How long has it been since you last looked up from your phone? Are the kids in the same boat? Don’t worry, we’re all getting to the stage where we’re living off of memes and Tik Tok videos! But as a parent, you can start to worry about the amount of screen time your kids get day by day.
All in all, staying at home is getting a lot of us pretty bored, but what can you do to entertain your kids without firing up some games on the iPad? Even with lockdown lifting, it can still be quite worrying to take the kids out and about, so right now you’re stuck at home with little else to do but put the telly on! And when it comes to finding new things for the kids to do, you’ve been wracking your brains for a while and not come up with anything.
Well, we’ve got a few handy and fun suggestions below that will work just fine for sorting out the screen time issue in your home! Even if you just need an idea to jog your mind,
Make up characters together
Kids love to spend time in ‘different worlds’, so why not use their imagination to the full? Instead of letting them spend so much time with characters in games and TV shows, turn off the screens and get everyone together with a pencil and paper. Set them to come up with their own characters with questions like, ‘What do they look like?’ and ‘What do they do?’ and then use them to tell stories as a group!
Put on a puppet show
Once you’ve made up and drawn or painted your own characters, turn them into puppets and put on a show! Hang up a curtain above some cardboard boxes for a makeshift puppet theatre, and then get some old tea towels, googly eyes, and pipe cleaners out to make the puppets with. Don’t worry, hand puppets aren’t as intricate to make as you might think; check out this tutorial for some ideas.
Play dress up
If puppets aren’t for you, you can also grab a bunch of old clothes out of the wardrobe and play dress up with the kids. Rip up and sew some outfits together to make various costumes, such as a pirate, a queen, a superhero, or a doctor. And if the kids want to mix and match here, go ahead and let them!
Bake a cake
Once you’re done with making characters and turning them into reality, get into the kitchen together and turn the oven on - it’s time to bake a cake! A yummy treat that tastes good both before and after it’s been baked, and you can let your little ones get incredibly creative with the icing job too. Make sure you’ve got food colouring in the house, as well as sprinkles and other sugar decorations to really make this a fun task.
Get your own soft play equipment
This one will take a little bit of time to put together, but you can invest in some ‘soft play’ toys for the kids and build a fort out of them. Soft play is great for younger kids; it’s a good way for toddlers to develop their motor skills without hurting themselves, and if you only bring it out on special occasions, they’ll always be excited to take part!
Try a board game
If you’ve got a quiet night ahead, why not get a board game or two out? There are plenty of family-friendly games you can spend an hour or two on, and it’s a great way to spend time as a family. You’ll all be in the same room, without any screens in front of you, able to smile and laugh and even enjoy some petty disagreements together!
Start scrapbooking together
If your child is more of a creative mind or loves cutting and sticking paper and colouring things in, you can try starting a scrapbook together. Get a plain sketchbook, get together some printed pictures, old tickets, receipts, and some scissors and glue, and you and your child can walk down memory lane together. Get them to draw out their memories to be stuck alongside the physical reminders.
Get your hands dirty in the garden
And while you’re finding it hard to get outside of the house, if you’ve still got a garden to go out into, get the kids out there and start digging around. Not only can you get them to plant their own little vegetable patches, but you can also bury exciting items for them to find, sort of like a scavenger hunt. Get some child-size trowels, hide some sweet treats or little toys, and on a sunny day set them free to dig up the garden. They may even get rid of some weeds for you!
If you’re worried about the use of screens in your home, and you want the kids to focus on something else, you can make lots of your own fun even just in the living room. If you’ve got the time, try out the ideas above and see what you think!