Easy Screenless Ideas


I am a nerd. But you probably already know that. I’d rather read medical journals and scientific research than catch up on celebrity gossip. The research that is springing up like weeds in my garden: too much screen time damages kids.

I know. Not what you wanted to read in your inbox today.

Low Self-esteem. Depression. Trouble sleeping. Higher risk of developing type II diabetes, asthma, and obesity. Anxiety. Attention Disorders.

I usually don’t think twice before tuning into WordGirl on PBS. I just think vocabulary development, not development of depression.

These studies are not pointing fingers at screens. They aren’t pointing fingers at adults either. They are illuminating the fact that excessive screen time in children and teens causes a host of problems both obvious and less obvious.

The average amount of time that our kids spend in front of a screen is five to seven hours (sometimes even higher for toddlers and preschoolers.)

The recommended time is two hours.

If you’ve spent enough time with kids, you know there is a distinct difference between kids who know how to actually play and ones who are paralyzed in the absence of a screen.

I have this grim picture in my mind’s eye of a generation of kids who only consume content and don’t create.

But grim isn’t my style.

Here’s the first round up of stellar screenless activities. Don’t forget to share your ideas, too. I’d love to know what you do at home to limit screen time and your favorite low- or no-prep activities. I need to crank back my family’s screen time, too.

75-tv-free-toddler-activitiesAnyone have toddlers? 75 ideas from No Time for Flash Cards

finish collageBudding artists? This is an easy activity I pinned ages ago from the ArtMommie Blog. Now we’ll hopefully maybe actually do it.

build-an-upcycled-inventors-boxDIY Upcycled Inventors Box from Modern Parents Messy Kids. This is truly awesome.

Water-Play-512x1024Creative water play ideas from Fantastic Fun & Learning.

Add your links in the comments or share a pin on the Don’t Panic Mom Facebook Page.

As usual, I’ve provided you with some further reading. Ironically, it will cause you to have more screen time as you read them.

Gray Matters: Too Much Screen Time Damages the Brain from Psychology Today

Does Too Much Screen Time Make Kids Sick? from Psychology Today

Ideas from the Let’s Move! Campaign

Overload of screen time ‘causes depression in children’ from the Independent

5 Replies to “Easy Screenless Ideas”

  1. Scary stats, Alli; 5-7 hours, seriously? I limit K to one and it’s PBS, though a rough day calls for a Disney movie treat. We’re stocked up on bikes, roller skates and craft supplies so there is always something to do. The water table and a sprinkler is always a hit too!

    1. Your house sounds like a blast! What is her favorite no or low prep activity?

  2. There are some wonderful ideas in your list of activities. My kids 3 and 4 like to listen to Pandora with me and dance around the kitchen while we cook dinner.

  3. Great ideas! Its a constant battle with my kids- they know the rules, know how much they can watch but I still have to say No all day long. We do the art activity with the magazine cut outs- I love that one.

  4. We do a lot of these currently but there are a few that I definitely am going to try out! Great post!

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