14 Activities for Children That Don't Include Television

Looking for some ideas for your children that don't include television? Here's a list to get you started.

While the TV in moderation isn't inherently bad. Watching it excessively can have it's downfalls, for sure. And what about those times when we don't have access to a television? Maybe the power is out or the repair man had to take your TV for a few days? Or maybe you're camping--oh wait, most people have TV's in their campers these days. 

But wouldn't it be nice to just shut it down for a while to allow our brains to breathe a bit? Sometimes we are so overstimulated, we don't know what to do with ourselves when the TV is not available to us. Believe me, I am completely guilty of this and experienced such a sensation last night. 

While this list is far from exhaustive, it will point you in the right direction and get you started.  Some of these require you spending time with your children while others are more independent.

14 Ways to Engage With Your Children 

1. Bake

My children love to bake. I typically allow them to do so if they agree to clean up their own mess. Sometimes I'll stand close by to supervise while other times an older child will assist. Baking is a great way to learn measurement and cooking skills!

2. Board/Card Games

How about a good, old-fashioned game of Clue (Clue Jr.), Connect Four, or Brain Quest? Or Go Fish, Skip-Bo, Uno? Games are fun and many of them teach strategy skills. 

3. Play-Doh

I love Play-Doh, and so do my children!! It's inexpensive and there are endless creative ways to use it! As long as I keep it stocked, my children will use it. You could also make your own by doing a quick search on Pinterest for some tried-and-true recipes!

4. Go to the Park or For a Walk

If the weather is favorable, you could pack a picnic, a frisbee, a jump rope or other outdoor toys and make a day of it! But even just an hour or two away will be enough for a dose of fresh air and worked muscles.

5. Write a letter

If the weather isn't so favorable, perhaps your older children could write a letter to a friend or relative out of state. There are so many benefits to this simple act. They will practice their letter writing skills (something that's a bit of a lost art today with email), while letting a loved one know they are thinking of them. A younger child could draw a picture and dictate a letter that you write out for them. What a wonderful way to show someone they care!

6. Draw/color/paint

I admit, I'm not quick to allow paint. It makes a HUGE mess and can just feel too overwhelming most days. But drawing or coloring are often big hits around here. Especially if there are new {quality} colored pencils, markers, or crayons to do it with. Unfortunately, cheap colored pencils or markers don't make for pleasant drawing or coloring. It can be frustrating to be drawing and the pencil lead constantly breaks. Crayola is a good way to go! If you have a budding artist and want to take it up a notch, go with Prismacolor

7. Clean

You may not need to utilize this idea unless there's a lot of whining and complaining going on. But I encourage you not to be afraid to have your children help you clean the house regularly. It doesn't have to be the whole house, all the time. But maybe washing windows one day and cleaning out the bathroom sink another day. These little tasks go a long way--not only in keeping your house clean, but also in training your children how to clean. A trait they will need before they eventually move out. Trust me, you don't want to wait until they are teenagers for this. By then, it's nearly too late. Start them young. 

christinslade_14 Activities for Children That Don't Include Television


8. Read Together

Grab a book and read aloud! These are some of our best times together! We've read missionary stories, literature books, historical fiction, sci-fi, and more! It's a great opportunity for enjoying the unfolding of a story with our own imaginations. You can even allow your children to draw, color, or play with Legos while you read. As long as they are quiet. 

9. Read the Bible

I suppose it should go without saying, but it's always a good time to read the Bible! You can read to your younger children from a great children's Bible 

10. Build a Fort

Kids LOVE to build forts and then play or read inside of them. We have Fort Magic which allows for some pretty amazing creations. But sometimes, they are just as content to use their bunk beds or a couch!

11. Listen to an audiobook

Maybe you have a child who doesn't love to read. You can borrow books on CD from the library or buy audio books for them to listen to. My children have enjoyed hours of listening to The Chronicles of Narnia, Adventures in Odyssey, The Bridge to Terabithia and more! 

12. Have a dance party!

If you have Just Dance, you can utilize that and have a dance-off. If not, that's okay, too!! Just put on some music and have some fun! This is especially great on a cold or rainy day! It helps to keep those weather blues away. 

13. Remember all those toys they have?

I often remind my children they have a basement full of toys when they come to me saying they are bored or have nothing to do. I think having too many toys can actually be a hinderance to children's creative play.

14. Let them be bored.

OK seriously, this isn't as bad as it sounds. It's actually good for children to be bored. It helps them develop their own imagination and creativity.

What ideas do you have for activities outside the television? Share your ideas in the comments!