First off, let me say this is far from a war on screen time. There is almost nothing I love more than jammie clad babes, smelling like the bath watching a Disney classic on me. But with spring break quickly approaching I can see my screen time go to spiraling quickly out of control into a week long Amazon Prime binge session. So here are some of my favorite ways to entertain my kids that don’t include tv or tablets. I hope that if you have others you’ll share them with me as well!
Movie Soundtrack Dance Party
I love this one when my oldest is whining incessantly to watch a movie and we’ve already logged way too many hours of screen time. This works best if you go to a room with no TV and place the source of the music on a high shelf. My kids are toddlers so I just use the changing table. Spotify the soundtrack of the coveted movie or TV show and have a dance party. Even better if you include some homemade or found instruments. We have this set from Melissa and Doug, but more often than not we use found items or toys. Current favorites: Away, Away from Moana while we play “drums” on any surface or the audition scene from Sing where stuffed animals compete. Which brings me to my next activity.
Acting out a book with stuffed animals/toys
This is big favorite with my son right now. With Easter quickly approaching I am trying to working a little more Bible time as well. We have done Noah’s Ark with an Amazon box and stuffed animals and are working on some additional stories as well. He is only three so it’s fairly simplistic, but can be made more complex depending on the ages of your children. Another favorite is Going on a Bear Hunt from the book of the same title. Really almost any of their favorite books will work with a little creativity.
Cooking/Baking with your kids
I won’t lie, I have to be in the right frame of mind to do this, but it can be so fun. Younger kids love to watch and help with small tasks like dumping pre-measured spices into larger bowls. While older kids can read recipes, help choose the meals, create grocery lists, and help cook. Another benefit of this is I have found that even picky kids tend to eat better when they helped cook and choose the meal.
Ok so if you’re the awesome sensory bin mom, more power to you. When I think of an activity the first thing that comes to my mind is the amount of time it will likely entertain my child vs set up/clean up time. Sensory bins just do not cut it in my house. I picture rice/glitter/sand piñata-bombs that will result in four letter words and a 3pm glass of wine. Playdough though. Oh how I love it. Gets out aggression. Calms the mood and the possibilities are endless. Picnics, making zoo animals (I make a mean snake, lol), or make letters or numbers to practice skills. And it’s a great lesson in patience for my type A personality to watch my kids mix the colors.
A break from regular routine is a great time to start fresh. Have you been wanting to sleep train? Start a new parenting method or potty train? We will be re-attempting potty training at our house. We (and I mean we) were for sure not ready the first go around. See my post The 5 Stages of Grief: Potty Training Edition for more info on my experience.
Get Out of the House
We plan to do this some of the days weather permitting. I will be the first to admit that crowds stress this mama out. I would much rather hit up the zoo on a random Monday than during spring break with everyone and their literal brother. We will for sure try to play outside everyday if possible, have some backyard playdates, and take advantage of the hints of summer that are starting to show ever. so. slowly.
Have a Full on Screen Filled Day and Feel Zero Guilt
Kids are are only kids once. Be the fun mom who is less worried about the sanctimommies of Facebook judging your one day of screen domination. Don’t change out of pjs until it’s time for new pjs. But you better give you kids a daily bath or I will judge you (I hope you got the sarcasm there.) Though I do love clean babies.
If you are traveling for break, ignore every single word of this post. Give those kids those tablets and don’t look back. When ladies in their fifties say well in my day kids didn’t have screens in the car, say calmly well in your day, Marsha kids rode in the back window unrestrained so I think I’ll keep my preschooler’s Kindle Fire, Thanks!
Happy Break, Lovelies!