100 Fun Screen Free Activities For Kids

Posted April 17, 2018 by Milk and Hugs in Children, Fun Stuff, Parenting / 0 Comments

Kids need fun screen free activities to stimulate their growing minds - here are 100 ideas to get you started! Free PDF Printable

When you need your kids to step away from the screens, you need plenty of fun screen free activities they can do!

The Controversy

Screen time… I both love and hate those little electronic devices of addiction. There are moments when they make life easier as a parent, allowing a few precious minutes to make dinner, catch up on work or even take a nap. Yet those same conveniences are warned against by medical professionals and child care experts alike.


Kids need fun screen free activities to occupy growing brains!

 The Research Against Unlimited Screen Time

Victoria L Dunckley M.D. composed a piece featured in Psychology Today which notes even regular screen exposure can lead to sensory overload, lack of restorative sleep, and a hyperaroused nervous system, a group of symptoms she calls Electronic Screen Syndrome.  Never heard of it? You are not alone. I hadn’t either, and it appears that the syndrome is yet unrecognized – though with new research on the horizon, you may start hearing more about it soon. To learn more, either click the highlighted link above, or click here.

Across the pond, The University of Bristol performed a study that found children who spent in excess of 2 hours per day in front of screens suffered increased psychological difficulties. This same study noted that increased physical activity did not necessarily offset the screen saturation.

While a quick Google search will bring up dozens to even hundreds more research articles to back up reduced screen time, there are also those who advocate for moderate, specific or even unlimited (!!!) screen time for children.

The Research For Moderate and Specific Screen Time

New Scientist published a piece in 2014 which points out that not ALL types of screen time is damaging. Certain computer games or motivational tablet games seemed to be non-harmful, and possibly even beneficial, at least according to the sited Longitudinal Study of over 11,000 UK children.

Child Media Expert and head of PBS KIDS Digital, Sara Dewitt, takes it a step further in a TED Talk, breaking down the most common fears about screen time in children and why we shouldn’t worry so much in our modern world. She also wrote a great article featured on PBS Parents that speaks of many of these same things.

Kids need fun screen free activities to stimulate their growing minds! Here is a list of 100 ideas to get you started. #ScreenFree #Kids

So what is a parent to do??

It seems that most experts agree that limited screen time is best, and for the time allotted, those minutes or hours need to be aimed at education or interaction.

Yet reducing screen time can be challenging. It’s a hard ask, especially for single parents, parents with more than one child (or, let’s be honest here – parents with just one child!) and pretty much everyone else.

The experts may agree… yet they give us few ideas on what else to do! Many laws across the nation (or just nosey neighbors) preclude unsupervised playtime outside, while independent play indoors is a dying skill, or simply difficult for some children. With my own girls, my eldest is content to read for hours while my youngest requires constant attention – even though we have tried to foster independent play. It can be exhausting! I love you kid, but Mommy needs a break! Speaking of which, here are a few tricks I employ to carve out that precious ‘Me Time’.

Our Plan

Last year, we went through a 30 Day Screen time Free Challenge. It was difficult at first, but it DID get easier. While I am planning to undertake that challenge as a family again, I wanted to come up with ideas to reduce overall screen time outside that challenge window.

Here are 100 ideas to get my family, and your’s, started. You can find a link to a Free PDF Version below, though the PDF has only 99 ideas. It is missing the Coloring Page Maker App listed at #2 below.

100 Ideas for Fun screen free activities - with Free PDF Printable!

Fun Screen Free Activities – Inside Independent

– may need supervision or set up, depending on age – 

  1. Color with Crayons
  2. Create Family Member Coloring pages with this free app!
  3. Read a book
  4. Paint
  5. LEGO’s
  6. Practice Letter Formation on reusable, Laminated sheets. Need a Laminator? Read this.
  7. Listen to the Radio (Dance Party?)
  8. Puppet Show – here’s a great video on sock puppets.
  9. Write a Letter to a Loved One
  10. Play Dress Up
  11. Pretend to Camp
  12. Play Cards
  13. Play Cars
  14. Matching Nuts & Bolts (caution for younger children)
  15. Make a Sticker Book
  16. Put together a puzzle
  17. Meditate – here’s an article that tells you how to start.
  18. Take a Nap
  19. Listen to an Audio Book
  20. Play Marbles (age appropriate)
  21. Flash light shadow animals
  22. Sensory Bin – This post from Happy Hooligans talks about how to make one
  23. Letter Magnets on Refridgerator or Metal Sheet
  24. Play with Playdough or Clay
  25. Play with Cloud Dough – Here’s how to make it, courtesy of Babble Dabble Do!
  26. Paper Dolls
  27. Pillow Fort

Fun Screen Free Activities Inside With Parent Help

  1. Papier-Mache Crafts
  2. Build a Race Track
  3. Make a Cardboard Fort
  4. Build a Fairy Castle
  5. Make Cleaning a Game – Momtastic has a great article on how to do this.
  6. Contact Paper on Walls – then stick things to it! – Paths to Literacy talks about this.
  7. Make a Friendship Bracelet
  8. Put glow sticks in the bath and turn off the lights
  9. Fill the tub with shaving cream
  10. Make-over!
  11. Create an obstacle course inside
  12. Tell prompt led, lead on stories
  13. Tea Party
  14. Toilet Paper Roll Crafts – Here’s a list of 62 of them!
  15. Home Made Shrinky Dinks – Here’s how to make them.
  16. Bake a Cake
  17. Set out old clothes for donation
  18. Indoor Hopscotch (made with painter’s tape on the floor)
  19. Indoor Bowling
  20. Play a Board Game
  21. Use the laundry basket as a car
  22. Bake cookies for a neighbor
  23. Learn to Crochet or Knit (yes, even young kids can learn this) – NattyPat shows you how
  24. Craft simple jewelry
  25. Finger Paints in the Tub
  26. Make a Pop-Up Book – Here’s a great video on how
  27. Make a Birdhouse
  28. Hide and Seek
  29. Study Sign Language
  30. Learn Cat’s Cradle – Check the WikiHow link here

Fun Screen Free Activities Outside With Parent Help

– or independent per age –

  1. Take a walk in the neighborhood
  2. Play Baseball
  3. Ride bikes or tricycles
  4. Water bin
  5. Swim!
  6. Playdough filled balloons
  7. Blow Bubbles
  8. Run a Race
  9. Play Frisbee
  10. Go to the park
  11. Work in the garden
  12. Climb a tree
  13. Take a Nature walk
  14. Collect rocks
  15. Visit the Library
  16. Play Dodge ball (nicely!)
  17. Play Sidewalk Chalk – or make Liquid Sidewalk Chalk!
  18. Run through the sprinklers
  19. Water Balloon Fight
  20. Play Hide and Seek
  21. Outside Yoga
  22. Have a Picnic
  23. Cloud Watch
  24. Watch the Sunset
  25. Play Basketball
  26. Play Tag
  27. Play Capture the Flag
  28. Make Mud Pies
  29. Play with silly string
  30. Roller Skate
  31. Have a Water Fight
  32. Bird Watch
  33. Hop in Puddles
  34. Take photos of the neighborhood
  35. Have an outside playdate
  36. Visit a friend
  37. Play with a Hula Hoop
  38. Jump Rope
  39. Play Hop Scotch
  40. Ride Scooters
  41. Make a Rock Garden
  42. Plant a Tree
  43. Plant some flowers

If you want the Free Printable PDF Version of this Fun Screen Free Activities List, please click the picture below.

List of 99 Fun Screen Free Activities for Kids!
Click Picture for Free PDF Printable


Your Turn

What are your favorite, fun screen free activities for your kids to do? Leave a comment, I would love to know!

Kids need fun screen activities to stimulate their mind and encourage growth - here are 100 ideas to get your family started! #Kids #ScreenFree

Posted April 17, 2018 by Milk and Hugs in Children, Fun Stuff, Parenting / 0 Comments


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