11 Screen-Free Activities to Keep Kids Busy (And Out of Your Hair!)


Military Kid Activities

When school lets out for summer, every mom is faced with the challenge of keeping her kids occupied. All. Summer. Long. Even when this is a fun time that you enjoy with your kids, it can be exhausting. That makes it tempting to stick iPads in their hands and take a break.

Unfortunately, even for older kids, excessive screen time is not good for development. So for those moments when the screen time has been used for the day and you need a break, here are some of our favorite ideas to keep the kids busy and out of your hair. Better yet, independent play can have a number of benefits for kids. From increased confidence and improved problem-solving abilities, it’s actually a good thing for kids to play on their own sometimes.

Let Them Build a Fort

Give your kids a list of materials they’re allowed to use and tell them where to get them from (unless you want to remake all the beds tonight). Sheets from the linen closet and couch cushions or kitchen chairs are all great options. After building a fort, your child may not want to leave for a while!

Perler Beads

For children who won’t be tempted to swallow small objects, creating designs with Perler beads will keep them occupied for hours. They create designs on small boards, and then you iron the beads with special paper so that they melt together permanently. Seriously, these are always a huge hit!

Hatch Tadpoles

Okay, so this requires some equipment and could be a little messy. But you wouldn’t believe how many hours children can spend watching tadpoles develop and swim around in some pond water. Find a cheap fish tank and take a field trip to a creek or buy this kit (you’ll have to redeem the code to have your tadpole sent directly to you from the manufacturer…you know…so it’s alive by the time it arrives). Once you show your kids what the tadpoles will turn into, they’ll be mystified and excited all at once.