8 Engaging Activities for Your Kids (Away from the TV!)

If you’re looking to engage, rather than simply entertain your kids, turn off the television and encourage active play to begin! From playing classic board games to doing something kind for an elderly neighbor, there’s lots of TV-free activities that are kid-friendly and mom approved.  

Get crafty. Gather up the paper, glue, scissors, paint, and crayons, and let the kids go to town! Recycled items like shoe boxes, baby food jars, and wrapping paper can also add fun to the mix. My kids love creating masks from white paper plates. They use these to create their own impromptu stage shows. Encourage your kids to be creative and you’ll be amazed with the masterpieces they can produce. 


Bring out the board games. Whether it’s a game of Candy Land or Clue, classic board games can provide lots of family fun and a natural way to strengthen family bonds. Ask my kids who the reigning checkers champion is. They’ll be sure to tell you it’s me! And remember, younger children can be paired up with parents for more challenging games to ensure everyone can enjoy the fun. 

Stage a puppet show. With a little creativity and imagination, a large box can be magically transformed into a children’s puppet theater. Recently while having a sleepover at my mom’s, the kids created an elaborate theatre from an appliance box my mom picked up at a local department store. It had shutters that opened and everything! You can also hang a café rod across a door opening and drape a light blanket or sheet to create a puppet theatre in a cinch. Make your own paper plate or sock puppets and use your smartphone to record the performance to show the puppeteers later. 

Bake something sweet. Who can resist the taste and smell of homemade chocolate chip cookies? Not my kids. We live where the original Toll House Cookie recipe came to fame. Get everyone involved with the measuring and mixing for lots of family fun. Opt for cut out sugar cookies for this project to double as a craft and give the kids frosting and sprinkles to create their own edible masterpieces. 

Head outdoors. Whether you play outside or head on a nature walk, take time to enjoy the great outdoors. Draw a hopscotch board in your driveway, play a game of kickball in the backyard or head to your local playground for outside fun for everyone. We live near the beach so once the warm weather hits, we’re outside all day, every day. 

Go on a scavenger hunt. Make a list of items that can be found in the house or around the backyard and send the kids out with a small bag to collect them. For younger kids, consider drawing pictures instead of writing words and for older kids, consider providing clues rather than a list of items. We play a modified version called hide the bones. I hide a bunch of small plastic bones from the party store around the yard and they race to see who can collect the most, first. 

Work on a puzzle. Gather around the table and tackle a good, old-fashioned jigsaw puzzle. If you’ve always dreamed of taking a family trip? Pick a puzzle that features a landmark of your location and when you’re done, glue it together, frame and hang it to serve as a reminder to what you’re looking forward to. With our kids, smaller, character-themed puzzles are a big hit. They gasp in delight whenever their favorite character comes together. 

Do something for someone else. Have an elderly neighbor with a home maintenance need? Our neighbor next door does. My kids love when it’s time to check on her during a snow storm and ensure her pathway is free from snow. Head over and help shovel snow, pick up leaves or pull weeds. Notice a single mom in your neighborhood who looks like she can use a hand? Prepare a meal and bring it over. 

*This article is sponsored by Mott’s.