Screen-Free Fun: Creative Alternatives to Screen Time for Preschoolers

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Screen-Free Fun: Creative Alternatives to Screen Time for Preschoolers

alternatives to screen time for preschoolers

Parents are busier than ever these days. Work, caring for others, chores, and other responsibilities can eat up all of your time. Switching on a screen to give yourself a break can be tempting.

Long summer breaks, weekends, and no-school days can also tap a parent’s creative resources. Many children get a lot more screen time than usual when school is not in session.

However, most medical and mental health experts say that an increase in screen time can lead to bigger problems down the road, including behavioral issues and shortened attention spans.

Your child’s preschool years are a unique time for growth and development. Young kids need to be active, creative, and engaged. Finding fun alternatives that require zero screen time can help your child develop essential skills they’ll need in school and life.

This guide will detail many preschool activities that can combat excessive screen time. Reach out to the team of educators at Little Sunshine Preschool to learn more or to explore our early learning programs.

Screen-Free Activities for Kids and Parents

If you find yourself scratching your head trying to think up fun, screen-free activities during long summer breaks or over the weekend, you are not alone. Fortunately, you can do many fun, engaging things with your child that do not involve a TV, phone, or tablet.

Here are some great ways to have screen-free fun with your child.

Cook together

Pull out a stack of cookbooks or browse for recipes online. Have your child choose a yummy-looking meal or treat and head to the kitchen. Your child will love helping you measure and mix. When your creation is finished, enjoy it together.

Science experiments

Simple science experiments can lead to big fun and lots of learning. Stick to classics such as a baking soda and vinegar volcano, or branch out into something more complex like growing rock candy. There are plenty of easy, accessible preschool science experiments online. Find your favorite and get started!

Nature walks

Explore a local park or simply stroll around your neighborhood. Watch for signs of changing seasons or notice the weather. Give your child a bag or container to collect interesting leaves, sticks, stones, seeds, and more. When you get home, have your child draw pictures of what they found.

Read a “big book”

Preschoolers often enjoy longer, more complex stories than you might expect. Pull out a chapter book for young children and read together. Some great books for young children include The Magic Treehouse series and anything by Roald Dahl.

Board and card games

Simple games are a fun way to practice simple math and communication skills. Uno, Candy Land, Sneaky Snacky Squirrel, and others are fun for children of all ages, including preschoolers.

Engage in these and other screen-free activities as much as possible to beat boredom and reduce screen time.

Independent Screen-Free Fun

Sometimes, busy parents simply can’t drop everything to keep their children active and engaged. Fortunately, there are so many screen-free activities your preschooler can do independently.

Here are some of the best ideas for independent, screen-free fun.

Water play

Fill shallow containers with water and gather a few containers. Let your child practice pouring, scooping, and splashing in the water. For added fun, put a few drops of dish soap in the water and hand your child a whisk to make bubbles.

Playdough

Let your child roll, cut, and smash playdough with a variety of tools. Give them safety scissors, plastic cutlery, cookie cutters, and other safe household items to play with. Small animals, cars, or dinosaurs make a fun addition to any playdough setup.

Photographs

If you have an old camera lying around, you can inspire your child to become a budding photographer with very little effort. Give your child an old digital camera and let them take pictures of whatever they’d like. Or, give them a “photo scavenger hunt” by asking them to take pictures of specific objects.

Stickers

Give your child stickers and paper and see what happens. Your child may fill pages with stickers or create a specific story. Let their imagination be in charge as they create a sticker-filled work of art.

Make mail

Your preschooler may love to send and receive mail. Give your child a stack of paper, some markers, and envelopes. Ask them to make mail for distant family members, next-door neighbors, or anyone at all. Boost the fun by asking a friend or family member to be your child’s pen pal.

Building fun

Set out blocks, Legos, or even boxes. Challenge your child to build the tallest or biggest building they can.

Screen-free activities are essential during early childhood. They can help children develop gross and fine motor skills, boost communication skills, and improve problem-solving and creativity. They’re also a lot of fun!

For more great ideas or to learn about our early learning programs, reach out to the team at Little Sunshine Preschool now. We look forward to meeting you and your child soon!

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