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Screen-Free Activities for Kids and Teens to Enjoy Over the Summer

Add fun and learning to your family's routine with these easy, device-free activities.

Young child and caregiver drawing together while sitting outside

Looking to refresh your family's summer routine? Everyone might be using their devices more over the summer, but you can balance that with screen-free activities that keep your kids engaged and learning. Try these ideas to inspire them to get creative and have lots of fun.

The activities below are grouped by age, but many of them are great for kids of all ages. Explore them all and see which ones your family enjoys the most!

For Kids Age 3–8

Play Games and Get Active

  • 1–10 Scavenger Hunt. Search your home together for objects to count. Find something there's only one of, then two, and keep going up to 10!

  • Bird-Watching. How many birds can the little ones spot outside? Count them. Which colors do they notice? Can you name any of the birds?

  • Who's Sausage? Choose someone to be Sausage. The rest of the group asks Sausage questions. Sausage can only reply with, "Sausage." The first person to make Sausage laugh becomes Sausage next!

Connect with Friends and Family

  • Creature Feature. Draw pictures of your favorite animals, real or imaginary. Talk about what they eat, where they live, and how they sound.

  • Forever Flowers. Use some art supplies to create a bouquet of flowers for family members. Help your kids write a note or draw a picture to go with it.

  • Letter of Appreciation. Encourage your kids to practice their writing skills by crafting notes to loved ones. Little ones can draw a picture and dictate a note to you!

Relax, Reflect, and Learn

  • Build a Tree of Thanks. Draw or write down things you're all thankful for on small pieces of paper, and create a "tree" of thanks.

  • Draw Your Feelings. Ask your child to turn their emotions into art with some markers and paper. What color is joy to them? Sadness? Boredom? Love?

  • Listen to Stories and Podcasts. Spark your child's imagination and bond over these exciting stories:

    • Camp WeWow: Head off to an interactive audio camp, free of charge and commute!

    • Camp Adventure: Listen to sing-alongs, hear stories about nature, laugh at silly jokes, and even learn Spanish!

    • Mashups - by Kids Listen: A playlist of some of the best kids podcasts to help families find their favorite shows.

    • Stoopkid Stories: Fun series about seven young Black kids navigating childhood challenges and going on adventures.

For Kids Age 9–12

Play Games and Get Active

  • Crack a Code. Choose someone at home to play a robot. Think of a task, like getting a glass of water. Tell your robot exactly what to do, one step at a time. Then switch!

  • Create a Cardboard Game. Grab some cardboard and any art supplies at home to build a playable game for the family. Think Skee-Ball made out of boxes!

  • Dance Around the World. Make a playlist of songs from cultures or countries other than your own. Dance your way through the playlist. Which song did you all like best? Find out more about that culture or country.

Connect with Friends and Family

  • But Why? Take a few minutes and write down stuff you love, like games, movies, and foods. Why do your kids like each one?

  • Love All Around. Color paper hearts and cut them out. Then write messages on each one, and place them around the house for family members to find.

  • Snail Mail. Pick a friend or family member and write them a letter the old-fashioned way. Use a pen, paper, envelope, stamp, and your brain—no devices!

Relax, Reflect, and Learn

  • Self-Care Time. Make some time for family self-care. Ask your kids to think about what helps them relax or makes them happy. Is it taking a walk outside? Reading a good book?

  • Start a Journal. Grab notebooks and set aside some time for journaling. The kids can write about what they did that day, what they're thinking about, and how they're feeling. If they enjoy it, try doing it regularly.

  • Listen to Stories and Podcasts. Enjoy hours of screen-free fun with podcasts that help kids learn about different topics.

    • The Big Fib: A silly game show that asks the listener to decide who's the real expert vs. the imposter between two contestants.

    • Cultureverse: Explore unique reimagined folktales from around the world while learning about different cultures.

    • Spongebob Bingepants: Dive down to Bikini Bottom and listen to behind-the-scenes stories about the beloved children's show.

    • The Unexplainable Disappearance of Mars Patel: Get lost in mystery and adventure with Mars Patel and his friends as they try to figure out why people around them seem to be disappearing.

For Teens

Play Games and Get Active

  • At-Home Olympics. Design and create a series of Olympic events in your home. You can compete for fun, or even create medals out of paper to give to the contestants.

  • Plank High Fives. Pair up and get in plank position on your elbow. Balance on one forearm, and high-five your partner five times. Then switch sides.

  • Sports, or Something Like It. Go outside and shoot some hoops, kick a ball around, play catch, or just toss a ball as high as you can and try to catch it. The possibilities are endless!

Connect with Friends and Family

  • Family Fridge Quotables. Each week have a family member make a collage of quotes—from family, friends, or famous people—on your fridge. You can use sticky notes or get creative with your own cutout shapes.

  • Learn a New Card Game. Grab a deck of cards and try to teach each other games and tricks you know. Or look up some games online. Choose one that looks fun, go over the rules, and deal!

  • Write a Thank-You Note. Ask your kids to think about a kind gesture someone did for them recently. Then help them write thank-you notes and practice gratitude.

Relax, Reflect, and Learn

  • Five Deep Breaths. Sit somewhere quiet and breathe in for a count of four. Hold the breath for four seconds, then let it out for a count of eight. Repeat.

  • Be Grateful. Think of three things you're grateful for. Try to make time each day to share as a family why you appreciate these things, or write your ideas down.

  • Listen to Stories and Podcasts. Inspire your teens to explore the world through stories and reflect on what they learned.

    • Adventure in Atacama: Available in English and Spanish, this podcast takes you on a choose-your-own adventure across the world.

    • Family Road Trip Trivia: Enjoy different trivia topics, from Disney to TV to animals. Listen along with friends and loved ones, and shout out answers with the hosts of the show!

    • The Genius Generation: Learn about innovative and entrepreneurial kids and teens who've started their own businesses, invented products, and are finding creative ways to make the world a better place.

    • Tomorrow: A modern, reimagined version of Annie that finds Annie Warbucks five years after her adoption in full teenage mode.

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