Preschool activities without screens

Ways for young children to play, discover and have fun without staring at a screen.

Preschool activities without screens

Are your children constantly in front of a phone or TV screen?

At home it’s especially hard to get them away from their screens. 

Distract them with these 5-minute activities that are great for their development. 

Threading spaghetti

You'll need a pack of raw spaghetti and a colander.

Get your children to thread the sticks of spaghetti through the holes in the colander.

How many individual sticks can they thread through without breaking?

Threading spaghetti

Get moving

Set the timer on your phone or watch. 

See how many jumps, bunny hops or toe touches your children can do in 2 minutes. Get them to come up with their own moves. 

Now play the traffic-light game. Do the right action to the right colour. Get it wrong and you're out!

Green = run on the spot
Amber = march on the spot
Red = freeze/stop

Get moving

Nature challenge (inside or outside)

Ask your children to remember things that grow (flowers, trees, birds) and things that don’t (cars, buildings, lamp post). 

You could also ask them to spot them (if outside). They could say them or draw them. 

If you go on a walk, you can also take photos. 

Challenge your children to spot 5 living things and 5 non-living things.

Nature challenge (inside or outside)

More 5-minute activities

1. Taller/shorter

Ask your children to find things in your home that are taller or shorter than them.  

They can measure items by using their hands. How many hands tall are you?  How many hands tall is the table?  Which is taller or shorter?  

Older children can join in with this and record their findings.


2. Create a train 

Use cushions or pillows to make pretend train carriages. Ask your child to drive the train.  

Keep the game going by leaving cuddly toys around the room who will need to be collected to come on board. 

Ask your child where they are taking their passengers.


2. Draw a portrait

Can your child draw a portrait of you or a family member? 

Could they use a mirror and draw a self-portrait?


3. Estimating games

Ask your child to guess how many items you have in a container. 

You could use coins in a purse or crayons in a pencil case.

Count them together, did they guess right? 

Involve other family members. Who made the closest guess? 


4. Try not to laugh

Start the game by saying no one can laugh for the next 5 minutes. 

Try and make each other laugh with tickles and jokes. Who will break first?


5. Shark game

Place a piece of paper or cloth on the floor to represent an island. 

Children walk or jog around the island. You are the shark.

When you say shark, they need to jump onto the island to safety. If they're too slow, you capture them. 

You can do this outside. Use a picnic blanket or mark out an island out with sticks.


6. Animal counting game

When you say 2 pigs, your children oink 2 times. 

When you say 3 chickens, your children cluck 3 times. 

You can swap roles and your children can become the caller.

What is my child learning?

Physical development: Developing gross motor skills by being active.

Communication and language development: Learning new words. Being able to follow more than one instruction at a time.

Personal, social and emotional development: Developing relationships and their social interactions.

Maths: Learning to count.

What is my child learning?

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