Screen-free activities for under 5's during isolation

Updated: May 22

It can be very tempting to use a screen as a baby sitter during isolation, especially if you are working from home like so many of us are. It's recommended that children under the age of 2 don't have any screen time, although I would argue that there are exceptions. I am guilty of giving my son a screen under 2 as a desperate last attempt to silence him on long car journeys, etc. Children aged between 2-5 are advised to be limited to less than an hour a day. However, given the current circumstances, I wouldn't blame anyone for exceeding the guidelines in order to catch up on work. With that in mind, I decided to list some fun alternatives for your little ones.


Screen-free activities in the house:


  1. Drawing/painting (doing badly drawn portraits of each other can be funny)

  2. Have an indoor teddy-bears picnic

  3. Make pizzas

  4. Build a fort

  5. Create an obstacle course

  6. Play hide and seek

  7. Go on a colour scavenger hunt

  8. Play flash-card games

  9. Play the story game

  10. Bake cupcakes

  11. Make toilet roll bugs

  12. Catalog cut and stick activity

  13. Make a rainbow for the window

  14. Build a house/car/etc from boxes/cardboard

  15. Hang up/ display items in the corner of a room and play 'shops'

  16. Pretend to go to a restaurant (dress up too!)

  17. Create a 'dolly spa' at the sink

  18. Play 'guess the word/letter' by tracing your finger on your childrens back

  19. Play with stickers

  20. Create masks and crowns out of recycling


If you are lucky enough to have a garden:


  1. Play football

  2. Pick flowers and foliage to press

  3. Plant a flower bed

  4. Go on a bug hunt

  5. Draw with chalk on the floor

  6. Pop up a play tent

  7. Scoop water from one bucket to another

  8. Have a water fight (if the weather is warm enough)

  9. Make sandcastles

  10. Blow bubbles


See also:

Staying patient with your children during isolation

5 tips to boost your mental health during isolation

Books to promote positive mental health in young children

6 healthy habits that will transform your life

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