Screen-Free Activities for Kids : Experiment

If you're trying to stay away from screens for a while, check out these ideas and then turn off the device to have some physical fun.

Sheltering in place (while perhaps working from home with kids out of school/daycare) can lead to a lot of screen time. Don't feel guilty about that; these are difficult times and parents need to do what they need to do. Let us help! We're posting suggestions each day this week for how to get away from the screens for a little while.

Children, especially under age 5 or so, learn SO much from the world around them. As they get older, you can add some formal structure to everyday exploration, such as first making a hypothesis and then observing closely to see what happens. Try something slightly different, and record the results. You can get as detailed as your child wants to, and use digital technology only when you choose. It's so rewarding seeing them learn! 


  • Start sprouting some beans in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel. Once they're several days along, you can plant them in a cup of dirt or outside, or even eat them right away. Water regularly and take notes about what's happening.
  • Make cookies, fruit salad, or a snack together. Have a birthday coming up? Maybe you can bake a cake or another favorite food. If you use a recipe, kids can practice reading instructions, planning ahead, and measuring ingredients. How did people find recipes or learn how to cook before the Internet? Talk about the different kinds of food and how they help our bodies do important things. If you are using substitutes or different foods during self-isolation than you might typically, explain why.
  • Try regrowing an onion, celery, or lettuce from one you have in the kitchen. (These go much more quickly than an avocado pit!) Think about where and how you can plant it if you're successful. What do plants need to grow? What do humans and other animals need?
  • Fill a sensory bin with sand, gravel, rice, or shaving cream. Pour material from one cup to another. Bury small toys. Squish material between your fingers and try to make it into shapes. You can do the same with water -- or just enjoy at bathtime!

Got an experiment to suggest? Share it with us in the comments.