I’ve found myself increasingly turning to my phone or the TV to entertain my one year old son when he seems to be bored. To avoid doing this, I’ve been thinking about what activities can I do with him that are screen free?
My son loves books! My wife and I have made an effort since he was born to read books to him. Before he learned to walk he would contently sit in our laps for almost an hour straight looking at the pictures in the books we read to him. Reading books to children helps familiarize them to sounds, words, language and to the value of books. It is conducive to stimulating imagination, curiosity, and children that are read to are more likely to develop listening skills which is important in a school/classroom environment. All this in essence helps with brain development.
My son loves being outside! He will often come up to me or my wife, grab our fingers and pull us to the door so he can go outside. Studies show that children who play outside are smarter, happier, more attentive, and less anxious than children who play indoors. Some ideas for playing outside are going for neighborhood walks in a stroller, setting up a water table in the backyard to splash in, and going hiking in nature.
Activities for Older Children
Reading books and playing outside are great non-screen activities for my one year. Screen Free activities that older children may find enjoyable are treasure hunts or playing with play-dough.
To do this, simply use a few dollar bills and hide them in the house. Don’t hide them too well since this can end up being frustrating. Before they start searching for the dollar bills tell them once they find the money you will take them to the store where they can buy whatever they want. Children will love the challenge and excitement of the hunt and then will look forward to the treats they can buy at the store.
Another activity for older children is play-dough. Playing with play-dough encourages creativity and making play-dough is easy. Here is what you will need:
- 2 cups of white flour
- 2 cups of warm water
- 1 cup of table salt
- 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 1 tablespoon
Mix all the ingredients together and then stir over low heat on the stove until the dough begins to thicken. Once the dough begins to resemble thick bread dough remove from heat and let cool. Once the play-dough has cooled you can add a couple of drops of food coloring to make it more fun. Let your child’s imagination go crazy with the play-dough and encourage him to create whatever he wants.