Entertaining children without their electronics doesn’t have to be stressful. These screen-free activities for kids at home will keep their hands busy and their minds learning as they take a break from school and homework.
Importance of Screen-Free Activities for Kids
We all know how easy it is to hand your kid a phone or tablet to keep them occupied while you get important work done around the house. There are so many online games and videos available on the Internet that it is easy to spend hours at a time in front of a screen. With summer vacation starting, though, it’s important to encourage children to find activities that give them a break from the screens.
Time away from a screen encourages healthy physical and social development in children. By going screen-free, kids can build skills that they aren’t able to build sitting with a controller in their hand – like gross motor skills that they get from running and jumping, or the fine-motor skills they build from writing and drawing.
The American Pediatric Association recommends that children have daily “unplugged” downtime to ensure quality sleep, regular exercise and family meals. Putting the screens up will allow your children to be active, help foster your bond with them and let them be, well, children.
INDOOR ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS AT HOME
Imagination is your child’s biggest tool when it comes to keeping them entertained. Try these indoor activities for kids at home on days when you can’t go outside to play. From reading to building awesome forts, you’ll be able to find screen-free activities that are guaranteed fun.
Read a book. This one seems like the simplest answer that you’ll see on every website sharing activities for kids, but the truth is – reading with your child is one of the most important things you can do. Choose a book from the 100 Best Selling Children’s Books list or pick a book that reinforces an interest that your child already has, to encourage growing curiosity and building language skills.
Write a book. Maybe your little one couldn’t find a story that they can relate to, or maybe your middle-schooler has a lot of bottled up thoughts to let out. Give them a pen and paper and let them get their story out! This is a great way to encourage writing skills, as well as letting their creativity blossom.
Arts and crafts. A busy box filled with crayons, paper, scissors and crafting materials is a must-have for keeping kids entertained at home. If they can’t think of anything to create, try making our simple penguin craft or putting your own creative twist on our printable owl craft.
Build a fort. Is there anything cooler than turning your bedroom into a castle or the living room into a jungle expedition? Give your child extra sheets and clothespins (and a little guidance to avoid broken knick-knacks) and watch them create a special little spot just for them. If you’re lucky, they might just invite you in (although you may have to offer cookies and hot chocolate!)
Break out the board games. Board games can be fun for the entire family. Make sure you pick a game within your child’s age range, explain the rules and have fun. Board games rely heavily on logic and strategy and help teach your children patience and focus. Plus, family game time is just plain fun!
Start a journal. Break away from the traditional ‘dear diary’ and come up with interesting writing prompts to get your kids writing. This will improve their writing skills while boosting creativity and enhancing their vocabulary.
Random Acts of Kindness. Teach your children the importance of being kind by letting them come up with a way to make someone’s day. This could be as simple as writing a letter to a grandparent or calling to check in on a neighbor, or a bigger act like starting a community library or ordering a pizza for a friend.
Start a collection. Starting a collection is such a simple, vintage tradition, but its something that even our modern tech-loving kids can enjoy. If you had a collection as a kid, pass it along to your child and share in the joy of finding new pieces together. Better yet, start a new collection together. Yowie limited-edition endangered animal collectibles are a fun and exciting way to learn about animals while enjoying a delicious piece of 100% natural milk chocolate!
Build something together. DIY skills really come in handy here, but whether you’re putting together a block castle or a birdhouse, working with your hands and tools (with supervision) is a fantastic way to engage your children. Try some upcycled DIYs like making a hot dog cooker from an old chip can or a picnic table for squirrels.
Get cooking. So many skills are learned in the kitchen besides how to eat – like measuring, budgeting and science. Invent new recipes based on what you have in the pantry or break out the old cookbooks and let your little ones go crazy. There’s nothing like watching their faces light up as you try a concoction that they’re proud of making all by themselves.
OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS AT HOME
Getting outside in the fresh air and sunshine makes everything better in our opinion. Help your little couch potatoes get away from the screens with some of these outdoor activities for kids at home this summer (or anytime!)
Water play. When the weather is hot, nothing helps little ones cool off quite like a refreshing dip in the pool. No pool? No problem! Sprinklers, water blasters, water balloons and kiddie pools are great fun for kids of all ages.
Blow some bubbles. Whether you buy pre-made bubble mix or if you want to make your own bubble solution, blowing bubbles is a blast for kids. Help them get creative to make their own bubble wands out of everyday household items like a coat hanger or string for a variety in bubble sizes.
STEM Science experiments. Kids are always curious about how the world works, and hands-on learning with science experiments are a great way to teach them! They’ve probably already been itching to try the Mentos and Coke experiment anyway, so let them get outside and make a mess while observing different reactions, for science!
Tag, you’re it! Tag is a blast, no matter what your age. There are so many different variations, like freeze tag, hide-and-seek tag and cartoon tag. For the younger children, duck duck goose teaches patience while still being an active tag-like game. Starting to get dark outside? No worries! Break out the flashlights and play tag in the dark!
Backyard camping trip. You don’t have to go on vacation to take a camping trip. Pitch a tent in the backyard and break out the s’mores ingredients for a memorable evening the kids will enjoy.
Sidewalk chalk. Home decor doesn’t just mean the inside of your house! Let the kids decorate the sidewalk in front of your home for some (washable) curb appeal. Have them chalk some encouraging messages for families taking a stroll around the neighborhood, rainbows and flowers because they’re pretty, or even a hopscotch obstacle course.
Take a hike. Or go for a walk. A change of scenery is always a good idea for kids who are bored sitting at home all day, and walking improves heart health as well as all kinds of other things. A nice family walk around the neighborhood or through the park could be just what the doctor ordered.
Nature Scavenger hunt. Create a list of items for the kids to find outside. For younger ones, make these items fairly simple to find such as a twigs and rocks. Make the scavenger hunt a little more difficult for older kids by having them figure out in-depth clues with rhymes and riddles.
Fly a kite. Not many kids today have had the joy of watching a kite soar way overhead into the clouds on a windy day or running their little legs off trying to get the kite into the air when the air is still. We promise it’s still just as fun today as it was when we were kids. Don’t have a kite? Make your own for another fun kid activity!
Jump rope. Another cardio activity that’ll get their blood moving, jumping rope is just as fun for one kid as it is for the whole family. Make up your own new jumping rhymes or break out the classics and see who can jump the longest. Get the older kids involved by playing double dutch and trying out new tricks!
Educational shows and apps are great for kids, but everyone needs a digital detox every now and then. Help them unplug and improve their emotional and physical wellbeing by leading by example and implementing a screen-free week for the whole family. We hope these screen-free activities for kids at home will help get them busy and keep them entertained at any time of the year. Do you have a great idea for spending unplugged time with your family? We’d love to hear it! Share with us on social media.