By Yaina Cantrell, guest writer
School is out for winter break.
You should be hearing the pitter patter of little feet, but… silence.
Where are the kids? Just follow the annoying sound effects and high-pitched cartoonish melodies of video games echoing through the house. They’re either stretched out on the couch glued to the TV playing video games or developing hunchbacks by leaning over their cell phones and tablets cruising social media, right?
You ask yourself, how can I lure the little munchkins away from their screens?
Well, I’ve got you covered!
Prepare to ignore the whining objections like “Awww, why do we have to do it now?” and “But I’m on level 6!” and get busy making fun happen!
Here’s a tip: Invite the friends that they play online games with, so they don’t feel like they’re missing anything. Not to mention, their parents will adore you for giving them a break. And be sure to ask them to return the favor with a play date at their house next time.
15 Fun Screen-Free Activities For Kids
1. Time to dust off those board games! Check out some top rated games for families on Amazon, including Say Anything and The Awkward Family Photos Movie Line Game. My niece and nephews forget all about their video games and social media when we play their favorite games like Jumanji, Mousetrap, and Family Feud.
2. Go camping! Pitch a tent in the living room in front of the fireplace or (weather permitting) out in the backyard. Toast marshmallows to make s’mores, sing campfire songs, and tell spooky ghost stories all night long! You can find reasonably priced indoor/outdoor tents on Amazon.
3. Go on a scavenger hunt! Make it holiday themed by including items like a Christmas stocking, tree ornaments, and a snow globe. Offer prizes along the way such as candy, toys, free passes from chores, or a chance to open one Christmas gift. Find free printable colorful maps and lists of items online.
4. Recreate MasterChef Junior! Head to the kitchen and pass out the aprons! Demonstrate a simple dish and recipe for your tiny master chefs to create within an hour. Or have them decorate cupcakes. Then, judge which one is the best, awarding 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc. prizes for everyone. Keep it simple with pre-made cookie dough, brownie mix, sandwiches, mini pizzas, mac & cheese, or tacos. (Worried about too many sweets or junk food? Secretly add pureed spinach to brownie mix and pureed cauliflower to mac & cheese. Don’t worry, they won’t be able to taste it. You could even award a bonus prize to the kid who can guess which veggie was added to the recipe. Hint: wait until after they eat it.)
5. Do people still make ice cream from snow? Well, they should! If snow is in the forecast, set out a clean bucket to collect fresh snow. All you need to add is vanilla and condensed milk!
6. Make holiday arts and crafts. The kids will love making their own wreaths to hang on their bedroom door. They can also make Christmas tree ornaments. These make lovely mementos to keep throughout the years. Bring out the markers and glitter to make holiday greeting cards too!
7. Strike a pose for a fun photo shoot! Use your imagination to come up with goofy costumes and props to create photos. Frame the best ones or stick them on greeting cards and tree ornaments.
8. Time to make memories! Break out the video camera and your director’s chair! Film a montage of the kids acting out their favorite movie scenes from classics like Home Alone or A Christmas Story or create your own short play. They could also make a music video singing holiday songs.
9. Science! Pick up a chemistry set or put together a homemade experiment.
10. Build a box fort! Kids go wild for boxes! Grab the biggest boxes you can find, and I promise you, this will provide hours of fun for the little ones. The older kids can play the invading monsters or sword-wielding giants!
11. Need to get out of the house? Plan a trip to your local children’s museum or zoo. They’re sure to have special exhibits and events for the holidays. You could also give back by donating old toys to a toy drive or by volunteering at your nearest family homeless shelter.
12. Zumba! Try to keep up with these kids! Lay out those yoga mats and have fun exercising together!
13. Make jewelry! Bejeweled trinkets make great gifts for the kids to give to family and friends.
14. Sing! Grab a mike and sing Karaoke style.
15. Nap time! Just kidding! Or am I?
I hope I have provided some inspiration to help you create a fun winter break for you and the kids in your life. Let us know how it’s going! Please feel free to share your ideas and photos. We’d love to see you in action!