20 Screen-Free, Independent Activities for Preschoolers

Today I’m sharing some of our favorite screen-free activities. My kids are getting to the age that I’m trying to get them to engage in more independent activities (even if it is only for a few minutes).

My goal is not to entertain them but to prompt them to creativity and independence.

I’m going to give you a little glimpse into my mommy bag of every day activities for my kids. These are all screen-free, no prep, and very little mess.

This is not an exhaustive list (well, maybe to me…whew!  But I would love to know some of the things that you do with your kids! Let me know in the comments!


20 Screen-Free, Independent Activities for Preschoolers


1. I Spy or Where’s Waldo Books– See if they can find the objects listed. If your kids are constructively competitive, have them keep score on who found Waldo first.

2. Drawing– Give your child their own notebook and writing utensil that they can draw or write in whenever they want.

3. Lego or Duplo Blocks– Give them an idea of something you want them to build. (A castle, gas station, thanksgiving dinner…etc.)


4. Play-Doh– Put them at the kitchen table (or better yet, outside) and give them a handful of Play-Doh and a box of cookie cutters. (We use Mad Matter because it’s allergy free and a lot less messy.)

5. Links– If you have any connectors or links, have them make the longest snake in the world.

6. Wipe-off writing– Download a few worksheets and put them in page protectors. This way they can use dry erase markers and you can reuse the sheets. (We like to practice handwriting this way)

7. Stamps– Get a set of alphabet stamps and have them spell words (or make up some of their own).

8. Watercolor paints– Give them a small cup of water, watercolor paints, and let them go to town. We put these little mats (a.k.a. cutting boards) underneath their work to save ourselves the extra mess. πŸ˜‰

9. Reading– Have them grab a handful of books and let them sit in a special spot to look through them. (Mom and Dad’s bed, bean bag, pile of pillows…etc.) Here are a few of our favorites!


10. Sensory play– Give them cotton balls, popsicle sticks, toilet paper rolls, empty containers and let them use their imagination.

11. Pipe cleaners– Give them a pipe cleaner and an idea. (Bracelet, glasses, hair bow, ring, etc.)

12. Disposable cups– Let them build a pyramid (or just stomp on them).

13. Piggy Bank– Have them dump all their coins out and re-insert them into their bank.

14. Deck of cards– Have them categorize a deck of cards, an Uno game, or a set of flashcards.

15. Magnets– Get out the box of magnets and have them create or spell on the fridge.

16. Tupperware drawer– Let them raid the Tupperware drawer (it’s already a mess, right?).

17. Try on shoes– My kids love trying on our shoes, I set my shoe basket down on the floor while they parade around in high heels and hiking boots.

18. A dull pair of scissors– Give them a dull pair of kid scissors and a piece of paper and watch their little tongue stick out in full concentration.

19. Race ramp– Make a ramp out of a couch cushion, a board from the garage, or whatever you can find and give them a handful of small cars.

20. Play outside– Send the munchkins out to discover the backyard. They can ride bikes, draw with chalk, or just look at bugs. πŸ˜‰



Every mom has their own Mary Poppins bag of things to prompt their kids into action or encourage them to be creative.  Let’s share…

What screen-free activities do your kids do?

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  1. Being a homeschooling mom, I have pretty much walked a similar route. Our way of teaching our children is one that teaches them to learn indepently. We strive towards not entertaining them but allowing them to explore through hands on age appropriate activities melting into problem solving. Thank you sis for the beautiful inspiration ?

    1. aw! Thats awesome! We have a four year old too and are constantly on the look out for ideas! Let me know if you come up with any other ideas for your son! <3

  2. I love this list – thanks for the great ideas! My 4 year old daughter loves drawing, painting, play-doh and many of the other activities you have listed. The other day, we were at my mum’s house and my daughter saw a Monopoly game on the shelf. She asked me what it was and I thought ‘yes, great I could teach her how to play Monopoly – or the basics of the game anyway – and we could turn off the TV for a while!’ I taught her how to roll the dice, move her piece on the board, give her money to the bank when she wanted to buy a property, just the basic stuff and she absolutely loved it. I hadn’t played board games for years and it made me realise how much screen time has changed our lives. So, definitely going to be encouraging her to play board games more from now on.

    1. Thats awesome! Our four year old is getting really interested in board games too, maybe I should get one down and teach her some of the basics like you did! Great idea! πŸ™‚

  3. This is really a great list of independent play activities for kids! Another easy, fun idea is taking a few toys outside and prompting your kiddos to Shadow Trace Toys. So simple and loads of fun. If its rainy, you can always use a bright light inside, too.

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