30 Screen-Free Activities to Keep Your Kids Entertained on the Go

It’s no secret that screen time is an integral part of how we live our lives today. However, the constant presence of screens in and out of our homes presents a unique set of parenting challenges.

I believe parents rely too heavily on screens to entertain their kids. Don’t get me wrong: I am not anti-screen time and have used an iPad as a babysitter on more than one occasion. My main issue is that screens can be found in the most ludicrous places: the zoo, the park, or a kid’s birthday party. I’ve literally seen a toddler being pushed in a stroller holding a tablet at Disney World. The problem is serious.

Of course there are cases where kids need entertainment for both their sanity and yours. The top situations for me are long-distance travel, events that are not kid-centric (think dinner at your grandma’s house where all there is to do is break antique vases), and going out to eat. I’ve compiled a list of the best take-along activities to stave off boredom and keep their eyes averted from screens:

Educational Activities

  1. Leap Frog LeapStart System
  2. “New to you” books – hit up your local library or garage sales to grab a few books they haven’t read before.
  3. Listen to a podcast
  4. My Fabulous Storyteller
  5. Activity books for age-related school skills

Crafty Activities

  1. Bead Kits
  2. Crayola Color Wonder
  3. Make your own art pack with paper, crayons, stickers, a coloring book, etc.
  4. Playdoh or modeling clay
  5. Reusable sticker pads
  6. Friendship bracelet kit
  7. Wikki Stix
  8. Travel Spirograph

Classic Fun Activities

  1. Magnadoodle
  2. Melissa & Doug Water Wow
  3. Aquadoodle
  4. Etch-a-sketch
  5. I-Spy books
  6. Rubik’s Cube
  7. Lacing kits
  8. Mad Libs
  9. Legos

Travel Activities

Pro tip: Make a stop at your local Target Dollar Spot or Dollar Store and pick up a handful of low-cost items before your trip. You can surprise your kids with some brand new activities while you’re traveling.

  1. Car bingo
  2. Travel journal
  3. Puzzles
  4. Follow-along road trip Atlas 
  5. Scavenger hunt cards
  6. Magnetic games
  7. Rubber Neckers
  8. Gel window clings

What screen-free activities do you bring along to keep your kids entertained?


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