We do let our kids have a small amount of screen time every day, but essentially we keep it to a minimum and have lots of screen free activities for the kids to do. There are some exceptions to the rule if someone has had a surgery and needs bedrest, if mom is sick, etc. Sometimes it can be a challenge keeping kids busy when we they are doing screen free activities instead of just turning on a TV or video game on to keep them busy and hold their interest.
Over the years we have become pretty creative at coming up with different ideas for the kids to do, Pinterest is a huge help when I need new ideas to keep them busy. I do not want my kids thinking that they need to have technology to keep their minds busy, I think they need to be creative all on their own to help their brains grow the way they need to. In todays society that is against what many believe, but that is how we do things around here. When kids are left to be bored sometimes it is amazing how creative they get in finding things to do all on their own. So here is a list of 50 different screen free activities for kids, all of which our kids do.
50 Screen Free Activities For Kids
- Print coloring pages from online: You can head over to Pinterest and type in “coloring page of …” fill the … in with anything and you will find free printable coloring pages online. You can see in this picture that we printed out coloring pages of Thomas The Train.
- Make Pearler Bead Creations: My kid LOVE to make pearler bead creations the younger kids and even older kids. You can purchase many different shaped tiles or colored beads and books with design ideas if you choose. In our experience it is best to buy a few of the BIG plates and get different colored beads and you can create almost anything using these. Once again we go on Pinterest and type in different designs ex. Mario pearler beads creations and print out designs for the kids to follow and we have only creations the kids want to use, and can make them into our own book. Some of the designs are smaller and when I go to print them I increase the printing size to about 140% for them to print out bigger.
- Make and Race Paper Airplanes: All kids love flying paper airplanes, this book is great for making different designed airplanes on very cool papers. My boys love making the different planes in this book and seeing what ones fly the best, who can win an airplane race, and more.
- Make Origami Creations: Kids can use paper to make amazing Origami creations using this great book of 30 easy to make creations, you can pick up a sheet of 500 sheets of Origami paper for very cheap. You could also pick up a book from the library to do the projects for even more inexpensively.
- Make Spirograph Creations: Kids love making different designs on the spirograph they can make many different and brightly colored designs using this great tool.
- Make Awesome Bubble Solution and Blow Bubbles: Make your own bubble solution that makes BIG bubbles and have kids blow bubbles. You can even make your own bubble blowers using pipe cleaners.
- Play In The Sprinkler: On a really hot day let kids play in the sprinkler, it’s a great way to cool down and have fun for kids.
- Make things With Scraps: My kids love to make different things using old boxes and trash. Here Ethan made a space suit for his stuffed animal using an old cereal box.
- Use Paper to Make Creations: My kids love making things from plain old paper, here Ethan made a person out of paper, they have also made a Big race track city for their cars to race on.
- Make Sun Catchers: Make sun catchers out of different colored pony beads. This was a fun project for the kids to do, I do however highly suggest you melt the beads on the grill due to the toxic fumes they let off when melting them. I picked up pie pans from the thrift store to use and also used some of our metal cookie cutters.
- Visit A Local Creek: We love exploreing the different parks and such in the area. They are usually free to get into and it is a great place for the kids to explore nature and get their energy out. We also find fun things to do while there like have Cheeto races down the creek 😀 !
- Go Bowling: Most area bowling alleys offer FREE bowling for the summer, it’s a great way to have fun together as a family and to get some energy out!
- Make Homemade Play Dough: We LOVE making homemade play dough, I love that it lasts for Many months if put into containers. In the summertime we love adding some summer scents like watermelon, blueberry cobbler, grape, banana, lilac, etc this is our favorite cook recipe, but usually we use THIS recipe which is a non cook recipe and our favorite.
- Make A Train City: My kids love making HUGE train cities, they will play with the track even longer if they integrate cars, Lego’s, and trains together in a big city.
- Have a Headstand or Handstand Contest: Since joining gymnastics there are regular handstand and headstand contests going on around our house. It will often keep the youngest to even the oldest kids busy for hours.
- Make Flubber: Flubber is a sensory medium that my kids LOVE to play with. Even the older kids can’t resist playing with it. It is super easy to make too, and lasts for quite a while.
- Play With Boxes: Save some BIG boxes or call a local appliance store and get a couple of their big boxes they are going tho throw away. Kids can make amazing things with boxes!!
- Kids In The Kitchen: We regularly let our kids help in the kitchen. The summer is a perfect time to teach them how to chop, bake, and cook other things kids that are very young love helping in the kitchen. It also gives them a sense of accomplishment to help make food. During the summer we do practical life activities like teaching them how to make orange juice and shuck corn.
- Drawing: Kids love to draw and learn how to draw new things. We use the Draw, Write, Now series and have the entire set we purchased one year with our homeschool supplies, we also have the history sets. You can also learn how to draw just about anything online, head over to Pinterest and type in “how to draw …” chances are there is a pin out there just for you.
- Learn To Play an Instrument: Kids love to play instruments teaching them how to play an instrument that they are interested in learning about is a great way to bond with them and a perfect way to spend some of their free time.
- Visit A Local Farm: We have a local farmer that we get all of our grass fed organic meat from. She doesn’t mind having kids over to enjoy the fun on the farm, and having them lend a hand in the farm chores either. The kids love playing on the hay bales, visit the kittens or baby calves. They could spend days at the farm and not get bored!
- Climb Trees: My boys LOVE to climb trees and none of them have ever broke any bones from climbing them 😉 . We have a few good climbing trees in our yard, but if we didn’t there any great climbing trees on the local trails we explore with the kids.
- Make a Fort: Have kids make a fort with chairs, furniture, PVC pipes, trees. The forts can be made inside or outside. Let them have a sleepover in them, they will LOVE it!!
- Do Puzzles: Have kids put puzzles together. For little kids use smaller puzzles with their favorite characters, for older kids have them put together bigger puzzles. It can keep them busy for a long time.
- Catch Lightning Bugs: If you have lightning bugs in your area let your kids catch them in a jar. The boys love catching them, keeping them in a jar for a short time, and then releasing them.
- Watch a Construction Site: Pack a sack lunch and sit and watch a construction site for a while. I have done this a couple times and my boys LOVE this and will talk about it for quite a long time afterwards.
- Pick Fruit: Every year we go and pick about 100lbs of strawberries, the kids love spending the morning doing this and we then make our own strawberry freezer jam. We have made lots of great family memories picking strawberries.
- Play In The Sand: Go to a beach or a park with sand just to play in the sand. We get a big tote and fill it with sand toys and big trucks to bring with us and the kids play for hours in the sand. It’s a perfect natural sensory bin!!
- Bury Yourself In The Sand: While playing in sand at the beach, make sure to bury your kids in the sand it is a fun sensory experience for them! Make sure you’re near water so they can wash the sand off of them when they are done.
- Vist A New Park: Most places have many different parks for kids to enjoy. Visit a few new parks and spend the day playing!
- Read Books/Reading Programs: Either read stories out loud to your kids or have them start a new series. I have found if kids find a series they enjoy reading they will want to read it!! To make reading even more fun for them sign up for reading programs, during the summer most local libraries offer prizes to kids for meeting reading goals, other places offer incentives for kids like Barnes and Noble who offers a $10 gift card to kids for meeting their reading goal. If you homeschool your kids did you know you can sign up for BookIt? Then your kids earn a free personal Pizza Hut Pizza for reading meeting their monthly goal. Six Flags offers free passes every year for kids meeting their reading goals too. The possibilities are endless.
- Play Games: Playing board games is something we do very regularly in our house, even with very young kids. It teaches them patience, how to take turns, how to follow directions, and many different concepts. We have some games that older and younger can both play, games for older kids, and some that are better for younger kids. I especially love games that teach different concepts to kids. For younger kids you can put an ice cube tray upside down to place their cards for easy holding.
- Snap Circuits: Snap Circuits are a favorite in our house. Both older kids and younger ones alike both enjoy playing with them we have a BIG set of them the kids got for Christmas one year and they get used quite often. They teach kids how electronic circuits work to!!
- Play On The light Table: Use translucent items on the light table for fun. The younger kids enjoy playing on the light table, the older kids not quite so much. I have a Pinterest board filled with different light table ideas. We made our own DIY light table for a cheap and easy way for light table play.
- Woodworking: Let kids make things using wood and tools. If younger kids are given tools (even saws) and taught how to use them as well as supervised they can have a lot of fun making their own things.
- Excavating Toys From Ice: One super fun activity to keep kids busy for hours is to freeze toys in a bowl of water and give them hammers, salt, water, and droppers to excavate the toys from the ice. this activity would be especially fun on a hot summer day!
- Play In The Rain: My kids love to go out in a rain storm and just play in the rain. They will play in the puddles, stomp in the mud, and just have a great time. Even better it costs NOTHING!!
- Catch Frogs, Tadpoles, or Crayfish: My boys could spend hours in the creek catching frogs, tadpoles, or crayfish. We let them catch them, observe them, and release them back into their environment we don’t take them home.
- Make A Yarn Maze: Use a ball of yarn and have kids loop it through something on one side of the room across the room to something else do this over and over until you have a big web around the room. When they are done playing have them use scissors and cut the yarn.
- Visit A Farmers Market: Take your kids to visit your local farmers market. You will get to meet some of your local farmers which are usually great people. While you are there get some local chemical free food to eat produce picked right from the farm is amazingly delicious.
- Make Sand Art: Make sand art creations for a beautiful decoration and fun. You can buy kits that come with everything you need or you can also purchase containers and colored sand separately. If you pour melted candle wax into the top of their sand the sand won’t get all mixed up.
- Plant A Garden: Plant a garden with your kids, make sure there are plants in there with veggies or fruits they enjoy. Not only will they get to watch the lifecycle of plants, but they will be so happy to see plants grow that they helped plant.
- Teach Kids How To Fix Vehicles: My husband has taught our kids how to work on our tractor, but they have since then graduated to learning how to repair the family vans now. They have learned how to change oil and other fluids, completely change a break system, fix a flat tire, and more. The possibilities are endless and will save them TONS of money when they get older.
- Attend FREE Local Events: Every year there are different events in our area we attend that are completely FREE! Our city offers a public works open house where the kids get to explore the city works vehicles, fire trucks, police cars, etc. We also attend the big Art festival with the kids that is a completely free art event for the kids where they spend the entire day doing art projects including making their own t-shirts. We always let each of the kids get something from the vendors which isn’t free, but it is for non profit organizations. They also have many different movies in the park and other great free things in the area. I cannot tell you how many great memories we have made at these events.
- Ride a Bike/Scooter/Rollerblades: Have your kids learn how to ride a bike, rollerblades, or scooter and they will spend a lot of time riding them during the warm weather. My older boys will make their own jumps to go off of or enjoy going to the skate park.
- Make A Swing: Pick up a rope from the hardware store and find a piece of wood to make your own wooden swing for really cheap. This swing has probably gotten more use then our actual swings in the last couple years and it has held up to our Michigan winters too.
- Play With Dominos: We have a ton of dominos that we have saved up over the years, we usually use them to play math games. They can be a lot of fun to play with on a rainy day or a day that your kids need something to keep them busy.
- Race RC Cars: Have kids race RC Cars. My husband has a couple really good RC cars, but kids even enjoy racing smaller cars. My kids will race them until the batteries die.
- Go Swimming: We have had a pool in our yard open during the summer for years now, it is such a great way for kids to get their energy out and a perfect way for sensory kids to get input. If we didn’t have a pool there are pools around us that are open during the summer months for a small fee we could go to also. A smaller blow up pool is a lot of fun for kids too. Either way swimming is one of our favorite screen free activities.
- Float Boats In A Pool: Float balloon boats in a pool big or small. The kids loved these boats, blow up the balloon attach it to the boat and watch it zooms around the pool. It’s great fun for kids!!
What is your favorite screen free activities for kids? Leave a comment below letting me know, I would love to hear from you!!
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