As the digital world competes for more and more of our attention setting the right boundaries for our children is crucial. Study after study has linked increases in screen-time to sleep problems, obesity, developmental delays, and other issues. While limiting screen-time is a good first step, offering enriching activities to do in its place will help our children discover new interests and hobbies and avoid those dreaded, “Mom, I’m bored” declarations.
Here are 5 screen-free activities your children can do without you and 5 activities you can do together!
1. Craft/color. Nothing groundbreaking to kick us off, but it’s so easy to default to the same pile of coloring books, Play-Doh, and crayons. Stroll through the craft and school supply sections and grab a new item or two every now and then for the kids to try. Extra-large coloring sheets, paint-by-number, you name it. Pay attention to what they enjoy and be sure to encourage them along the way.
2. Build something. LEGOs, Magna-Tiles, etc. Various types of kids building toys contribute to their sense of accomplishment, can-do attitude, and brain development. Get creative and send them outside to collect sticks and see what they can build with some glue or rubber bands.
3. Write/make cards. Creating cards for loved ones, neighbors, or even strangers is a great way to help children practice expressing gratitude and appreciation! Give them a list of names and a stack of pre-made cards or blank paper and see what they come up with!
4. Tasks. Have a “junk” drawer in your house or some disheveled kitchen cabinets? Have the kids spend some time sorting through, rearranging, and organizing. Set them up for success with ample directions and be sure and show appreciation for their hard work!
5. Act It Out. Have your children work together to create a commercial for their favorite toy or act out a favorite book. They’ll spend some time putting it altogether and you’ll be in the audience to cheer them on.
6. Dance! Turning up some music and dancing with your children is a good way to let loose and allow them to see you in a different light. Praise them for their moves. Laugh. Get silly. Twirl around the room.
7. Cook/Bake. Together. Dinner comes around every evening so why not let the kids help?! Teaching them the basics around the kitchen will boost their confidence and belief in their capabilities. Plus, you’ll have an extra set of hands or two getting meals on the table. If they aren’t enthusiastic about cooking, start with baking. Everyone loves a freshly baked treat!
8. Reminiscence. Pull out photo albums from their baby days and share your favorite memories with them. Better yet, share photos from YOUR baby and childhood days. Give them a glimpse of who you were when you were their age. They’ll giggle and snicker, but most importantly, they’ll remember. Relive old memories while making new ones!
9. Play a game. Cards, board games, puzzles. Sure, they’re fun, but they can also boost learning, confidence, and problem solving skills. Finding games that you all enjoy will ensure it’s a great experience for everyone.
10. Take a hike. Getting out in nature and taking in some fresh air offers many benefits. Step it up a notch and pair it with a game of I Spy or a scavenger hunt.
What screen-free activities do your children enjoy most?
My son needs to get lots of time each day, whereas my daughter is all about the hands on crafting and baking!