As someone who works from home with two small children, I can tell you that the TV-struggle is real, and I know you don’t need to be a work-from-home/stay-at-home parent to realize that it’s a struggle indeed. Screen time overload is an easy trap to fall into. You have a meeting to hop on to or prepare for, you need to cook dinner, you need to make a couple phone calls, you need to do a million other things and your kids are on summer break. It’s easy to use the TV or tablet for “just 15 minutes.” How often do those 15 minutes turn into an hour? In the blink of an eye!
I’ve really made a serious effort to squash and conquer the screen-time demon. Some days are amazing. Everyone is happy and playing and smiling…I’m still getting work done and still finding time to play with them instead of pulling my hair out with mommy-guilt. Other days, though, if Netflix asks me if my kids are still watching one more time, I come close to throwing my laptop through the TV. (Then how would you get wonderfully curated lists?!?)
All that being said, I’ve put together this list for you based on past personal experience along with new-to-me ideas I plan to try out this week and when they get a bit older.
Are you ready to see how you can spark imagination and keep them busy without feeling guilty (or throwing your laptop at the TV)? I’ve got you covered! Here are 25 Guilt-Free “Busy” Activities Your Kids Can Do Besides TV.
Shaving cream table
This is a fun sensory activity that will clean your table at the same time. Set up is simple, too; all you need to do is put a generous plop of shaving cream in front of your kid(s) and let them go to town “painting.” It’s great sensory play, too. You might just want to throw down some towels under the table in case the mess spills over. For clean up, just wipe your table down a few times.
Number & letter matching
At first, you’ll need to demonstrate, but once your child(ren) know the basics, they can practice for a good 10-15 minutes. Divide your paper into boxes and in each box, put one letter or number. Using stickers, kids match the letters and numbers. Next time you see number and letter stickers on sale or in the dollar section, make sure to snatch them up!
This is perfect for our little-Littles. Take a couple Ziploc bags and fill them with differently shaped and colored objects. Seal the bags with duct-tape and lay them in front of your baby. This is a good tummy-time activity.
Rainbow dot lineup
With different colors, draw a rainbow and have your kid(s) use those colored dots to line them up on your drawing. You can also switch it up a bit by having them “trace” their names or other pictures. Peeling off stickers is a great motor skill activity. This picture shows the paper on the wall, but you can also do it at the table.
Pipe cleaners and cut up straw pieces in a mess-containing bin. Put the bin in front of them and let them go to town. It’s that easy, and the Littles will love it.