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5 Screen-Free Activities to Keep Your Kid Busy

It’s tempting to allow your kid some screen time when you have to get things done for work or around the house. Although a digital device would probably keep your kid occupied for hours, use their boredom as an opportunity to nourish their imagination. Here are 5 tech-free and educational activities for kids ages 8-12.

Stefanie Parth
12/1/2022 • 4 min
Child is sitting on floor, drawing in a notebook with colorful pencils

We know that kids ages 8 to 12 are a particularly difficult group to entertain. But you don’t need to have expensive supplies on hand to lure your kid away from the screen. Get inspired by this list of 5 fun and educational indoor activities that only need little supervision.

1. Gathering donations for charity

Use your kid’s boredom to teach them about giving to those who are less fortunate. Have them go through their clothes, toys, stuffed animals, and other belongings and set a specific number of things they’re supposed to give away. You may also want to choose a charity together and discuss its purpose. But please make sure to not give away broken or dirty things.

2. Writing a letter

In this day and age, kids are used to the delete key so writing actual physical letters helps them to slow down and think about what they want to say. It’s a sweet surprise for the recipient and a learning experience for your kid to show appreciation for the people in their life. Aside from loved ones like friends and family, they could also write a letter to people who have a job they are interested in, politicians, neighbors, public figures, and so on.

3. Creating a country

Have your kid design a map of their own made-up country as a way to learn more about geography. Let them come up with a name, size, and location for their country. What language is spoken there? What currency do they use? Are there lakes, mountains or deserts? What foods are grown there? Does the country have a president or queen/king? Have them draw their country and mark its cities and landmarks.

4. Creating an ABC book

For this activity, you can simply use 26 sheets of paper and staple them together at one end and ta-da, you have a book. But of course, feel free to make the book a little more fancy. Now have your kid associate any word with all 26 letters of the alphabet. They can also make a drawing of that word next to the letter or transform the letter into the word (e.g., A for alligator, green with sharp teeth). If that’s not challenging enough, go for specific topics such as animals, countries, or math (e.g., A is for angle).

5. Writing a journal

Challenge your kid to write down as many questions they can think of. Then go through the questions together and if you don’t know the answer to a question, look it up together and double check the information. This will help your kid learn to question information online. You could also let them create a list of all the things they love, like foods or games. Or write down all the things they are grateful for. It’s good for kids to reflect on the privileges they have in life and realize that others are less fortunate.