the world, Funtopia has seen the boom of the climbing industry reach new heights. New gyms have been popping up everywhere, but consumer interest still pointed towards customers wanting active experiences that weren’t limited to a traditional gym workout.

“We believe in climbing as a sport, but also as a healthy way to have fun,” adds Nikolov.


Kick it Off


Exciting slides and climbing walls aside, there is always a place in the world for organized sports. But, the Little Kickers franchise will disagree with you if that’s all you think their company is. They have taken the concept of team sports and kicked it on its head.

Creating an environment for kids to build social skills and let their imaginations run wild, this UK-oriented franchise has found a way to blend team sports with creative play in a way that gets young minds engaged, fit and having fun all at the same time.

Bringing the concept to Canada after looking for a high quality program for his 2-year-old son, Frank Stanschus, Chief Operating Office of Little Kickers, quickly realized that this industry was being “underserved and offered lots of potential.”

“Our business meets our customer needs because it blends all the key components that customers are looking for when researching activities for their children – choice in terms of locations and timing, great customer services and a professional program that really develops the children,” says Stanschus.

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