50 screen-free activities for kids to do over summer break, indoors and out (#1 - #9). Post 1 of 5.


This is a series of 5 posts. We will post each Monday in August.


1. Read a book. I know, it’s an obvious screen-free summer activity for kids. So start with our lists of the best children’s books of 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, and 2016, because there are some page-turning, can’t-put-them-down books on these lists for kids of all ages. Parents, too, in fact.

Then, download this free, diverse summer reading challenge to give your kids a framework for choosing books, and pick your own book from our favorite books for moms so you can read alongside them, too.

Stash new books all together in a woven basket with some thin blankets, and your portable “summer reading” station is ready to go to the sofa the tent, or the backyard for your daily reading time.

2. Play a board game. Get the whole family together to play one of our favorite card games, favorite educational games or group board games together.

Or, give yourself a break and hand the kids a game older and younger siblings can play together. We even have some great picks specifically for board games for older kids, because you can only play Candyland so many times.

3. Learn a new skill. What fun hobby has your kid wanted to learn lately? How to bend a soccer ball into the corner of the goal? How to create gorgeous hand-lettered chalk board art — or just learn cursive? How to braid hair? How to decorate a perfect cupcake? How to say “hello” in ten languages? How to tie-dye? How to make a new pattern of friendship bracelets?

Maybe even pull out the Rainbow Loom and dust it off for some retro fun.

4. Take a walk. The ultimate screen-free activity for kids? Head down to the corner for an ice cream, hang in the local playground, or hit a nature trail near your house. Enjoy some fresh air and take time to notice things you haven’t seen before. Just get out for a bit, and an adventure of some kind often manages to ensue.

5. Learn a new language. Check out some Pimsleur or Rosetta Stone audio CDs at the library, and listen to them while you color or work on a puzzle. Or, if you’re willing to give them a little educational screen time, try DuoLingo or TinyCards. It’s amazing how fast kids pick up new languages.

6. Make a Science Journal. Our kids kind of geeked out over this DIY science journal project we put together on Cool Mom Tech a while back — complete with tons of fun free printable science stickers for decorating it and making it their own.

We have tons of tips on how to get started and how to use it over on the post. (You can find the Moleskin journal we used from Amazon or at a local bookshop.)

7. Draw. If you want to entice your kids with more than blank paper and crayons, we’ve found so many creative activity books our kids adore. My personal favorite is DoodleLit, with pages dedicated great works of literature. Or if you’ve got a good printer at home (Kate absolutely swears by her Epson EcoTank printer that literally prints thousands of pages before running out of ink), you can print any of the incredible coloring pages at Color Our Collections from top libraries and museums.

Then again, you could cover your entire wall with a Keith Haring coloring page they can work on all summer long.

8. Learn to cook a meal. Even very young kids can help with basic tasks in the kitchen — in fact, check out this super helpful post about what kitchen skills kids can achieve by age. Since kids around 9 are capable of preparing a simple meal on their own, get them hooked up with a fun cookbook or cooking subscription kit.

Be sure to give them tons of credit when dinner time rolls around. You might just spark a new passion for them…and one major task off your plate (ha) each day!

9. Clean out your closets, and make some cash. We’ve become hooked on online consignment sites like Poshmark and The Real Real, and they’re not just for adults. Task your tweens and teens with cleaning out their own closets and making a pile of anything in good condition they no longer need or want.

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