In today’s modern world, there is no better gift for your family than your presence. So this Valentine’s Day, think outside the box to spend some screen-free time with the ones you love. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no screen time before age two and less than two hours a day for kids older than two. There are many screen-free activities that kids can engage in by themselves or while bonding with their family or friends. And even better, screen-free activities are great for fine and large motor skill development as well as developing creativity and imagination. Read on to find some suggestions for screen-free activities for preschoolers and elementary-age kids.
- Have a dance party
- Have a tea party
- Paper dolls
- Make music using common household objects
- Magna-Tiles or similar
- Board games
- Candy Land is a great beginner game. My kids all began enjoying it around age 3.
- Card games like Go Fish and UNO are great for elementary-age kids.
- HighlightsTM magazine has some great ideas that can be found in print or online.
- Boxes and recycled materials have endless craft possibilities.
- Sensory activities
- Paint in a zip-top bag is fun for drawing letters or shapes in.
- Kinetic sand, cotton balls, and anything with texture
- Play-Doh (homemade or store-bought)
- Play outside
- Nature scavenger hunts and collecting nature for art are some favorites in my house.
- Check out a new park.
- Cook/bake together
- We are big on food traditions in my house and “Cookie Fridays” are high on my list of screen-free favorites.
- Take a fieldtrip
- My kids are always happy to check out a new place and the library is one of our favorite go-to places.
Consider making this Valentine’s Day screen-free and enjoy some extra snuggles while you can!
– Melissa Rettmann, M.S., PA-C, has a background in pediatrics and allergy. She is the mother of three young children and volunteers with the Parenting Program.