Keep Kids Busy Without Screen Time | Children’s Bureau



Keep Kids Busy Without Screen Time

While technology has provided parents with a quick and easy option to entertain their children, it can also be quite addictive if not used in moderation. A great way to reduce excessive screen time is by encouraging your little ones to participate in tech free projects that are both fun and creative, such as reading a book, trying out an indoor obstacle course for kids, or playing a simple board game at home. We’re sharing our favorite screen free activities that will inspire more interaction, learning, and imagination without the use of technology.

Get Creative

With very simple household items and inspiring ideas, your kids have the potential to create amazing things that are worthy of displaying on your fridge. Introduce a new activity outside of their traditional toys and watch their imaginations heighten. 

Painting and Coloring – Provide your kids with their favorite paint colors or coloring books and let their imaginations run free. A great beginner activity for babies and toddlers is to introduce them to sensory art. Mix different paint colors together in zip lock bags and allow your kids to explore textures and color transformations.

Arts and Crafts If your child enjoys creating things, you can incorporate additional materials and encourage them to craft a  masterpiece. Gather play dough, toilet paper rolls, tissue paper, sidewalk chalk, glue and more to see what they can build. If your kids are between 10 and 12, you can provide them with paint pens, brushes, and watercolors to uncover their inner Picasso. 

Overall, artistic activities are timeless and perfect tech free ways to entertain kids and elicit innovation and self expression for a wide range of ages. 

Get Active

Kids naturally have a pool of energy that can sometimes seem endless. Encouraging them to get active through kids activities indoor or outdoor will provide the stimulation they need to release all of that energy.

Forts – A fun and easy activity to enjoy at home is to compile any spare cardboard boxes, blankets, and pillows and allow your kids to build forts. You can even challenge them to create a kid obstacle course from the cardboard boxes. Let their imaginative play take over and witness their inner architect and builder come out

Outside Play – In addition to traditional sports your children can play, send them out on an exciting scavenger hunt and let them roam free in the backyard. You can even establish themes to the hunts and have them investigate different  plants, birds, or bugs. For younger children, providing kiddie pools or bubbles to play with are exciting ways to entertain them outside. Whichever approach you take, kids love the opportunity to explore and be active, but remember to keep child safety precautions in mind, too!

Dance Party – For indoor and outdoor fun, put on some catchy music and let your kids have a dance party. Another perfect idea for babies and toddlers to get their bodies moving. For older kids, incorporate tag or musical chair games to take it to the next level.

Get Thinking

Device-free activities for kids can also be a great learning experience. Introduce games and opportunities for your child to develop and tap into their brain power.

Puzzles – Both educational and fun, puzzles teach kids problem solving skills and develop brain muscle. From wooden puzzles for toddlers, to more complex puzzles for kids, it is still one of the best ways to bolster logical and analytical skills. Thoughtfully-crafted puzzles are a life-saver when you’re looking for tech free ways to entertain kids. Beginner puzzles are challenging enough to keep toddlers busy on their own, giving parents some quiet time, while the more challenging choices can entertain older kids for hours.

Board Games –  Not just for rainy days, board games are ideal for cozy time indoors and great for mental stimulation. Introduce classic board games to your kids like the tic tac toe game, checkers, or chess. You can even walk down memory lane with CLUE or LIFE. Whichever the game you choose, board games provide an avenue for your children to learn strategy while enjoying a fun screen free activity.

Reading – Children’s books can be the escape your child needs. There are so many benefits of reading to children or having your child read independently. It’s the ultimate choice to enhance their imagination and force them to create their own images inside their mind. If you’re looking for an activity to stimulate curiosity and support brain development, books are ideal for all children. Babies and toddlers often enjoy books with rhyme, rhythm or repetition. Older children can learn new vocabulary and absorb an endless amount of information. It is also one of the screen free activities that also enables quiet time for parents.

Science Experiments – What’s great about science experiments is you can utilize basic materials around the house to conduct a wide range of experiments. This is the perfect activity for your kids to learn how different materials react, or to perform safe and simple projects to show their friends and other family members.

Electronic-Free Activities and Fun

We all understand technology plays a vital role in our lives, and if used correctly it can provide parents and children access to a wide variety of useful information and entertainment. When deciding what age kids should get a phone, it’s always important to practice balance, and ensure our kids are not consumed by their technological devices. Not only will reducing screen time increase development for your kids, but encouraging them to enjoy screen free activities will bring new and exciting fun into their lives. 

Reviewed by:

Jose A. Ramos Jr., Director of Prevention

Jose A. Ramos Jr., MSW, is the Director of Primary Prevention at Children’s Bureau. He has worked with Children’s Bureau since 1994 and has over 30-years of experience working in the Child Welfare field. He has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Long Beach and is earning his MBA. Jose is also Secretary of the National Association of Social Workers.

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