We have all been there (or for the lucky ones, have witnessed it). You are sitting in a restaurant or in a quiet waiting room and your child starts wiggling in their seats, running around, or having a full blown meltdown! The only thing to quiet them down it seems is to put your phone or an iPad in front of them.
And then it’s all great right? They are quiet and occupied and all is well in the world. Except now you have the screen zombie. They are so consumed in the technology that they hardly notice anything around them.
So if you want to avoid the tech zombie or just want to see your child engaged in something else every now and then, here are our five favorite activities that your child can do instead of screen time.
Puzzles are a great way to keep your child busy either at home or in public. They are great for building memory, spatial awareness, problem solving skills, and our favorite, patience! An extra plus is that puzzles are appropriate at any age and it is something that your child can do independently or something that you can enjoy completing as a family.
What is better than getting lost in a great book? We strongly believe that fostering the love of reading at a young age is the best way to encourage your child to be a self-learner. At home, we let our children choose their own books so they feel intrinsically motivated to read.
3. Activity Books
This can be something like tracing and cutting activities for your toddlers all the way to crossword puzzles and Soduko for your older kids and teens. I have vivid memories of my father carrying word search books and crossword puzzles with him everywhere he went and have always been grateful to mindlessly engage in one of these activities when I am bored myself! For young children, coloring books are a great way to improve color recognition, promote hand eye coordination, and creativity. In older children and teens, it helps reduce anxiety and is a form of self-expression.
4. Arts and Crafts
Arts and Crafts is another great activity that you can either set your child up to do independently or make it a family project for everyone to enjoy! All you need is a craft kit:
- crayons/markers/colored pencils
- Saved household items (bottle caps, toilet paper rolls, egg cartons, etc.)
This can also be easily made for on the go! Put some of these things in a Ziploc bag and you have a craft kit to go!
This has got to be one of our favorites. Building is key for developing those fine motor skills for our little ones building with blocks and also for creativity and engineering for our older ones working with legos. At our house, we make sure to set aside time for building so that our blocks and legos don’t get forgotten about in the back of the toy bin.