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

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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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