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Are you looking for creative screen free activities to keep your kids busy while you blog? Keep reading for over 100 of my kids’ favorites!
Did you know that play time is crucial for children? It helps build their creativity and independence.
Play time is a great way for children to occupy themselves while you work on your business. They’ll be having fun, and you can get some tasks knocked off your to-do list!
If you’re wondering what to have them do, here are 100 simple, but engaging activities your children can do while you work. I’ve broken them down into categories, so you can easily find a screen free activity your children will enjoy.
Tip: Does your child have trouble making a decision? Write down some of your favorites on craft sticks and put them in a jar. Each day, have your child pick one stick and do that activity.
Disclaimer: Of course, you know your children best, so be aware of their abilities before letting them play freely. Don’t give small pieces to young children or anything like that.
Screen Free Activities: Give Them a Box
If you’re anything like me, you’ve got scores of Amazon Prime delivery boxes around! 😀
Boxes can entertain all ages of kids. Here are 16 creative things your kids can do with their boxes:
- Turn it on its side and let your baby crawl around and into it
- Have your toddler or preschooler sit inside the box and color the inside
- Encourage your children to turn the box into a…
- UPS truck
- Fire truck
- New invention
- Use file folders and tape and create a maze inside the box
- Cut the flaps off the box and use one to create a crown
- Practice opening and closing the box
- Wrap the box with construction paper and tape
Screen Free Activities: Bring Out the Paper
Paper brings out the creativity! Don’t turn to Pinterest and come up with projects your kids need to do. Instead, set out a ton of paper and just let your children create all on their own. Encourage them to:
- Create a set (draw and cut out pieces related to each other)
- Community heroes
- Your family
- A favorite TV show
- Lunch time
- A favorite video game
- Draw a picture of something
- Using shades of only one color (monochromatic)
- With their eyes shut
- Using their non-dominant hand
- Without lifting the pencil off the paper
- Using only straight lines
- Try their hand at origami
- Make a maze or dot-to-dot
- Draw a map
- Illustrate a new ending to a favorite story
- Make paper dolls and clothes
Screen Free Activities: Working on Writing
Set out some basic writing supplies, and let your child:
- Make a card for someone
- Write a letter
- Draw characters for a new story
- Create a mind map for a topic of interest
- Make a list of animals starting with each letter of the alphabet
- Write directions for making a cheese sandwich
- Practice their handwriting
- Create a new font
My eBook The Ultimate Guide to a Successful Family Writing Time has so many additional ideas for creative, screen free tasks your kids can do while you work. It’s only $7.99, so check it out!
Screen Free Activities: Play Dough
If your child is old enough to use play dough without eating it or making a huge mess, some simple tools can make it even more fun!
- Googly eyes
- Dried spaghetti
- Butter knives
- A rolling-pin
- Cookie cutters
- A toy with wheels
And let your children create. You can even hand over your smart phone and encourage them to work together to create a stop motion film.
I highly recommend the StopMotion Explosion kit. It comes with an app that’s easy for elementary school aged kids to use.
Screen Free Activities: Free Play with Board Games
You can play games according to the rules, but we really enjoy turning them into solo activities. That means turning the kids loose for free play with the pieces.
Tip: Establish clear boundaries with games pieces otherwise they’ll vanish and you won’t be able to play for reals when you want to. Ensure your kids pick up every single piece each time…
Here are five of our favorites plus a look at how we use them creatively for solo play…
- Sort the pieces by color
- Stack groups of five
- Play a game against themselves
- Make a story and use the pieces as props
- Create a pattern with the pieces
These colorful cards are so fun! Your kids can:
- Set up a pretend store, “selling” the picture cards
- Sort by category
- Use them as props in a story
- Give the animals and people names
- Draw a background to play with the pieces on
- Sort the cards by type
- Make patterns from the pieces
- Read the back of the board and the box with the special glasses
- Practice building with clay
- Draw the items listed on five random cards
- Build a gigantic train, connecting all the pieces
- Make a repeating pattern on the table
- Sort by color
- Build houses and barns for toy animals
- Try to set up all the dominoes on end and knock them over (Perhaps have them do this activity a bit away from where you’re working, it can be loud!)
The pieces in this game inspire creativity naturally! Have your child:
- Use the pieces to tell a story
- Make each letter of the alphabet from pieces of their choice
- Try to count all the pieces in the game before the timer runs out
- Make a tall stack using as many pieces as possible
- Toss the cubes and try to get them to land on the lily pads on the board game from a few feet away
Screen Free Activities: Building with Legos
Since one of my children has Pica, we’ve moved all of our Legos into an outbuilding we’ve dubbed The Lego Shack. The other kids love going out there to build.
Here are some challenges you can give your children:
- Build a flat picture
- Make something using only:
- 30 pieces
- Red bricks
- Bricks that are the same size
- Make a house
- Build a dresser with a drawer that opens
- Design a new vehicle
- Make a shelf out of Legos and put three mini-figures on it
- Write your name in bricks
- Make a favorite scene from a book
Need some more Legos for your collection? My kids really enjoy the variety of pieces in this set.
Screen Free Activities: Coloring Books
Have a collection of coloring books and a box of crayons around. Also keep some scissors and a glue stick available. Your kids can:
- Read the words at the bottom of each page
- Circle the letter A as many times as they can find it
- Color a picture and cut it out
- Glue a cut out picture onto a paper and draw a background
- Cut out several pictures and glue them to craft sticks to make puppets and tell a story
Screen Free Activities: A Foam Letter Mat
My absolute favorite toy for inspiring literacy, a foam letter mat is so versatile! Be sure to get one where the letters can pop out of the frames, like this one.
Using the mat, your children can:
- Pop out all the letters and put them back in where they belong
- Create a trail of letters to jump on
- Build a house
- Make a long line of connected letters and roll down it
- Sort by color
- Think of a word that starts with each letter
- Mix up all the popped out letters and pull one out at a time, then name it and put it away
Screen Free Activities: Household Help
Kids can be a lot of help! It can be fun to clean, so let them:
- Use a spray bottle of water and a rag to clean
- The walls
- Fronts of cupboards
- The floor (Pippi Longstocking style!)
- Sort laundry
- Fold towels
- Match socks (do you also have a ton of mismatched ones?)
- Organize a bookshelf or cupboard
Screen Free Activities: Make a Fort
Give the kids a blanket or two and encourage them to build a fort out of the dining room table. In their fort they can:
- Eat a snack
- Read some books
- Take a nap (Wistful thinking? :D)
- Send out explorers to map the territory around their cave
Let Your Kids Be Creative Today!
Independent play fosters creativity! Pick a couple of screen free activities from this post and let your kids unleash their creativity while you get some work done.
Lisa Tanner is a former teacher turned homeschooling mom with 11 kids. She's also a successful freelance writer. Lisa enjoys helping other busy moms find time to start and grow a side hustle of their own.