Technology is one of those “can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em” things, a double-edged sword for many of us. While technology has its place and a large list of benefits, taking a break is always good. When school is out, it’s easy to get lost in an endless cycle of video games and YouTube channel surfing. Limit the screen time brain drain by discovering fun ways to keep kids entertained without electronics!
Paper Craft Ideas
Whether you’re using construction paper, recycled printer paper, or lined notebook paper, the amount of fun you can create with paper is endless! The best part about paper crafts? The cost is zero (or very minimal).
Get creative with your paper airplane designs! Fold N Fly is a website dedicated to teaching paper airplane design. Are you going to design your paper airplane for distance or air time?
Origami can provide hours (and hours!) of entertainment for kids of all ages. You can create everything from paper cranes to gift boxes, all out of squares of paper. Amazing!
Take your time working through this list of paper crafts with your kids, and you’ll have an art collection in no time.
Getting creative in the kitchen is one thing most kids enjoy. I can’t find many drawbacks to teaching kids to cook, except maybe the mess! Teaching them to clean up after themselves as they move through the cooking process will save everyone a lot of headache.
Start small, teaching about things like why the oven needs to be preheated, why we don’t usually cook on the highest setting, the importance of measuring while baking (and how you can “eyeball” while cooking), and substitutions in case you’re missing an ingredient. It’s also important to teach kitchen safety, and how to put out a grease fire.
Anything can be educational, but science experiments get kids excited in ways other learning activities don’t. They’re hands on, and children are easily able to use their reasoning skills. Bonus: if you do a science experiment that involves growing food, you can use it for your cooking fun.
Here are a few simple, fun, and low-cost ideas to get you started:
Draw Your Family Tree
With DNA testing sites like 23andMe and Ancestry growing in popularity, more and more people are learning their history. A family tree can be as little or as big as you’d like. Trace your family’s history back to its origins, or keep it simple by drawing only your immediate family. Learning about your ancestry can also open doors to more educational activities and history projects.
Find Pen Pals
Even though it may seem the art of letter writing is dying, many pen pal websites like Swap Bot have been around for years and are still thriving. Obviously there are safety rules you’ll need to follow before writing to strangers, but pen pals are beneficial in many ways! They can help little ones practice writing, and older kids love sending stickers, postcards, and other small items. Getting mail is so much fun!
Learn to Play an Instrument
Learning to play an instrument is rarely easy, but the reward is great! This one requires books if you’re staying completely off of electronics, but if you’re open to using YouTube as a supplemental learning tool, I highly recommend it. Affordable used instruments are available for purchase at most music stores, or you may be able to find a decent deal on eBay (just make sure they have good ratings before buying!). Learning to play a new instrument is a challenge that’s perfect for summer break.
Enjoy Local Events
If you are fortunate enough to live in a town with kid-friendly events, use them to fill your calendar and keep the kids busy year round. Look for reading groups at your local library, and check your local Chamber of Commerce for events such as hot air balloon festivals, art walks, and more.
What do you do to keep your kids entertained without electronics? Let me know in the comments below!
P.S. Check out my Vacation Ideas for Families on a Budget while you’re here!