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20 Screen-Free Activities during the School Year

20 Screen-Free Activities during the School Year

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Audio Article

Many parents and kids rely on screens for entertainment when at home. However, kids should also engage in traditional play for creative thinking, problem-solving, interaction, and much more.

Are you looking for ideas to lure your kids away from the TV and other digital gadgets?

We have gathered the best 20 screen-free activities that will cause your children to get away from the screen!

1. Read a book!

There can’t be a better screen-free activity for your children than reading. According to National Interact Trust in America, children today read less than their previous generations’ counterparts. Digital devices are largely to blame!

Introduce the culture of reading slowly and with smaller books before introducing more detailed books. You can begin with a 15-minute session daily and gradually increase the time as they develop reading interest.


  • By reading, your child gets exposure to information they have never learned in a classroom or imagined existed. 
  • Reading can help your child develop empathy since they follow a person’s story and walk in their shoes.
  • It educates kids beyond the school curriculum and makes them very knowledgeable.
  • Reading plays a significant role in building children’s vocabulary.
  • Reading exposes children to a world of new possibilities, imagination, and creativity.
  • Reading plays a significant role in improving children’s communication skills and builds analytical thinking.
20 Screen-Free Activities during the School Year
“Show me a family of readers, and I will show you the people who move the world.”- Napoléon Bonaparte. 

2. Dog Walking:

Dog walking is an ideal and engaging activity that facilitates a lot of happiness, among other benefits to children. Let your child feed, water, walk, brush and poop the dog, and they will barely have time for TV, phone, or video games!


  • Owning a dog can cause your child to be more responsible as they care for the pet.
  • It eliminates boredom and increases their physical activities.
  • Owning a dog can boost a child’s self-esteem.
  • It can help a child recover from stress or trauma as they learn to confide in their dog as a ‘friend.’
  • Children who grow up with a close relationship with a dog are less likely to develop allergies.
  • Dog owners are more empathetic, caring, and protective.

3. Create a Mud Kitchen:

Mud-kitchen activity is perfect for younger kids. Children pretend to prepare and cook food using sand, mud, and water in this outdoor activity.

Your child can utilize old and unused utensils to enjoy the game. Besides keeping your child from the screen, a mad kitchen can also include the following benefits:

  • Children learn through play.
  • It provides a hands-on experience that can boost your child’s personal and physical development.
  • It’s entertaining and educational since children engage with natural materials in a real-life setting.
  • The kitchen stimulates imagination and creativity among children.

4. Mud Game:

Simple pleasures like playing in the mud can be fun for your child! Anyone can make a mud puddle, even without using a hose. You can create mud with a few buckets of water and some dirt. One advantage of mud is that it is free and readily available!

Kids can make mud pies and castles. They can also squish, pile, and push it as part of the game. Mad play can also involve splashing, sliding, or throwing mud against a wall.   Set an area in your yard to create the mud, and have a large plastic tub to rinse it.


  • Germs found in mud help to boost your child’s immune system
  • It increases exposure to friendly bacteria in the body.
  • Mud play exposes kids to sunlight, fresh air, and exercise.

5. Fly a Kite:

Flying a kite is an excellent idea for kids, especially on a windy day. While flying a kite may seem like an old-school activity, it keeps children away from the screen and improves their physical well-being. Children of any age can comfortably fly a kite and enjoy outdoor activities.

Kites come with different themes making it easy to identify one that fits your child’s interests. Holding on to the kite’s string will improve your child’s agility and strength. They also get to build skills and enjoy some fresh air and sunshine.

6. Sock Puppets:

Did you know you can use lone socks in your house to create sock puppets and have a lot of fun for your children?

Creating sock puppets is an easy crafting activity that kids of any age can enjoy. All you require in this activity are markers to draw faces and scissors to cut a mouth. You can get more creative by putting on a puppet show!

Sock puppets encourage creative thinking and do not require expensive supplies to pull them out. Encourage your child to use different voices, personalities, and characters when playing with the puppets. They can even use them to read out aloud their favorite book!

7. Use Bottles to make Music:

Bottles can formulate a foundation for your child to learn the basics of Music. The activity allows your child to explore different tunes.


  • Arrange glass bottles of the same size and type.
  • Fill them with different water levels and place them on the same base.
  • Give your child a steel spoon, and ask them to tap the bottles one after the other.
  • Let them change the water levels and explore the varying musical tunes.


  • It boosts creativity and entertains children
  • Kids begin to understand differences in pitch and notes.
  • Kids learn the basics of music theory without any targeted formal study.

8. Baking:

Are you looking for a rewarding and fun activity to get your kids off the screen? Baking is the way to go! Baking is fun and educative; children of all ages can participate. Your kids can bake whether or not they have a passion for baking. Remember, all you need is to encourage their creativity and reduce screen time.

Baking brings a lot of fun to kids since they get to eat the snacks they cook afterward. You can bake simple recipes like cookies, cape pops, cupcakes, and ice creams, among other delicacies. You can also buy your child a cookbook and pick a recipe daily, especially when they spend most on the screen.

9. Bike Riding:

Bike riding is an exciting outdoor exercise for children that they can enjoy from an early age. Cycling is fun and essential to kids’ physical and mental health. 

During cycling, the child’s entire body and the brain receive more nutrients and oxygen-rich blood. This improves their ability to think creatively and concentrate.

Bike riding also teaches children to combine different motor skills quickly and in a fun way. For instance, they must have a sense of balance, look around and carefully look at the road, pedal, steer, and have a reaction.

Cycling further encourages perception. Children explore and discover the world around them. Sports bring people of all ages together. Children who cycle together build friendships and lasting bonds.

10. Drawing:

Drawing is an excellent screen-free activity for kids of all ages. It allows them to express their emotions and thoughts and develop problem-solving skills. Drawing also exercises and challenges the brain more than watching TV or playing video games would do.

Here are more benefits of drawing:

  • It develops kids’ fine motor skills from an early age.
  • It allows kids to develop vital visual analysis skills.
  • It improves children’s concentration abilities, causing them to perform better academically.
  • Drawing improves your kids’ hand-eye coordination.
  • It improves their confidence.
  • It helps kids to develop problem-solving skills.

11. Find a Hidden Toy:

This is an interesting game for kids of all ages. It works similarly to the traditional Hide and Seek game. All you need to do is pick up one of your kid’s toys and run with it to the backyard. Ask your child to close their eyes and slowly count up to 20 as you seek the best place to hide the toy. After securely hiding it, ask them to look for it.

 This game enriches your child’s prudence and boosts their general awareness. They will begin by decoding from places where you have hidden the toy in the past as they brainstorm for other possible hideouts. Don’t be surprised if your child abandons the screen for this game!

12. Play With Kinetic Sand:

Playing with kinetic sand can be great for kids who love playing with dough. The soft and crumbly form of sand is addictive to press and squeeze.

What you need to make kinetic sand:

  • Slime
  • Play sand
  • Disposable utensils
  • Disposable Containers
  • Kitchen Sifter

How to make the kinetic dough:

  1. Put slime in the disposable container.
  2. Eliminate all the small stones and other objects in the sand (you can use a kitchen swifter).
  3.  Add the slime to the sand and thoroughly stir until they clump together.
  4.  Use your hands to mix until the kinetic sandball is no longer sticky.


  • Playing with Kinetic sand is an engaging hands-on activity that is fun.
  • It is also a great sensory tool that increases children’s coordination and flexibility.
  • Kinetic sand improves children’s fine motor skills as they cut, shape, mix, mold, and dig while playing.
  • Foster imagination and creativity in children.

13. Roller Skating:

Roller skating is a great sport to minimize screen time for your kids. The roller skaters wear boots or shoes with small wheels on the bottom and skate outdoors on paved areas such as sidewalks.

Roll skating is associated with numerous benefits, including the following:

It is a great exercise: Roll skating is a great workout that does not strain the joints.

It is an excellent group activity: No doubt children today spend too much time watching TV or video playing. Skating provides them an excellent break to stretch and bond with their friends. This improves their socialization and communication skills.

It is a perfect activity for any age:  You can engage in roller skating as an entire family, making it much more fun.

14. Rope Jumping:

Jumping rope is an awesome screen-free activity that keeps your child’s heart pumping and bones stronger. All you need in this activity is a rope and a good space for jumping.

Here are different types of rope jumping activities:

Single Skips: This is a one-person game where one holds a jump rope in length with hands at hip level. A person then rotates the wrists to swing the rope as they jump over it one foot at a time or with both feet together.

Partner jump: Two people use a single rope to jump simultaneously. They may stand next to each other while each holds the end of a somewhat longer rope or face each other as one operates the shorter rope.

Doubles Jump: In this activity, about three or more children come together to engage in rope jumping. They use a long jump rope with one child holding both the rope ends and swinging it as the other children hop or jump over it.

15. Balloon Toss:

This is an exciting great outdoor activity you can use to keep your kids away from the screen. All you require is a single balloon and an open field to play.

Give your kids a large balloon and ask them to blow it and take it on open ground. Play the game by passing the balloon from one child to another and trying to keep it in the air

 as much as possible.

Your child can learn socialization, cooperation, and competitiveness through balloon tossing. It can also teach them to better throw and catch objects. The activity also improves concentration, focus, and coordination abilities

16. Visit an Animal Shelter:

Running an animal shelter demands dedication, energy, and time. Animal shelters depend on community support and volunteers throughout the year. This activity can be most exciting for children who love animals.

Animal shelter volunteers have varying responsibilities, including the following: feeding animals, cleaning shelters, rehabilitating traumatized animals, and dog-walking. Volunteers can also control the increase of stray animals such as dogs and cats. Children can also run donations to help run the shelters.

Working in an animal shelter teaches your child how to work and benefit others. It improves family bonding and generates teamwork. Children also learn a lot about animals and develop a sense of purpose. Importantly, they get out of the house and away from the screens!

17. Play Card Games:

Playing card games can teach kids patience and sportsmanship and improve their logical reasoning skills. The game also helps them to develop a positive spirit and better communication and socialization skills.

Card games can also improve eye-hand coordination and agility. The action of holding cards can enhance kids’ motor skills. They can also build agility depending on the game’s complexity. This screen-free activity helps children develop cognitive and memorization skills that help them understand complex education concepts.

18. Play an Instrument:

Kids between the ages of 8 and 11 can play easy-to-instruments like a harmonica, piano, and Bongo. Besides keeping your child away from the screen, playing an instrument can benefit them in many ways. It can improve their self-esteem and confidence and cause them to learn to develop patience and dedication.

Playing a musical instrument can also train your child’s brain and improve their long-term memory. It can also boost their concentration and boost their creativity. Importantly, the activity can help your child relieve stress and become happier.

19. Pottery:

Working with allows kids to use their hands and work on their creativity. Pottery also provides a therapeutic effect that can keep your child engaged for a long.

You can take your child to a ceramic studio to experience what it is like to be a ceramic artist. Watching real-life clay-making, glaze processes, and firing kilns will be fun. Your child can also learn hand-building and wheel throwing, among other pottery activities.

20. Learn a new Language:

Kids can easily learn a new language since their brain is still developing.

By learning a new language, your child gets exposed to new cultures. This broadens their mind and boosts their brainpower. Learning a new language can also cause your child to think abstractly.

Learning a new language prepares your child for college’s language requirements. Your child also gets better career opportunities by learning new languages and cultures.

Before you go…

Did you enjoy this read? Did you find these activities helpful?

At Kids on the Yard, we believe that this beautiful world was created for children to desire, seek, create, make, pursue, and be heroes while experiencing a continuous journey to fulfillment. 

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