Kids are increasingly reliant on screentime for learning (as we collectively found out recently). However, enjoying screen-free time is also important for socialisation and personal growth. It is always good to declare a “screen time fast” or screen free day and we have a great list of screen-free activities for kids you might like to try with your own brood.
Screen-free Activities for Kids
1. Move and Dance to Songs
Get your child and family moving. There are many movement songs that encourage dancing and physical activity to get children to work off their energy. After all, which child would want to sit still for hours? A friend recommended movement songs by Laurie Berkners and there are many more from The Wiggles and other musicians.
2. Chalk drawing on the Pavement & Water Play
This is a two-in-one screen free activity for kids to keep them busy for a long time. All that is needed is some chalk, some imagination, a bucket of water and a scrub. Making chalk art is fun, easy and can be done almost anywhere. Pick the spot right outside your door so clean-up is easy or the kitchen floor if you don’t mind the mess. After all the fun with chalk, get the children to scrub it down with water and this turns into water play instantly!
Audiobooks are one favourite activity for my children, and it’s perfect for keeping them still and quiet during car rides or screen free days at home. Try Audible or Libby which are all free options! For younger children, short stories like fairy tales or fables are great! Older ones would enjoy adventure stories such as Berenstein bears, Amelia Bedelia, Fancy Nancy or Harry Potter.
4. A Minute to Win it Games
Make use of everyday household objects to play “A Minute to Win it” kids version! We have all the suggested activities here but I’m sure you can come up with your own. It will be tons of fun. Double it by splitting the family into teams and try all the challenges!
5. Blocks Challenge
Almost everyone has blocks of some sort – wooden blocks, magnetic tiles or LEGO or DUPLO blocks. How about coming up with a building challenge and get the children busy with building? Decide on a theme like homes, farms, castles or simply the tallest. Complete the screen free challenge with some mandatory photos with funny poses or an optical illusion with someone with the structure in his or her palm.
6. Cook or Bake
More time at home means more time to try recipes and enjoying homemade meals. Get the kids involved in the kitchen. There’s always something to learn and cooking is certainly a life skill worth honing from an early age. Our favourites are pizzas, dumplings and scrambled eggs!
7. Science Experiments
We love science experiments, who doesn’t? Being hands-on is the best way to learn and there lies opportunities to learn and spark curiosity. There are many great ideas from this site.
Is it time to declutter? There must be many unread books on the shelves that have been forgotten or due for a re-read. Tidy the book shelves and read the “abandoned” books or the favourites as a family. Or have everyone read the same book and form a mini book club for some screen free time!
9. Spot Nature
Look out of the window or balcony and see if you can spot any birds or other creatures. Singapore has over 300 native birds and many visitors during migratory season. See if you can spot any of them. This activity is best done with a pair of binoculars! Mark down your finds and you might want to submit your observations for Global Big Day.
10. Obstacle Courses for a Screen Free Day at Home
To ward off cabin fever, it is best to encourage movement. Arm your children with post-its, washi tape or masking tape, and have them design an obstacle course that everyone can complete. Be it three hops to the kitchen, five star jumps at the fridge, leopard crawl under the table or somersault across the carpet – this will get your child thinking and moving!
11. Mini Rube Goldberg
Construct a mini Rube Goldberg machine! We usually stare amazed at online videos of families and individuals creating an insanely creative Rube Goldberg machine. How about creating your very own? It doesn’t have to be highly complex, but it’s super fun to make use of household objects to engineer your very own course. Get inspired here! Take a video and we’d love to see and share it.
12. Sensory Play with Salt Dough
Salt dough is made of just flour, salt and water. This is easy to make and can be kept for a long time. The kids can make different colours or even scented dough for all kinds of imaginary play. One bonus is salt dough can be air dried or baked to be toys! Ready to make some fossils?
13. Rainbow Hunt
Go on a rainbow hunt around the home! This is a fun one which gets the children busy finding different objects of different colours. Store the finds in a bag and keep them for observational study later on. Get more cool scavenger hunt ideas that you can do at home.
14. Screen-free, Audio-play Role-playing
Try a brand new app Audioplay which has recently been launched on the Apple app store. It provides an engaging, screen-free way for two or more players to experience a story together. Each player will hear the voice of their character and they act out the actions and follow the instructions. Here’s to some good screen free drama at home!
15. Colouring to Encourage
If your kids love colouring, how about getting them to colour and decorate encouraging messages? Passion Arts has templates for downloading while Be Kind SG wants you to spread some cheer around the neighbourhood. Brighten up your windows as well as someone else’s day!
16. Paint Rocks so you can hide them later
Even though parks are not quite accessible now, it is still possible to paint rocks so you can hide them later. Local group SG Rocks has a rock-hiding and hunting community that paints and hides rocks in parks or playgrounds. Contribute your painted rocks and start painting them with your children!
17. Picnic at Home
How about having a picnic at home? With homemade scones, some tea, snacks and a picnic mat, turn your living room into the pleasant meadows. Sip some tea, listen to some music and enjoy the breeze from the ceiling fan above. Best bit is your favourite teatime snacks are all within easy reach. And the air-conditioner can be turned on for a cooler experience.
18. Painting & Crafting
Declare a screen free day which focuses on arts and crafts! Art is therapeutic and it also invigorates the spirit. Who needs moving images? Try doodling, drawing or favourite book or movie characters, painting various themes. There is plenty to create. Try these for a start.
19. Mess Free Art
If you prefer no mess-art, ziplocks are your best friends. Simply squeeze some paint onto the paper, put it in a ziplock bag and seal it, then have your child manoeuvre the paint with his or her fingers! This keeps both surfaces and the child’s body completely clean, while keeping you sane from not having to clean up. A screen free activity for kids and mess free too! Hurray!
20. Prepare a Care Package and Send It Out
Spend meaningful time at home by preparing a care package for someone you know. It could be as simple as a card or perhaps baking some cookies and sharing them with your neighbourhood. A little thought can go a long way.
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