Trying to limit your child’s exposure to TV, cell phones, tablets, and whatever other screens are in your home can be challenging. It seems as if everywhere you turn, there’s a screen that’s calling out to your child, “watch me!” “watch me!” “watch me!”. While turning on a movie or TV show can be an easy way to get a few minutes of quiet for yourself and keep the kids entertained, it’s not the only way to do this. Here are three screen-free activities for kids that will keep them entertained, playing independently, and occupied for a little bit.
The key is to set up an inviting activity
Kids will often gravitate towards TV or movies because they’re not sure what else to do. It’s comfortable and familiar. Rather than having to worry about them wanting to watch TV, set up inviting activities ahead of time so that when they walk into the room, there’s something that catches their attention immediately. By having something to grab their attention and intrigue them when they walk into the room, they’re more likely to want to do that than ask to turn on the TV.
Sticker Dot Fun!
An easy activity you can set up ahead of time is a sticker dot design. Take a large piece of craft paper and use a large black sharpie to create a shape, an outline, letters, numbers, anything you can think of that your child will enjoy. Get a sheet of sticker dots and tape the large sheet and the sticker dots to the wall using painter’s tape, so it’s easy to remove. When your child comes into the room, they’re going to want to know what the picture is for, show them how to add stickers to the outline. You can have them trace shapes, create designs, do anything your imagination can think of. If it’s near a holiday, create a holiday-themed sticker dot activity such as this Halloween inspired spider web. This one was a huge hit as was the snake! Have fun, create something your child will enjoy based on their interests. For tons of sticker dot activity ideas, check out The Busy Toddler. She’s got so many ideas you can use.
Giant coloring sheet!
Take your same roll of craft paper and unroll 2-3 feet of it and use painter’s tape to attach it to a hard surface floor in your home. Get all of the crayons, markers, or colored pencils out and let the kids have a blast drawing anything they want. The whole family can get involved with this activity and create a family masterpiece. Color together or have the kids color on their own while you get something else done for a few minutes.
Dress Up Playtime
If you have costumes at home, pull them out and let the kids have fun dressing up, and playing pretend. Encourage them to be creative and interchange their costume pieces. If you don’t have costumes, pull some clothes out that they can play dress up with. Who knows, you might end up with a butterfly princess who carries a shield and sword or a chef astronaut. This activity is extra fun with friends. Gather a couple of kids together and get out all the dress up clothes and let them go. When they’re allowed to play and let their imaginations run free, they can be so creative, and at the same time, they’re learning so much. They’re learning how to play together, how to think for themselves, how to be creative, and more. If you don’t have dress up clothes or costumes, consider adding some to the next birthday or holiday gift list. There are so many options out there, and they’re reasonably priced.
Help your kids to have fun without feeling like they need or even want to watch something on a screen. Creating fun screen-free activities that will catch their attention when they wake up or when they walk into the room is the key to getting them to play rather than watch a screen. Help them by having some fun activities they can do or dress up clothes they can play with and watch them light up, and their imagination runs free.