Children of all ages need to spend time away from their screens. In fact, most researchers agree that children ages 5 to 18 should have no more than one or two hours of screentime each day. With screens invading nearly every part of our lives, finding screen-free activities can be a real challenge.
At ExploraToy, we know it’s easier to encourage children to spend time away from their screens when they have plenty of engaging screen-free activities to enjoy. The following is an age-by-age guide to screen-free activities.
Toddlers should be having as little screen time as possible. They should be spending, at most, half an hour to an hour each day with their screens. The following are four great screen-free activities for toddlers:
- Play Outside
Time outside has a lot of great benefits for toddlers. While they will still need to be supervised closely, time outside is a great alternative to screen time. Your child can run around, play with a ball, or enjoy outdoor play structures.
Age-appropriate puzzles are a great way for toddlers to enjoy time away from screens. ExploraToy’s Mix and Match Animals Knob Wooden Puzzle is a great puzzle for toddlers to enjoy, either during independent play or while playing with a parent.
ExploraToy also has several other great puzzles for toddlers to enjoy. Our Chunky Wooden Puzzles Set of 3 features farm animals, safari critters, and sea life.
- Play with Dough or Clay
Dough and clay are great for toddlers to enjoy. Since their hands are still developing, it’s important to encourage healthy development of fine motor skills. Playing with dough or clay is a great way for your child to work on these skills. Whether you buy premade clay or make your own from ingredients found at home, this is a screen-free activity that’s sure to keep your child engaged.
Preschoolers should have no more than thirty to sixty minutes of screen time each day. Since they’re constantly on the move, it can be difficult for parents to keep them entertained. The three activities listed for toddlers can also be enjoyed by preschoolers. The following are three more ideas to keep your preschooler engaged:
- Playing in the Garden
Playing in the garden is a great way for children to get away from their screens and connect with nature. ExploraToy’s Kids Gardening Tools Kit is great for children who love to play outside in the dirt. Your child can shovel and rake dirt and weeds.
If you spend time in the garden, encourage them to work alongside you. Not only will they enjoy time away from their screens, but they’ll enjoy connecting with you as you work.
Coloring is a great activity for children to enjoy during screen-free time. If your child has a favorite TV character, find a coloring book that features that character. This is a great way for them to enjoy their favorite TV characters away from the screen.
- Dolls and Stuffed Animals
Imaginative play is a good way for children to express themselves. Dolls and stuffed animals are great open-ended toys that allow your child to use their creativity to come up with play scenarios. If your child doesn’t know what to do, encourage them to make a zoo or plan a tea party. These activities can keep them entertained for hours.
Elementary school students should only be getting about one hour of screen time each day. After they’ve completed their homework, there are plenty of activities they can enjoy away from their screens. While they can enjoy most of the activities listed for toddlers and preschoolers, the following are three more activities they can enjoy during screen-free play:
Brainteasers like ExploraToy’s Wooden Brain Teaser are great for engaging elementary school children. Since these puzzles are small, they make good on-the-go activities for your child to enjoy while waiting at the doctor’s office or riding in the car.
Elementary aged children can play a number of games with siblings, friends, and parents. ExploraToy’s 4-in-a-row Connect Game is a fun and simple game your children can enjoy playing together. You can get the whole family involved by having a family game night together.
Once your elementary student is able to read, find age-appropriate books for them to read. When children are encouraged to read, they’re more likely to succeed in school. Let your child pick books their own books, since this will increase their interest in reading. If your child doesn’t like reading, find ways to make it fun (like setting up a reading nook in their bedroom).
Screen-free time is essential for your child’s development. Even though most people know why they should limit their child’s screentime, they struggle to come up with alternative activities. The nine activities listed above are just a few of the many great things your child can do when they’re away from their screens.
If you’re still looking for fun activities for your child’s screen-free time, check out ExploraToy’s full selection of toys. All our toys are high-quality and screenless, making them ideal for encouraging screen-free play. Shop our full selection here.