In the past year, just like most families, we find ourselves home more, especially in the winter months. We watch movies, learn virtually, and spend lots of time on zooms. My youngest daughter loves her tablet, and my oldest loves her phone. But it is so important to time aside each week and even daily where they need to find something to do, off screen.
I have tried to become intentional about setting time aside and asking them to put all devices away so that they are giving their eyes and minds a break. In the spring, summer and fall we spend lots of time outdoors and we go on lots of adventures outside the house. It has been more challenging as the weather has turned much colder and the wind can make it downright unbearable to go outside. Despite the weather, it is important to me as a parent that our children don’t grow up addicted to screens and that their hearts find delight in the simple pleasures in life. I thought I would share a list of indoor activities we have enjoyed that bring joy with no screen involved. I hope these help and inspire your family and I would love to know if you have suggestions to add in the comments. We are always looking for new ideas.
- Reading: We are regulars at our local library! We check out new books every few weeks so they are always options around that are new and enticing.
- Blocks: Wooden blocks (we have these), legos, Magformers, Tinker Toys, Lincoln Logs.
- Art: Coloring, painting, cutting and pasting, jewelry making, knitting
- Writing: journaling, making lists, goal setting, bucket lists, making cards, writing letters, crossword puzzles, word searches
- Board games: Scrabble, Pictionary, Sorry, Connect Four, Guess Who, Checkers, and Yahtzee are some of our favorites.
- Music: Play piano (or take up another instrument), play records on the record player, read and learn song lyrics, create a music center (we have harmonicas, kazoos, tambourine, drum, recorder, xylophone and more)
- Puzzles: large floor puzzles or consider investing in a puzzle board or table for more complex puzzles.
- Build a fort: include blankets, pillows, sheets and flashlights.
- Cooking: our kiddos especially enjoy baking and making pizzas.
- Chores: there are some they actually like. Both like folding laundry and bringing in and putting away groceries.
- Indoor trampoline. One of the best investments we’ve made. It lets them get out energy even when the temp outside is freezing.
- Decluttering: Both of my children will take on decluttering willingly. They love the free feeling of getting rid of unwanted things and making space. They also like knowing some other families in need may receive the items they are letting go of.
- Make-believe games: Playing house, school or doctor
- Tactile fun: kinetic sand, play dough and modeling clay are always a hit.
- Bring on the classic toys: Lite Brite, dolls, cars, rubix cube
I hope you and your kids are inspired by this list. Once you are armed with fun ideas, you may find hours go by without anyone wanting to look at a screen. Raising kids who aren’t addicted to screens is really important, and it starts when they are young. The habits you instill in them now will stick with them for years to come.