Remember those days when you rode your bike, read a book, or played baseball with the neighborhood kids? Or went swimming, enjoyed a craft or two, or started a puzzle? If you’re wanting to limit your kids’ screen time, there are a ton of non-electronic, screen-free activities that would keep them busy.
When used moderately and appropriately, electronic devices are a great tool, but kids also need face-to-face socialization to promote their development.
As adults, we know there’s more fun to be had with things other than these electronic devices. But it seems a little daunting to think of non-electronic activities to entertain our little ones. If you have multiple boys like I do, you know things can get out of hand very quickly!
But don’t fret. We have a list of 10 fun, screen-free activities for your kids (indoors or outdoors) that caters to all ages. I’m sure you’ll also be able to come up with a few of your own along the way!
1. Scavenger Hunt
I also secretly call this the “Let’s Clean Up” hunt because it’s a great way to get the kids to clean up! Total mom win. So, in your scavenger hunt, you just create a list of things they have to do or ﬁnd.
One of the things I like to list is “Pick up all the Duplo Legos and put it in the toy bin.” My 2-year-old loves dumping his Duplos everywhere, so when we do this hunt the Duplos are being picked up and put away. Can we get a high-five?
To make things even easier for you, we’ve created free printable scavenger hunts for you to do at home, in the backyard, and around your neighborhood. Just print it out and you’re ready to hunt!
2. Build a Blanket Fort
Who doesn’t like a fort?! Grab any unused blankets or bed sheets (because you know the kids might take YOUR bed sheets) and build a fort using the sofa or couch (and its cushions, of course!) along with toys that can hold up the blankets or sheets. My boys do this all the time.
It’s a hot mess, but it really brings out their imaginations!
3. Coloring and Painting
Ah, yes. This is one of our favorite activities. I will randomly have a painting session for my older two boys while the little one uses washable crayons to create his own art piece…all over the house (which is why washable crayons are a MUST for me). You can ﬁnd cheap brushes, paint, and painting pads at the craft stores and get them even cheaper by using coupons. Win-win!
Check out our new coloring pages section, and print out the pages for easy, creative fun!
4. Decorating Cookies or Cupcakes
My boys love a good decorating session when it comes to baked goods, so whenever I make cookies or cupcakes, I always have icing, frosting, and a variety of sprinkles on hand so they can get creative to their heart’s content. And by creative, I mean…creative. They’re boys, after all!
An oldie, but a goodie! You can do this screen-free activity indoors or outdoors.
6. Neighborhood Walk
It’s great exercise, and the kids can enjoy some sun and sightseeing around the neighborhood. My boys like to sing as we walk (and yes, I’ve gotten looks, but the “oh-that’s-so-cute” type of looks).
Exactly how it sounds, you can do storytelling by having each child make up a section of the story. Think of it as if you were sitting around the campﬁre roasting marshmallows and you go around the circle taking turns by making up a story on the ﬂy. This uses their imagination and thinking skills.
Also, you could probably recreate a campﬁre scene, but instead of roasting marshmallows, you’re eating Oreos (a fan favorite here). And, of course, you can have the kids pick out their favorite books for you to read to them (or maybe they’ll want to show off their skills and read to you!).
8. Popsicle Stick Crafts
Imagine the creativity that spills out with this activity! Kids can build a ton of things with popsicle sticks, like houses, cars, monsters, mermaids, and more. Popsicle sticks can also be used for other crafting activities like practicing letter formation (creating their name with the sticks!).
And gone are the days of eating popsicles to get to the sticks. Go to your nearest craft store (with their store coupon in hand) or dollar store and grab a huge bag for a few bucks.
9. Board Games
Another oldie but goodie! We have a ton of board games, but my two older ones (ages 9 and 6) like to play the Fortnite Monopoly game while my little one mindlessly “plays” the Operation game by continually using the tweezers to activate the buzzing noise. It is absolutely annoying, but, in a household full of boys the buzzing noise doesn’t compare.
10. Plant a Flower Garden
Stay with me here. Planting a garden has become easy nowadays, partly due to mini kits that are available online. These kits usually have a minimum of three seeds and all the supplies you need to grow your starter garden.
I picked this sunflower kit on Amazon for my boys as part of our science curriculum (I’m a homeschooling mama) for around $25. We followed the directions, and, three months later, the sunﬂowers have now sprouted nicely. We transferred the little biodegradable pots into a larger pot and set it in the backyard. Easy peasy. My boys watered their ﬂowers every day, and we kept track of the ﬂowers’ progress. If you can’t do the kit, you can still order online or go to your local store like Walmart, Target, or a local nursery and get the supplies there.
Mixing in a healthy dose of screen-free activities is a great way to build the mental and physical development of children. Be sure to tell us if you try any of these activities!
About the Author
Barbara is a content writer hailing from the sunny state of California. As a wife and stay-at-home mom to three young boys, life definitely keeps her busy., alongside being a doctoral student. Writing is one of her favorite pastimes although reading and crocheting are neck and neck. In her rare, but spare time, you will find her snuggled up with a crochet project while watching reruns of her favorite shows on Netflix or hanging out with her boys. You can find more about her on her website, Vanna Creative.