If the thought of one more minute of screen time for your children makes your teeth itch, or if even your more fervent YouTube fan is bored, it’s time to change it up and go with some old school entertainment. You don’t have to go all the way back to cup and ball or hoop and stick, but these screen-free games and activities that require little parental supervision mean respite for the whole family.
Build a blanket fort.
Clear the kitchen table, drape it with a sheet or blanket, and fill it with pillows, books, barbies, action figures, lego – whatever your little loves most. Throw in a flashlight or two and send them on an expedition, camping, or dinosaur hunting, and you’re guaranteed at least enough time to run to the bathroom and pee in peace.
Send them on a scavenger hunt.
Create an obstacle course.
Indoors or outdoors, those busy little bodies will burn off some of that seemingly endless energy trying to navigate over, under, around, and through. Use found items around the house, or use string to create a Mission Impossible-style course.
Make story stones.
This one can double as a scavenger hunt and craft project. Send your littles out to find several smooth stones and then use paint pens to draw an object or a word that will inspire a story. Then, put all the stones in a bag or container, shake them up a little, choose a stone, and let the imaginative storytelling begin. Kids can narrate or act out the story using props from their toy box
Take Online Music Lessons.
Race Car Track
With a little washi, painters, or masking tape, you can create roads or railroad tracks for your little ones to “drive” their cars and trains around the house. Keep in mind that washi and painter’s tapes will be easier to remove and less likely to damage painted surfaces.
Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years of working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits, and researches subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.