6 Screen-Free Activities

When you’re exhausted from a busy day and still have to prepare dinner or finish up some chores around the house, your first instinct may be to have your children watch TV or play on the tablet. 

With quick entertainment always at arm’s reach, it’s easy for children to rack up hours of screen time. If you’re looking for an alternative to keep your child engaged that doesn’t involve a screen, we have some simple ideas for you.

Our Favorite Quick and Easy Screen-Free Activities

One of the best things about these activities is they’re often so much more fun than watching a TV show or YouTube video. Children love having the opportunity to use their hands and get creative. Sometimes they just need a little help setting up a craft, and then they’re good to go. 

The list below includes a number of options that are easy to put together and quick to clean up, making them almost as convenient as turning on the TV!

  1. Write a Letter or Draw a Picture. Is there anything better than opening up the mailbox to an unexpected letter? When your children are looking for something to do, encourage them to spread some joy by writing a letter or drawing a picture for a loved one. Grandma and Grandpa don’t have to live far away to feel the love your children are sending. Even if they just live down the block, they’ll love getting a surprise in their mailbox. Want to spread more joy? Aunts, Uncles, and cousins will all be thrilled to open their letters!

  2. Folding Fun. Paper airplanes are always fun, especially when you can compete to see whose design flies the farthest. Want to take things to the next level? Try origami! Your local library is sure to have books on how to fold everything from hummingbirds to whales. You can also find instructions here and here.

  3. Family Dance Party. Everyone loves to dance! Start this project by having your children name their favorite songs. Are they drawing a blank? Just name a few of their favorite movies and it’s sure to trigger some of their favorite songs to start your list with. Create a playlist on your favorite streaming service and then let the dancing begin. Turn the playlist to shuffle and everyone can try to guess which song will play next!

  4. Play Florist. Grab a basket, a pair of scissors, and head to the backyard. Let your children choose the flowers, twigs, and greens they love most. Bring them inside and create a floral arrangement for the family to enjoy. Take it a step further and practice pressing flowers. Just place a few of your blooms between two pieces of wax paper. Place under a stack of books and leave for several days to flatten.

  5. Scavenger Hunt Walk. There’s nothing quite like a walk around the neighborhood or nature preserve to wear your little ones out. Add in a scavenger hunt and you’ve got a sure-fire hit! Even your youngest can participate by finding colors. Older children can look for types of flowers or trees. Check out these lists of items to search for as you take your walk.

  6. Throw a Themed Meal. Tap into your child’s creativity with this idea. You can incorporate food items, drinks, and the clothes you wear. Have your children help you plan a menu and prepare the dishes. Then send them upstairs to dress in the theme before you all come back to enjoy a meal together.

    Wondering what themes to do? How about All the Colors of the Rainbow where you serve one food item in each color, and each guest wears a different color top? Or a High Tea Party where you wear your finest clothes, drink out of teacups, and enjoy sandwiches cut into finger-sized snacks? You can find more theme ideas here.

Looking for even more screen-free activities? Check out this list of 100 Screen-Free Things to Do at Home or the site Screen Free Parenting.