Screen Time Alternatives: Creative Indoor Activities for Kids

When you think of popular indoor activities for kids in the modern age, you tend to think of digital devices such as the TV, smart phones, computers and video games. The negative effects of too much screen time is well known and acknowledged, but it’s often the most convenient way to entertain little kids (and big kids for that matter!)

We know that electronics and social media affects our physical and mental health, but sometimes we just don’t have the time or energy to find healthy alternatives.

When kids are in school and childcare, some outdoor activities and exercise are always on the agenda. However, when they’re home and the weather is cold, wet and miserable, swapping screen time for play time is to be encouraged.

Creative activities for our kids don’t have to be complicated or expensive. Some of the things you need you’ll already have around the home, whilst others are easy to get and will get plenty of use.

So, without further ado, here are some fun and failsafe ways to keep kids entertained safely from the comfort of home…

Arts & Crafts

Did you know that kids in Melbourne were in lockdown for more than 250 days through 2020 and 2021? During that time, it was difficult for families to stay focused and a struggle to keep everyone optimistic for the future. The silver lining, though, is that many kids had to learn to get creative and amuse themselves during this period with arts & crafts.

Unleashing your inner artist is a good way to get hands on during play, and there are so many different ways to get crafty. Drawing, painting, colouring, cutting, sticky taping, gluing, folding and moulding – the list goes on. So, it’s time to get out the crayons, pencils, pens and paper and get making!

Tiger Tribe have a huge range of art supplies and indoor activities, including sticker sets, rainbow labs and activity packs. For kids just starting out in art & craft, there are how-to draw books and Dinosaur and Forest Fairies colouring in collections. Their Magic Painting World kits come with a special paintbrush that you fill with water to reveal the illustrations. When the art dries, it returns to white, meaning you can do it again and again and again for endless fun painting possibilities. Floss & Rock have a similar product too with their Magic Water Colouring Books.

Want to make your own jewellery? Look no further than Tiger Tribe’s Shrinkies sets. Using pre-cut shrink plastic sheets, simply draw on your own designs, pop them in the oven and watch them thicken up and shrink down to 40% of their original size - right in front of your eyes!

For kids who like to collect bits and pieces they find when foraging outside, why not treat them to a Flower Press. They can press and preserve beautiful flowers, petals and leaves to create unique and textured pieces for scrapbooks, cards, bookmarks and more. 

And for good old-fashioned sensory, family fun - you can’t go past playdough!

Child colouring in with coloured markers

Reading & Writing

You may think your children are doing enough reading and writing at school, however, at home, it should be more enjoyable rather than educational. Instead of harming our eyes by staring at blue lights and eBooks on screens, go old school with a good book.

With so many textbooks and reading requirements consumed digitally at school these days, going back to ink and paper is a good excuse for a break before or after homework. We have a wide range of picture books (suitable for all ages and interests) with all sorts of topics from animals, the environment, friendship and fantasy lands, to inspirational people and places and true stories.

Writing is another great indoor activity for kids, encouraging them to use their imaginations, be original and develop their literacy skills. For young kids and toddlers in particular, tools to first improve spelling include capital letter tiles and magnetic ABC picture cards.

If starting a short story is a bit of a leap for your older kid, keeping a diary is a good way to start getting thoughts and feelings down on paper. They can write about anything, from dreams, day-to-day tasks and interesting observations, to to-do lists and wish lists. A ‘This is Me - Dream. Reflect. Inspire’ journal from Tiger Tribe comes with 38 self-guided activities, containing a magic highlighter, pen, pencil and eraser, an envelope, sticker sheets and a lockable case – to keep all those juicy secrets in!

Young boy reading a book

Puzzles & Games

On wild winter days, indoor activities for your kids are never more important. Instead of letting them disappear all-day into a video game or movie marathon, get the whole family involved. Puzzles are a great way to do this. Not only does it get everyone putting their heads together to find the right pieces and put them in the right places, more hands-on deck speeds up the process too.

From basic 12-piece puzzles, to 100 and 1,000 pieces, you can play it safe or up the ante depending on your children’s skillset and concentration levels. A puzzle is both an educational toy and a fun way to pass the time.

You can go down the traditional path of cardboard jigsaws and wooden puzzle boxes, or get into a more modern version with various 3D scenes and magnets – meaning you’ll never knock and ruin another work in progress puzzle again!

Sick of stepping on LEGO? Well, Connetix have come to the rescue with a variety of creative packs all designed to encourage hours of creativity, fun and learning through play. Containing non-toxic tiles of all different colours, patterns, shapes and sizes, your kids can build castles, towers, rockets, bridges and more. They can play on their own, or compete with friends and family to see who can build the biggest and best creation!

Young girl playing with a Connetix set

Music & Dance

Here at Nurture Tribe, we’ve got a bunch of bright and colourful musical instruments to satisfy the inner rock and roller in your kid (and yourself). From bells and bongos to xylophones and maracas, there are plenty of sounds to make, songs to sing and dances to learn.

I'm Toy's popular Melody Mix apparatus features 10 different sound and music experiences in a sturdy rubber and wood frame. Every instrument is stored in its own dedicated slot and can be flat packed for easy storage.

For more entertaining indoor activities for kids, browse our entire range on the website.

Two young children playing with a Melody Mix music maker