50 Screen-Free Activities You Can Do with Your Family


Unplugging for a week:  Crazy or possible?!

How many of you have had that day, weekend or week when you ask yourself “what else can the kids do?”  Not only for their sanity but for yours too!

We all want the same things for our kids:  to stay as active as possible, to eat as healthy as possible, and to keep their brains as alive as possible.  Sure we all love to sit and watch a favorite TV show or movie, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  It’s those days of multiple hours of TV watching or being on an electronic device that we should be concerned about.  Yes I know at times having some of those devices have saved the day, but can we spend our time more wisely?

The week of May 4 – 10 is National Screen Free Week.  I challenge you, and myself, to keep the family from turning on any electronics during that week.  That includes everything from the TV and tablets, the phones and portable DVD players, to computers and game systems.  Can you be electronic free for a week?  Remember, there used to be a time without all these electronics.  Call me crazy, but I think it’s possible and you’ll find out just how much fun you can have with your family and create lasting memories too!

So what else can the kids do both by themselves and with you?  Below is a list of 50 things that you can choose to do instead of turning on the TV or any other electronics.

  1. Create a fort with chairs and blankets football-Hunter-169x300
  2. Read a book together
  3. Play charades
  4. Go for a walk as a family
  5. Create a story with each person saying a line
  6. Sing some songs
  7. Dance around the room/house
  8. Tell the kids silly stories of you as a child
  9. Get the cards out and play a game
  10. Plant a garden
  11. Get in the kitchen and bake something – all ages can help do something!
  12. Catch lightning bugs (or Fireflies as you may call them)
  13. Build a castle with LEGOSs
  14. Teach your kids how to play solitaire with a deck of cards
  15. Write a poem
  16. Paint a picture of what you see outside your front window
  17. Go to the park
  18. Draw a picture of the family pet(s)pet-jet-300x168
  19. Build a tower out of marshmallows and toothpicks
  20. Paint each other’s nails
  21. Take a bike ride as a family
  22. Run or walk a local race together
  23. Write a letter and send it to a family member
  24. Go rock climbing
  25. Head to a waterpark (indoor if it’s chilly out)
  26. Team up to clean/organize a part of the house
  27. Learn to play Sudoku
  28. Go roller skating
  29. Have siblings race to make their beds and clean up their toys
  30. Play a sport such as soccer or footballfamily-race-225x300
  31. Play Tic-Tac-Toe with chalk on the driveway
  32. Run through the sprinklers
  33. Find a local library
  34. Go visit a relative/friend
  35. Take time to play with your pet(s)
  36. Teach your child how to sew
  37. Get on the floor and play with dolls/cars/etc.
  38. Go outside and see who can find the coolest bug
  39. Make a stepping stone for the walkway
  40. Visit the animals at the zoo
  41. Put together a puzzle
  42. Create a construction paper chain that you can hang in the house
  43. Help a neighbor with a chore
  44. Spring clean the house – many hands make light work!
  45. Watch your kids perform a play
  46. Create a family tree
  47. Watch the clouds go by and see what shapes you can find
  48. Go through old family photos (remember the kind we used to have developed!)four-leaf-clover-150x150
  49. Make door hangers for each child’s room
  50. Look for 4-leaf clovers in the yard

Good luck and have fun unplugging!

Learn more about National Screen-Free Week here.


About Author

Lisa Hinkle

Assistant Manager, Recreation & Fitness Center

Lisa has been in the fitness industry for over 20 years, doing everything from teaching group exercise to performing fitness tests on factory line workers in car assembly plants. She received her Master’s in Exercise Physiology and Health Promotion from Miami University in Oxford, OH. After working in a hospital-based fitness facility in South Bend, Indiana, a job at Duke University’s Center for Living brought her here to North Carolina. Lisa has been with SAS for almost 13 years and is currently the Assistant Manager at the Recreation & Fitness Center. She loves showing people that exercise can be fun and should be a part of their daily lives. Lisa stays active with her wonderful husband and middle school son through soccer and running races together. She is also a Certified Exercise Physiologist through the American College of Sports Medicine, a certified rehabilitation specialist through the National Endurance Sports Trainers Association, and a certified group exercise and Pilates instructor.

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