50 screen-free activities for kids to do over summer break, indoors and out (#30 - #39). Post 4 of 5


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


30. Practice coding with screen-free toys. There are tons of screen-free ways to learn coding techniques. My kids love their Cubetto robot, which teaches them coding sequencing without a screen.

Or, for a much more affordable option, snag a copy of the board game Robot Turtles. It also teaches the concepts of BASIC coding language to kids as young as four.

31. Try food crafts. You can turn snack time into craft time with the fun Jell-O Play packs that you might not have noticed in your supermarket, which turn Jell-O snacks into fun LEGO-like structures.

I also love this idea for edible grape sculptures (above) I found over at Artful Parent. Let it be free play, or turn it into a competition for the highest, most creative, or coolest building.

32. Visit outer space in your own home or backyard. Turn your living room into NASA’s launch pad with this fun space play tent – a huge discount right now! I love that it just pops up when my kids are ready to play, and I can fold it down and stash it away when they’re done.

Then again, my kids turned a huge, empty Amazon box from a delivery into their own space shuttle by decorating it with grids full of buttons and screens, and they played with it it in our living room for weeks.

33. Play jacks. When did kids stop learning how to play jacks? It’s still fun for kids of all ages, low-tech though it may be. Once they master that, pull out the marbles.

34. Camp out…or, in. Check out our tips for your first backyard campout with the kids. Or, if they’re not quite ready for that then bring your sleeping bags to the living room, tell silly stories with a flashlight in the dark, and make s’mores in the fireplace (or microwave). Or hey, just have the kids build a pillow fort for daytime hangouts, which is the perfect screen free activity for kids on rainy days.

35. Host a backyard Olympics. Set up an obstacle course, timed relays, a long jump, a Frisbee Golf course — you name it. Or go old school with three-legged races. Last summer we shared lots of fun outdoor water play ideas, but my favorite was the water gun cup race. All you need is string and a plastic cup, and a water gun, of course.

36. Learn some photography skills. I recently dug an old DSLR camera that never gets used out of our closet the other day. I was about to sell it, then realized this, or even an old point and shoot, would be great for the kids to use to practice their photography skills.

You can read our tips on how to take great pictures, then send the kids outside with an assignment to take 20 creative shots. I can’t wait to see what mine will come up with.

37. Go swing. We’ve found some awesome swings this summer that will convert a tired swing set or even a tree into a unicorn habitat, a pirate’s secret lair, or your new favorite reading nook.

38. Pretend you’re a fashion designer or play salon. Pull your vintage Fashion Plates game out of the attic (or snag this new Melissa & Doug version), and let your kids design their favorite outfits.

For tweens and older, may I recommend our post on customizing your own denim jacket or sneakers? Because these metallic-splatter-paint jackets are amazing.

You can also get out the hair brushes, old makeup, and kid-friendly nail polish (I’d recommend this brand that washes off with water, because messes) and give your kids free reign to play. Just, maybe put something over the carpet first. PS boys love colorful toenails too!

39. Journal. We have covered so many fantastic journals for kids over the years, for every age, whether they’re keeping a diary, making a natural journal, or documenting their summer travels — if only to the ice cream truck and back.




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