• Jen Miller

Screen-Free Ideas for Families

Updated: May 18

Quarantined. No toilet paper. COVID-19. School closures. No Vacation.

It’s hard to slow down and take a breath to realize our new situation. Most of us remember our childhood without electronics, and we survived many days home with nothing to entertain us except for our imaginations. We had more family time to play board games, watch movies and TV together, talk with each other and laugh; I mean laugh until tears came out of your eyes to the point you were on the verge of peeing your pants laughing. We can look back and recollect those memories that today’s kids are missing out on those experiences. Think about it. They are not going to say, “I remember the days I played my (fill in the blank) all day while my parents were on their phone, tablet, etc.” When’s the last time you just hung out with your child, played what they wanted, read with them, laughed together nonstop, or let your guard down and were silly and playful?

So while our world is slowing down and in some parts closing its doors, we should look at our blessings. Time. Time with our loved ones. Time to slow down and relax. Time to have fun. Time to be a kid again. Worrying about things that are not in our control will produce nothing but fear. Our children are looking at us and seeing how we handle this situation and our time.

Instead of focusing on the negative and what is out of our control, let’s take this opportunity to embrace the positives and what we can control.

If you are looking for some screen-free ideas you can do with your kids, check out the list below.

Life Skills

  • Baking and cooking as a family. Here they will see why their math and reading skills are so critical, not to mention why you need to follow directions.

  • Organizing. Spring Cleaning with helpers. Have your kids help go through their clothes that no longer fit and toys they are ready to donate.

  • Gardening. What a great time to learn how to grow veggies. It is also an excellent opportunity to learn some scientific facts on which plants grow best under different types of climates.

  • Teaching how each machine works in the house (washing machine, dryer, dishwasher, etc.)

  • Home repairs and painting. Depending on your child’s age, they may find helping out with home repairs or painting fun. As long as you are doing it together, they will enjoy the time spent with you.

  • Facetime or phone a relative or friend. Kids can practice using social etiquette and conversations when speaking with others.

  • Create a grocery list on paper or using an app.

Family Ideas (Inside or Outside)

  • Play games. Board games, Hide-n-Seek, Simon Says, Mother May I, Charades, Try Not To Laugh, Pictionary, etc.

  • Create a game. Give it a name and write up the rules. If your kids are older, let them create the game and rules.

  • Reminisce. Look at photos of when you were younger with your children, their baby pictures, homemade movies, etc.

  • Family tree. Create a family tree or research your ancestors.

  • Exercise. Yoga, bike riding, running, dancing, swimming, etc.

  • Movie Night. Let your kids decide what you will watch. Pop some popcorn, get some candy, pretend you are at the movies.

  • Go on a picnic (indoors or in your backyard)

  • Go camping (in your backyard) or in your living room.

  • Build something together that you can use.

  • Go on a Treasure Hunt (inside or outside). Easter Eggs are perfect for hiding things. Create clues to find the treasure.

  • Create an Escape Room. It may take some time to create but think how much problem-solving and cooperation it will take to escape a room. (Google Escape Room ideas for home)

  • Create a Family Book Club. Discuss your favorite book and why you liked it.

  • Learn a new language as a family.

  • Go for a walk.

  • Run through the sprinklers.

  • Work on a puzzle together.

  • Have an indoor dance party.

  • Science Experiments. Another great way to learn something while bonding with your kids.

  • Build a fort.

  • Build an obstacle course. Using a stopwatch, see who would win parents vs. kids.

  • Play the floor is Hot Lava. You can use anything to put on the floor to step on, but you can’t step on the floor (aka hot lava).

  • Listen to audiobooks.


  • Go outside and draw what you see.

  • Draw a picture of a family member and see if anyone can guess whom you drew.

  • Grab a sheet of paper, draw a shape, and pass it around until everyone has had a chance to draw. What did your family create?

  • Make puppets and put on a show.

  • Make something using paper-mache.

  • Create a homemade gift or card for someone.

  • Make tie-dye shirts or create a family shirt or item.

  • Origami. As a family, see what you can create using origami.

  • Draw on the sidewalks with chalk.

  • Finger-painting outside.

If you are looking for more screen-free ideas, visit https://www.screenfreeparenting.com/1-million-screen-free-activities-kids/.

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