Melissa & Doug 52 Fun & Easy Play Ideas for Screen-Free Week or Any Week blog post

Screen-Free Fun

52 Fun & Easy Play Ideas for Screen-Free Week or Any Week

May 07, 2024

If you’re concerned about your child’s screen time, consider going on a digital retreat with your kids during Screen-Free Week (May 6-10). Screen-Free Week is a non-profit advocacy program that promotes the idea that families should find time to dream, connect, and play together without our ever-present smart devices getting in the way.

Here is a list of 52 easy family play ideas you can put into practice for Screen-Free Week or any time throughout the year! We included a mix of activities and ideas that can work whether you have a 2-year-old, 3-year-old, 4-year-old, 5-year-old, or older child! Think of these ideas as “sparks”—try one and see if it inspires even more ways to play!

52 Screen-Free Play Activities for Family Fun!

  1. Enjoy open-ended sticker play sessions with our Sticker WOW! collection, a whole new way for kids to play with stickers!
  1. Host an indoor campout
  1. Go on a family bike ride
  1. Host a family dance party
  1. Blow bubbles and chase them
  1. Have a "kickoff," by kicking balls of different shapes and sizes
  1. Make up a nonsense language and enjoy silly conversations; come up with fun names for objects around your house!
  1. Put together a jigsaw puzzle; here are some suggested top sellers:
Wooden Underwater Gear Puzzle – 18 Pieces
Animal Chase I-Spy Wooden Gear Puzzle
Round the Shore Tracks Floor Puzzle – 48 Pieces
Race Around the World Tracks Floor Puzzle – 48 Pieces
Outer Space Glow-in-the-Dark Floor Puzzle – 48 Pieces
  1. Create an indoor obstacle course
  1. Make paper crafts: snowflakes, airplanes, origami, paper flowers, holiday decorations—whatever their imaginations inspire them to create!
  1. Show kids how to play your favorite childhood game
  1. Embark on a character-themed pretend play adventure
  1. Create a gallery of kid art
  1. Fly a kite
  1. Look for a 4-leaf clover
  1. Make paper boats and race them in a kiddie pool; use a straw to blow them across the water
  1. Enjoy a fancy day: talk fancy, wear fancy clothes, eat fancy foods, and show off fancy manners
  1. Create a sidewalk chalk mural
  1. Explore the night sky: look for stars, constellations, meteors, and more
  1. Cook a family meal together
  1. Set up a pretend store, stock it, and shop it
  1. Teach your kids about our National Parks with our collection of National Park Collection toys…they can even pretend to go wild as a Yellowstone bear!
  1. Build a tiny town in the dirt or sandbox
  1. Play flashlight tag
  1. Give kids assorted ingredients and challenge them to come up with a concoction
  1. Go on an A to Z scavenger hunt, looking for items that start with each letter
  1. Go on a nature walk and collect treasures to make a collage
  1. Create, color, and mail a greeting card
  1. Do a blindfold smell test of different ingredients and spices
  1. Create a time capsule and bury it in the backyard
  1. Take the kids on a road trip. If you’ve got little ones, make sure to bring baby toys to keep them engaged during travel; for older kids, our Play to Go Ice Cream and Play to Go Cookies play sets make for great on-the-go fun
  1. Collect and paint rocks
  1. Make handprint art to give to grandparents (e.g. Turn a handprint into a flower and write "Grandparents help us grow!")
  1. Transform a cardboard box: make it a castle, a diorama, a secret headquarters—there’s no limits on kids’ imaginations
  1. Start a collection (seashells, pretty pebbles, bottle caps)
  1. Put on a puppet show
  1. Fly high on a kid-powered, open-ended pretend jet pilot adventure
  1. Make art outside
  1. Set up an outdoor obstacle course with things to climb over, under, and around
  1. Create your own restaurant (complete with name, menu and decor)
  1. Set up a temporary outdoor playroom with a tent filled with toys, books, and stuffed animal friends
  1. Visit a fire station or other local landmark and learn about its history
  1. Host an indoor family picnic on a blanket
  1. Stock a dress-up bin, then see how many characters you can come up with
  1. Make a blanket fort
  1. Make personalized placemats for each family member
  1. Create a family handshake
  1. Stage your own Fun at the Fair with toys like our exciting Stunt Car jump!
  1. For parents & caregivers with babies, make sure they’re hitting key developmental milestones; when age appropriate, encourage them to do “tummy time” every day with baby toys like our Ocean Tummy Time Triangle
  1. Host a pretend pizza party for friends and family with our Wooden Pizza Food Truck
  1. Practice pretend self-care: visit the Barber Shop or Beauty Salon for pretend glow-up fun!
  1. Perform random acts of kindness for friends and family

Have fun!

For more screen-free activities, follow the blog links below:

Shop All Melissa & Doug Arts & Crafts

Shop Melissa & Doug

Create a Child’s Art Studio in 6 Easy Steps

Unplug with Melissa & Doug: Fun Play Ideas for Global Day of Unplugging

30 Best Childhood Games to Share with Kids Today

35 Ways to Bring More Screen-Free Fun to Your Child's Life