No matter what the age, today’s kids love technology. Parents today are left to balance the recommended screen time for kids (2 hours for teenagers, less than 2 hours for younger children, and no screen time for children under 2 years old) with the rest of the time in the day. But never fear! Here are 5 fun ways to keep your kids happy and busy without screens. Some of these are great ideas for the car, when running errands, or when you need to cook dinner, but some of them are meant for the family to enjoy together.
Old-School Games and Songs
These are probably childhood favorites of yours, but they’re still fun! London Bride, Duck Duck Goose, Simon Says, and Head Shoulders Knees and Toes will get them active, get them laughing, and can be useful for hand-eye coordination and language development.
This is especially good when out shopping, but can be used while little ones are in the kitchen with you while making lunch or dinner. Call out items or colors or shapes and have them look for them. You can even make it a game…set a timer and see how many things that can find before the bell goes off. This one can be a wonderful way to fit in some “teachable” moments without seeming overly educational.
Good Old Pen and Pencil
Give them a special notebook and a fun pen or pencil or marker and have them solve clues by drawing pictures (like Blue’s Clues) or start a picture and have them finish it. You can find some examples online or just scribble and hand it over and see what they come up with. You could even make or print off a bunch and then when you need to get something done – hand a few over at once. You could even have them scribble something for you!
Puzzles and Board Games
Obvious choices, maybe…but in this day of high technology we sometimes forget about the simple pleasure of putting a puzzle together as a family or playing a board game – even cards! Or what about charades? Kids are natural actors and would probably have a blast trying to act out simple things or favorite movies and TV shows. As a reward, you could even tie this into family movie night – and the winner gets to pick the movie!
Use Your Hands
Get dirty and make something with clay or play dough, paint a picture, build something out of recyclable materials, or find things around the house that can be used to make music and create a new song or re-write lyrics to an old favorite to include things your child loves – like Minecraft or Lego.
While many of these actives do have educational merits, the key is to have fun with your child and family. Playing together shouldn’t be a chore or something you feel pressure to do – enjoy the time you spend with your child and they’ll enjoy spending time with you too.
Mesa Pediatric Urgent Care and Gilbert Pediatric Urgent Care
It can be scary anytime your child is sick, but rest assured that AllKids Urgent Care is here to help guide you every step of the way with a caring and knowledgeable pediatric staff. We help you keep your kids healthy by offering flu shots, physicals, and dealing with sports injuries. Both our Gilbert Pediatric Urgent Care and our Mesa Pediatric Urgent Care are open every day, from noon to 10 PM no appointment is necessary, just stop in and start your child on the road back to health!