30 Screen-Free Activities for Families
It was a day like every other day except that today felt harder. But why? I was standing at my kitchen island and my kiddos, 10 and 6 were running around it like a track. There were Magnatiles all over the place and there were leaves from a few leftover holiday poinsettias on the rug. ((Didn’t I just vacuum yesterday??)) What a mess. Then my son tripped over the tub that stores the Magnatiles while his sister proceeded to “get him” while he was on the way down and alas; he is crying … she is apologizing and what am I doing, you might be wondering?
I am hearing the same inner monologue I always hear …
“I don’t want them to be on their screens but when they are the house isn’t a mess, there isn’t any fighting and I can actually HEAR MYSELF THINK.”
Add the dynamic of working from home while they learn from home and it’s almost a necessity while I am working that they have screens to ensure my Zoom calls go smoothly.
Ironically when this writing topic came up, my husband and I were talking about how moody the kids get when they do have screen time. So although it keeps them busy and the house clean it comes with a major dose of the wrong attitude.
So we have three options …
- Screen time and a little peace and quiet but moody, feisty children
- No screen time, and a messy, DESTROYED house
- Dedicated time as a family doing something together in a way that doesn’t feel chaotic because WE can be involved
Well for two days we put ourselves to the test and tried our best efforts at option three. What did we discover?
It’s not always possible as two working parents to be this engaged 100% of the time, but if we dedicate time to be 100% engaged for intentional time periods we create balance and harmony in our family. It may not be possible all the time, but we can do more!
To help our family, we made a list of things we did during the above mentioned two-day challenge as well as things we want to do, miss doing, and included our favorite things we enjoyed pre-covid.
I should mention during these two days we got super lucky and it snowed and our favorite time together was playing in the snow making snow caves and tunnels.
The ultimate list of things to do as a screen free family:
- Play in the snow
- Play board games
- Invest in some legos, create something new out of existing sets
- Play indoor frisbee with a cloth frisbee
- Play hide in seek
- Get glow stick jewelry and have a glow party, glow in the dark hide in seek is very fun!
- Build a big fort and buy a world map to travel the world from your living room
- Paint a room in your home with chalkboard paint and do chalk art all year long
- Cut out snowflakes and hang them in your windows
- Prepare for an upcoming holiday by doing themed arts and crafts for the holiday
- Camp in your living room and make smores in the oven
- Go Camping
- Go for a hike
- Have some sort of water fight
- Go to the pool
- Take a short road trip to get ice cream
- Make a scavenger hunt in your home
- Hide objects in the house to find for M&Ms
- Use food coloring and coffee filters to make faux stained glass
- Go for a drive
- Read stories
- Take a visit to the library
- Make a porch delivery for a friend or family member
- Volunteer at a nonprofit
- Write a letter to a friend or family member
- Have an indoor snowball fight with everyone’s socks
- Make a planting bar in your garage
I hope this list sparks a few ideas of your own. Make your own list, spend time together, embrace the mess and hang in there! Parents rock! And our kids need us now more than ever, in some cases* we are their only (however temporary) friend.
*At home or in-person learning varies for families and if you’re kiddos are learning from home, please give yourself a ton of grace and try to remember you are their only in-person friend to play with. That said find some avenues for self-care so you can sustain through this time prior to all kids returning to school.
About the Author
Mel Guanci is the owner of In2ItSocial a Marketing Boutique with clients across the US. She enjoys gardening, collecting house plants, spending time with friends and family, camping and travel. She lives in Des Moines with her family.