5 Indoor After School Activities My Kids Love That Don’t Involve the TV

5 after school activities for kids that don't require screens

We really limit TV in our home for our boys, with only 40 minutes twice a week. But what do we do after school if we don’t use the TV or play video games? These five indoor after school activities are things my kids regularly do and might work for your family too!

 

A year or so ago we set a rule about screen time in our home. This is it.

In our house we majorly limit the boys’ screen time.

Why?

Because TV and video games turn them into crazy lunatics who want nothing but more TV or video games.

You know, sometimes you have those days as a mom where you just need some time, so you stick them in front of a show? And then it turns into five shows? For us, whenever that would happen my boys would get grouchy, whiney, and basically unbearable the moment the TV was turned off. No thanks.

So I decided to basically eliminate all TV and video games from our home.

At the time, the boys were really into the LEGO Ninjago and How to Train Your Dragon shows on Netflix, so we decided they could watch two episodes on Wednesday, and two episodes on Saturday. If they forgot and didn’t remember until Thursday, too bad. No makeup days.

 

After a year of very limited TV, this is how it’s going

Now, over a year later, they’ve watched all the episodes of those shows and now they often forget that it’s Wednesday or Saturday, and they rarely watch TV. It’s completely out of their routine, and they don’t default to it anymore when they’re bored.

 

How we handle video games in our home

The only video game system we have is the Wii, and they occasionally play that on Saturday with Philip, but almost never during the week.

We never do video games on the computer, and I don’t plan to buy them any other video game systems. Because if I buy them, then they use them. And I’d rather we stay away from video games in our home as long as possible.

 

This is the difference I’ve seen in our home since making these TV changes

They really didn’t watch that much TV before, but just setting those ground rules made any and all TV battles go away, and it’s no longer a stressful thing when they ask to watch a show.

When I talked about this on my instagram stories a few weeks ago, many of you asked what my kids do in the afternoons or the mornings before school that don’t include the TV.

 

These are five indoor after school activities that my kids love and don’t involve the TV.

Legos are my kids’ favorite after school activity

We have millions of LEGOs, but I keep buying them because they’re the best toy ever. They help improve their fine motor skills, they learn to follow directions with the kit instructions, and they learn incredible creativity when you give them a box of random pieces.

If your children are new to LEGOs, turn on an audiobook to keep their mind busy, and then give them a bin of LEGOs. You’ll be amazed at how quickly they learn to be creative and imaginative!

 

Baking is a fun indoor activity all three of my boys love!

I love to bake, and it’s really fun to pull all the boys (or just one) in the kitchen after school and make something. If you’re not sure what to make, two of our easy favorites are PUMPKIN MUFFINS and PEANUT BUTTER ENERGY BITES.

We also shared a bunch of our favorite healthy snacks here that don’t involve baking!

 

Art for Kids Hub YouTube Channel is great for your budding artists

We discovered this fun art video channel over a year ago, and Fos especially adores it. It’s step by step drawing instructions, and the Dad and child team share a new drawing video every single weekday.

Fos has improved his art skills by LEAPS and BOUNDS because of this program, and he loves doing it.

Yes, it involves a screen, but we do it on my laptop or on the TV when we all want to draw together (I actually really enjoy doing it with my boys!) And because it’s very hands on, my boys don’t have the same reactions when it’s time to turn it off.

 

Revolution Math is an online math tutoring program that’s SUPER fun

Have you heard me talk about this online math tutoring program? We started it almost two months ago with B, and he has loved it.

It’s a live tutoring session done via live chat on the computer, once a week for one hour, and it combines learning math with a really fun interactive story-based curriculum.

If you’re not doing any extra curricular activities with your child right now and they love math or need help in math, seriously try this program out.

I posted yesterday on my stories that my discount code expired yesterday, but they extended it just for you guys! You can try it for FREE — an entire month of math tutoring FOR FREE. WHAT?!

You just pay $1 to get the materials box sent to your child. Try it HERE with code MERRICK1!

 

Kiwi Co Boxes are our favorite for educational at-home experiments and activities with no effort on my part.

I want to be one of those moms that does science experiments or cool crafts I found on Pinterest. But I’m not.

Kiwi Co makes my kids think I’m one of those moms. There are boxes for all ages from ages 0-100, and they come with 1-3 educationally based activities or projects.

I’ve been crazy impressed with each box we’ve received — they have such interesting, unique activities! And all the materials you need come included in the box, so there’s no need to run to the craft store and buy a few things before being able to make the project (literally my nightmare).

You can try your first box free RIGHT HERE – just pay the $4.95 shipping!

 

I’d love to know what other indoor activities you do with your kids after school — leave a comment!

11 Comments

  1. Gina says:

    Thanks for this list, i need to try those kiwi crates, they sound like a blast. We try to limit our tv time, tOo. Other activities we like are perler beads, magformers, play-doh, do-a-dot markers and Kwik stix (or just regular ol’ Coloring), and of course curling up with a good book.

  2. Tracy Reid says:

    Hey! I’ve never heard of the kiwi Co boxes. But I’m going to try one for my youngest. I thought they might be a New Zealand company (since it was a “kiwi”) but, no. Lol. That’s ok though, they still ship here. 🙂 I can’t wait to get it!

    Thanks for sharing!

    Tracy x

  3. Marissa says:

    I have 3 boys too (surprisingly close in age to yours as well). After school i like to make a big snack for everyone and theN we play a board gaMe or a cars game toGether while we Eat. I find out so much more about theIr days since we started doing this – it makes conversation easier and not so much of an interrogAtion for them haha.

  4. Kristen says:

    My boys love magnatiles as well as Legos. They love to make different structures for their cars. We always play outside after school if it’s nice out (we’re in WA so it’s often rainy during the school year). Audiobooks, baking, and hide and seek or nerf gun/Flet ball slingshot fights are common too. We go through phases with TV and it seems like the takes about two weeks of zero screen time to detox and have them never asking about it

    • Merrick says:

      We’ve never bought magnatiles, but maybe we need to — so many of our friends swear by them!

      Also I agree with the 2 week detox period. Glad you mentioned that!

  5. Julie says:

    I LOVe the idea of limiting screen time. But i’m Always concerned that if i limit too much my kIds will becOme those ANNOYING kids who cannot look away from a tv when they’re at someobe else’s House. Do you notice any issues with this?

    • Merrick says:

      No, I haven’t noticed that at all. I think you’d see more of that if you NEVER let them use screens. Then it’s more of a temptation and a draw because it feels so off limits.

  6. crazy krush says:

    Hi merrick,
    Thanks for this list, I need to try those things, we are planning to visit the zoo and some other places.

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