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?

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

And don't forget to check out our other early years activities.

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 a timer. How many jumps, bunny hops or toe touches can your children do in 2 minutes? Can they invent their own moves? 

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)

Play things that grow (flowers, trees, birds) and things that don’t grow (cars, buildings, lamp posts). How many can your children say or draw? 

Go on a walk and challenge your kids to spot 5 living things and 5 non-living things. You can also take photos. 

Nature treasures activity

More 5-minute activities

1. Taller/shorter

Ask your kids to find things 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 and record their findings.

2. Create a train 

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

Leave cuddly toys around the room. Your child stops the train to collect their cuddly passengers. 

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

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

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

Children walk or jog around the island. You pretend to be a shark.

When you say "shark!", they jump onto the island to safety. If they're too slow, you get 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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