**Update: I planned on posting this to my blog the last week of the month, but with the coronavirus shutting down many schools and keeping us at home, I thought this was the perfect time to share these screen free activities for your kids. There are a few activities you may want to hold off on until once the height of the coronavirus spread is behind us, but they’ll still be great later this spring and summer!**
Winter is slowly passing through and Springtime is the light at the end of the tunnel. Warmer, longer days hopefully full of sunshine and fun. Now that we’re coming out of a winter fog, it’s time to talk about getting our kids up and out doing fun, screen free activities.
Everyone has their own opinion about how much screen time is appropriate for their kids. It is without a doubt addicting, so it’s important to pay attention and manage what time they do have with the screen.
I tried to get creative and come up with some screen free activities that we can do WITH our kids. Getting engaged with what they’re doing makes them more excited to do it! There are a few things that you can use to sit them down and do if you need to get things done, but most are activities you can do together.
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A few screen free activities for your kids and you!
Decorate a box.
Save one of your Amazon boxes and let your kids get creative. Use paint, markers, crayons, stickers, anything you can decorate with.
Build a fort.
Use your couches, tables, entertainment center or whatever makes the most sense and make a fort. We like to put our air mattress inside to make it even more fun.
Create a sensory bin.
Sensory bins are all the rage. Instead of purchasing one, see what you can create using things around your house. Find a fun theme like rainbow colors, under the sea, at the farm, ice cream shop, etc and see what you can come up with. Then the kids will be able to play with it for a while!
If you’re not sure what to put in your sensory bin, here a few ideas:
Water beads – Fine Motor Tools – Small Plastic Animal Toys – Kinetic Sand – Small Sand Molds – Pipe Cleaners – PomPom Balls – Other items that are good for touch, sight and smell!
Plan a treasure hunt.
Create a scavenger hunt type map or write out clues and instructions to lead your kids to the hidden treasure. The treasure can be anything, but I recommend a new book. Whether it’s for reading, coloring or an activity book, once they find it, they can spend more time using it once the treasure has been discovered!
Play with an Aquadoodle Mat.
These mats are super neat and practically mess free. You’ll fill different pens and such with water for your kids to color on this magical mat. It’s great for so many ages.
Bake and decorate cupcakes or cookies.
My little girl is obsessed with baking. She loves to help me in the kitchen whenever she can. Find a reason to make cupcakes or cookies. Maybe bring them to the neighbors or a play group.
Set up a lemonade stand.
Kids LOVE making lemonade stands. On a nice day, let them do it! Have some fun making lemonade together, create some signs and find a place to set up shop. You could possibly hand out those cupcakes or cookies you decorated above as well!
Write a book together.
This may take a little more patience, but could spark some amazing creativity in your children. Let their story come to life by helping them write it out. It makes for a great teaching and learning experience. Once it’s written out, help them type it up and print it out! There will be various levels of help depending on the age of your children, but so much fun.
Create a time capsule.
Memorialize this moment in time and create a time capsule. Get an old shoe box and help your kids pick out a few things to put in it. Pictures of them at their current age, little trinkets that represent them now and an about me printable. Then tape it up, set a date to open and bury it in your yard or put it up in the attic.
Color with sidewalk chalk.
You can’t go wrong with sidewalk chalk. Draw a hopscotch, trace each other’s bodies, create a beautiful picture, whatever you want!
Go backyard camping.
Set up a tent or create one like an indoor fort! Bust out the sleeping bags, cook some popcorn and set up your backyard like a mini camp site. If you have a fire pit, make some s’mores or cook a fun campfire dinner. I found this awesome article on campfire meals for families that I’m dying to try with my kids!
Have a picnic.
This kind of goes along with the camping idea, but a little more simple. Bust out your picnic blankets, baskets and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. You can have it in your backyard or even take it to a park!
Play with Kinetic Sand.
We love kinetic sand in our house! It’s so much fun and not quite as messy as a full sandbox. Create castles, make mud pies, run it through your hands and more. You can also use kinetic sand to create sensory bins for your kids. Add it items to touch, dig up, bury and more.
Create your own board game.
How fun would it be to create your own board game with the kids? There are lots of ideas out there. I’m not going to claim to have any unique ideas of my own, but Pinterest has tons of options that can help spark your creativity!
Have a family game night.
After you’ve made your board game, have a family game night! Play your new game and then play some of your favorites. Maybe pop some popcorn or make another fun treat to munch on while you play.
Play with a water table or run through the sprinklers.
If the weather is nice, get outside and play! We love our water table and play with it as soon as the weather is nice. If you don’t have one, bust out the sprinkler or just the hose. Playing with water is always fun and can last for hours. Just don’t forget the sunscreeen!
Put on a puppet show.
This activity is awesome because it could take a while! Grab some brown lunch bags or paper plates and make some puppets. Have each of your kids make a couple and you too! Next find the perfect place to have a show. The couch is always a good option if you can get behind it, otherwise use a blanket to cover a table! Put on a fun puppet show and create your own story.
Go on a family bike ride, skate or scooter.
Simple as that. Get the gang together, get outside and get moving! Whatever your preferred wheeled vehicle may be.
Paint some rocks!
I found this idea when looking for fun Easter activities to do as a family. Find some flat stones, ours were from a fountain in our backyard, grab some paint and brushes and start decorating! You can even write kind words on them and leave them at a neighborhood park for others to find. It’s always nice to brighten someone’s day.
In a small bowl, combine ¼ cup glue, 1/2 TBSP baking soda and 1/4 TBSP of contact-lens solution. Use a spatula to mix well, adding more contact-lens solution as needed until the mixture no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl. I recommend adding some glitter to make it beautiful and sparkly! Once the slime is ready, you can begin to stretch it, make shapes or create whatever you want!
Create your family tree.
Draw it out or make it with construction paper. Use what you have to create your family tree. Print out pictures of everyone too to make it more engaging. It’s a fun learning experience for the kids! I don’t have an example yet, but Pinterest is full of ideas.
Plan and make a meal that the kids can cook.
I mentioned baking above, but if you don’t feel like having more sweet treats around the house, let them help you cool a meal. Breakfast, lunch or dinner, whatever you think will work! Here Chloe is helping me make my Apple Cinnamon Waffles for brunch one weekend. You can also find awesome kid friendly dinners to try. See what types of foods your kids want and find a way to have them make it.
Practice color, number or letter sorting.
I realize this may be geared towards younger kids, but I’m all for educational busy tasks! Get bins and have them sort toys by color, number or letter. If they’re older, find a way to work with words!
Play hide and seek.
A classic, but always fun. We play as a family and our kids love it. Our 4 year old is all about hiding and our 18 month old likes to follow around and see if he can find anyone. It’s really sweet and can actually be super funny and entertaining for all.
Bust out the legos. Build a tower or some other creation.
Have a dance party!
Turn on some jams and just dance around. This activity may only last for a song or two, but stopping to do it is so fun and burns quite a bit of energy!
Sponge or nature painting.
Get ready to be creative and find some fun things to paint with. Sponges, leaves, sticks, blades of grass, flowers, etc. Whatever they can get their hands on outside to use as part of their art.
Workout with your kids.
This is a big one for me as a fitness instructor. Workout WITH them. It doesn’t have to be every day, but plan out your workout at home and get them to do it with you. There are lots of kid friendly workouts you can find. I would also suggest kid yoga, but that does technically involve them watching a screen.
Be sure to pin this workout to try with your littles later! And check out my other at home workouts for you to do with or without the little ones.
Getting our kids away from the screen and out to play is super important. We live in a screen filled society, so it’s our job as parents to encourage time away. Get creative and find fun things to keep them busy, entertained and happy. Screen free activities are actually more fun!
Let them get wet and muddy. Don’t fret over the paint on their hand or dirt on their clothes. Encourage them to explore and find new things. They look to you for guidance and if they see you appreciating what they’re doing, they’ll continue to do it.
Let’s encourage creative play for our kids this spring and summer!