Parents are some of the busiest people on the planet. Between making kids a healthy dinner, playing math tutor, and taking orange slices to soccer games, it can be hard to find time for yourself. After a long day, it’s tempting to whip out the ‘ol iPad and immerse your kids in a TV show so you can have a few minutes of peace and quiet. It’s easy, low maintenance, and kids love spending time with tech.
Let’s face it though, tech doesn’t necessarily love kids back. In fact, the American Academy of Child & Adult Psychiatry states that kids who spend too much time with screens risk developing sleep problems, scoring lower grades in school, and developing a negative self-image. While it’s convenient to use tech as a babysitter, we don’t recommend it in the long run.
By learning how to keep kids entertained without screens, you help your kids boost their overall mood and, surprisingly, improve their mental and physical health. Here are ten of the healthiest ways to entertain kids without technology.
1. Plan A Bike Ride
When I was a kid, I wanted to pedal around everywhere. As an adult, I still feel the same way! Bike Citizens magazine states that cycling reduces stress, encourages physical activity, and familiarizes riders with their neighborhood. Plus, using a bike as your main method of transportation is super environmentally conscious. So strap on those helmets and take your kids out on a bike ride!
With a Troomi phone, you never need to worry about where your children are biking. Our kid-friendly smartphones feature a top-of-the-line GPS that keeps you informed of where your kiddos are and what they’re doing. To find them, you just need to log into the Troomi Parent Portal. Click here to learn more!
2. Arrange A Playdate
If you’re having a hard time keeping your energetic kids entertained, chances are your neighborhood is full of parents experiencing the same thing. Why not work together and plan a playdate so your kiddos can entertain each other?
Playdates are a great way for kids to make new friends and develop their burgeoning social skills away from the glare of a screen. Sounds like a win-win to me!
3. Let Your Kids Help You with Tasks
When I was teaching elementary school, I learned that there are few things kids enjoy more than acting like an adult. My students loved to help me count out change, make grocery lists, and plan out a daily schedule.
Giving your kids a task to do prepares them for their future responsibilities and helps them learn time management skills. It’s also a great way to bond together as a family! While your children may not be able to help you with the real adult stuff like taxes (as much as we wish they could), they’ll relish the chance to spend time doing real-life things with you.
4. Have Fun with Arts and Crafts
I don’t know any kids that don’t enjoy crafts—especially if it means getting glue and paint on their fingers. Planning a daily craft is a fantastic way to keep your kids entertained without screens, while encouraging them to be creative.
While some parents might enjoy planning elaborate crafts, not everyone has the time to come up with intricate ideas. Check out this list from GoodtoKnow for some easy yet creative craft ideas you and your kids can do at home.
5. Write Letters To Faraway Friends and Family
The pandemic has forced many families to refrain from big family gatherings. Thankfully, there are so many ways we can remain connected despite not seeing each other in person! Call me old-fashioned, but writing a letter is one of my favorite ways to connect with faraway people.
Encourage your kids to write a letter or draw a picture for faraway friends or family members. Then, teach them how to address the letter and apply a stamp. Chances are they’ll get a response—and nobody loves getting mail more than a kid.
6. Build a Pillow Fort
Kids love to build. Kids love playing in forts. Put these two ideas together, and you have about two hours of free entertainment. So get out some pillows and blankets and set your kids loose! Encourage them to draw a picture or play some games in their fort once it’s complete—after all, everything is more fun inside a pillow fort.
7. Have a Math Competition
I know, I know, most kids don’t think that math is fun. However, making it a competition adds an element of play that kids will seriously enjoy! When my students refused to do their daily math facts worksheets, we pulled out a timer and made it a race. Morphing the assignment into a game encouraged them not only to finish, but to have fun doing it.
You can find printable math fact worksheets easily on the Internet. Math-Aids.com is one of my favorite sites because it generates a new collection of problems every time. No two worksheets are alike, so the game is never-ending.
8. Design A Scavenger Hunt
A scavenger hunt is a fantastic way to keep your kids busy while teaching them to think outside the box. Scavenger hunts can be done indoors or outside and are easily adjusted to your child’s needs. Kids are sure to stay busy and have fun playing detective.
Scavenger hunts don’t need to be complex. For example, have your kids search for an object around the house that begins with each letter of the alphabet. You’ll be surprised how creative their finds might be!
If you think they’re up for it, have your kids help you design a scavenger hunt for friends or younger siblings to complete. The sense of accomplishment kids get from seeing other people enjoy what they’ve created is unrivaled!
9. Give Your Kids A Puzzle
When was the last time you broke out a 500-piece puzzle? My family usually does one around Christmas, and every year I forget how fun they are. There’s something so fulfilling about finishing a puzzle and seeing the completed image. Kids also have a good time with puzzles and (this is the best part) completing puzzles takes A LOT of time.
In addition to being a longer activity, puzzles have a ton of great benefits for kids, including stress reduction, memory improvement, and development of fine motor skills. Check out this blog post to learn more about the benefits of good, old-fashioned puzzles.
10. Have Your Kids Help with Chores
Your kids might resent me for suggesting this one, but giving them chores to do is one of the healthiest ways to keep them entertained. Completing tasks around the house teaches responsibility and encourages organization by helping kids understand the value of keeping things clean. Some kids might even enjoy the responsibility!
Of course, most kids won’t jump at the chance to do chores. To encourage them, try making it a game by setting a time limit. If that doesn’t work, try using a reward system—the more chores they complete, the closer they are to getting a fun present or experience (maybe that reward is a Troomi phone!).
Entertainment Sans Screen
Keeping your kids entertained is hard. In our modern world, it can be easy to turn to tech when we want a few minutes of peace and quiet. While this may be the easiest route, it’s the least beneficial in the long run! Instead, try one of these healthy methods of entertaining kids. You’ll thank me later.
And don’t forget to keep an eye on the Troomi blog for more parenting tips and tricks!