20 Activities to do With Your Kids Other Than Watch TV

Almost half of kids spend at least two hours a day watching TV. While this may sound harmless enough, numerous studies have come out showing that TV is definitely taking its toll on American children.

UPDATE: When I first posted this (8 years ago in 2010) TV still mattered. Now the cell phone is the mind-sucking device that plagues parents. This article is still valid, though.

For instance, a study in the April 2004 journal Pediatrics found that every added hour of watching TV increased a child’s odds of having attention problems at age 7 by about 10 percent. Those who watched for three hours a day between the ages of 1 and 3 were 30 percent more likely to have attention trouble at age 7 than those viewing no TV.

The notion that kids watch far too much TV is a no-brainer, literally. My strong recommendation is to minimize TV watching to no more than a few hours per WEEK, as a short attention span is only the beginning of the problem with TV. Here are some of the other negatives of kids watching TV:

Although you may be accustomed to turning on the TV to entertain your kids (or yourself), there are many other options out there. Here are 20 to get you started.

  • Take a walk
  • Read a book
  • Cook a meal
  • Do a jigsaw puzzle
  • Play a board game
  • Talk about your day
  • Play some sports
  • Color, draw or paint a picture
  • Play outside
  • Invite a friend over
  • Put on some music and dance
  • Go on a ‘treasure hunt’ around the house or neighborhood
  • Play catch or Frisbee
  • Make a “fort” out of blankets and pillows
  • Ride bikes or roller blade
  • Write a letter to a friend or relative
  • Do a crossword puzzle or word search
  • Write a story
  • Run relay races with friends
  • Play charades

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