It can be difficult to engage kids especially now that they’re stuck indoors because of Coronavirus.
The first instinct for most parents at this time, including me, is to allow more TV or screen time to keep the kids entertained at least for a while.
However, this is a terrible idea because you’re actually hindering their ability to use their imagination and play.
Before, I used to think that my kids were only interested in TV and computer games because that’s all they ever asked me for.
However, once I took technology out of the equation, I noticed a big change.
Suddenly, they were more interested in activities like; exploring the outdoors, playing with each other, baking, drawing, etc.
That’s when I realized that there are so many screen-free activities that can keep the kids engaged for a long time.
This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t allow any screen-time. Instead, have a healthy balance in your kids’ schedule that allows for screen-time as well as other activities.
Right now, we’re faced with an extra challenge caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.
It’s not safe to let our kids outside to play and that’s why we need to be a bit more creative to come up with screen-free activities that the kids can enjoy indoors.
Here are some ideas you can borrow.
Fun Screen-Free Activities For Kids
1. Get Some Books
Some parents forget that books are an invaluable resource when it comes to keeping the kids ways from their screens.
It’s very simple.
Introduce your kids to different genres of books each day until it becomes a habit. After a while, you’ll notice the kids picking up a book on their own without anyone telling them to.
2. Cook Together
Even young kids can find something to help with in the kitchen. I recently started cooking with my kids and it’s been a great bonding experience for us.
As you’re cooking, assign different tasks to the kids so they feel included and when they do the task right, remember to give them tons of credit.
After a while, you can even start experimenting with new recipes.
3. Work On A Puzzle
My kids love puzzles and board games and we always have fun doing them together.
A puzzle is a great way to keep the kids occupied for hours.
Most puzzles are educational so apart from having fun, the kids will also be learning.
4. Hopscotch Inside The House
Hopscotch is a great excuse to have the kids hopping and jumping around and although it’s typically an outdoor activity, there is a way to make it happen indoors.
Momtastic found a creative way to bring hopscotch indoors. Here is the complete tutorial if you want to try it out!
5. Play With Dolls
This one sounds obvious but I decided to include it anyway.
With dolls, your kids’ imagination can run wild. However, this is not an activity that older kids would necessarily enjoy because they’ve probably outgrown the dolls phase.
Younger kids, on the other hand, will have a blast with this because the options for play are limitless.
For example, they could host a tea party and invite you. They could also play dress-up with dolls.
6. Get Crafty
There are so many ideas for DIY crafts on Pinterest that you can try out with your kids.
Once they start doing crafts, they’ll get hooked because it’s so addictive.
When we first started doing crafts, I was worried because I’m not very crafty by nature. However, I soon realized that most of the crafts are so simple that literally anyone can do it.
As I said, Pinterest is a great place to find DIY craft ideas for kids so I would definitely recommend that you go there.
You can also read: Easy DIY Crafts For Kids That Will Get You Through Quarantine
Kids are naturally drawn to stickers. Just give them a little sticker pad or sticker sheet and they’re good to go!
If you don’t want stickers all over the house, get them into the habit of using their stickers in a notebook, sticker pad or sticker sheet.
8. Camp In
Camping shouldn’t only be an outdoor activity. You can create an awesome campsite in your living room.
Bring your sleeping bags to the living room, make s’mores in the fireplace (Or if you don’t have a fireplace, use the microwave instead), and have fun telling stories.
Ideally, all your electronic devices should be switched off unless you’re expecting an important call.
9. Do Chores Together
Let your kids help around the house because honestly, there’s so much to be done.
For example, they can help fold the laundry, organize their toys, make their beds, clean their room, etc.
It always helps to assign a task to each child and when they do it well, don’t forget to shower them with praise because it will motivate them.
If they’re not doing it correctly, show them the right way and constantly encourage them.
The best thing about involving your kids in house chores is that it inspires a work ethic that they’ll carry with them for the rest of their lives.
10. Perform A Science Experiment
This is the best time to get your kids excited about science. There are a variety of science experiments that you can perform with ordinary household items.
For example, you can make an awesome volcano out of vinegar and baking soda. Another common experiment that you should try out if you haven’t already is putting Mentos in a Diet Coke.
If you want more ideas for science experiments, head over to Pinterest.
11. Make A Journal
Screen-free activities for kids don’t have to be complicated. A simple thing like creating a journal can help keep the kids engaged.
For example, the kids can keep a journal that documents everything they’ve done since lockdown started.
Once this Coronavirus nightmare is over, they can go show their journal to their friends at school
12. Learn A New Skill
For this one, you need to ask the kids what they would like to learn. My kids are interested in photography so that’s what we’ve been doing.
They love taking pictures so much that everything in the house, including the dog, has been photographed.
Now, we’re working on creating a photo album to store the pictures so they can show it to their friends once this is all over.
So, if your kids want to learn a new language or paint, encourage them to do it.
13. Make Popsicles
Summer is fast approaching, so popsicles are a great idea. Since we can’t go outside to buy, we need to make them at home.
Believe me, the kids will enjoy the popsicle much more if they make it themselves.
Check out this video:
14. Choose a random act of kindness
Right now, every bit of kindness counts.
You could ask your kids to write a letter to the local hospital staff thanking them for everything they’re doing to save the community.
Involve them in picking out things you can donate to the local charity, let them help prepare food for your elderly neighbor etc.
There are so many things that they can help with to make a difference in the community right now.
15. Get Them A Job
My older kids love earning money so sometimes, they volunteer to babysit their younger siblings for a dollar.
This is a great help to me because I can focus on doing my work for a while without interruption.
Since the kids cannot put up a lemonade stand right now, they’re looking for different things to do around the house at a price.
I typically pay them for the more difficult chores but simple chores like folding laundry are done for free.
16. Have an Indoor Picnic
My family loves picnics and since we can’t go outdoors, we decided to do it in our living room.
I tasked my husband and kids with laying out the blankets in the living room and adding some pillows to make it cozier as I set out to prepare the perfect dishes for our picnic.
17. Build A Giant Fort in the Living Room
You want to give your kids their own space so they don’t feel claustrophobic in quarantine and the best way to do this is to create a fort that is exclusively theirs.
It’s very easy to build a fort and you can do it in a matter of minutes.
All you need to do is gather blankets and pillows around the house and bring them to a central location where you plan to build the fort, Have your kids help you out with this.
18. Play Dress Up
When playing dress-up, I let my kids decide the character they would love to be using the old items we have at the house.
Mostly, we used old Halloween costumes that had been lying around in the basement and everything came together pretty quickly.
19. Play Spa Day
There’s nothing more relaxing than a spa day. However, since we cannot go outside, we need to take the party inside.
Create a spa in your house by dressing up in robes and comfortable slippers and enjoy a nice, cool beverage with your kids. Take turns giving each other massages even if you’re not good at it.
20. Have A Dance Party
Kill the lights, turn on some fun lighting for ambiance, put on your favorite tunes, and let your kids show you their best dance moves. For extra fun, have a little competition to determine the best dancer in the group!
Did you know that American children spend 5-8 hours in front of a screen per day and less than 1 hour outside?
This is a dangerous trend that has been going on for too long and as parents, it’s time we do something about it!
Our kids need to start relying on themselves for entertainment instead of gadgets. Teach your kids that they can still have fun even without the presence of a tv.
Keep in mind that the screen-free activities for kids listed in this post are just the tip of the iceberg. Go to sites like Pinterest to find other screen-free ideas to enjoy with your kids.