100 Ways to Avoid TV

This week, we are having a little break from the television.

I have absolutely no problems with TV in general, and I usually let my kids watch daily (though I do try to limit it to 30-60 minutes a day, and we keep it to shows & DVDs without commercials). I think it is quite useful as a break for us all – me in particular! For us, it works to help everyone chill out for a bit when we are having a rough or fussy time, or to keep the kids entertained and safe while I try to get some work done,  shower, or take a mama break and zone out for awhile to work on the blog or other stuff online (I really really need this for my own sanity).

I’ve found that in order to curb the requests for TV, I have to schedule it into our day very carefully – not just toss it in willy nilly – because the kids then think any time might be a good time to watch (and will ask ALL THE TIME). Up until Elsie and Delia eliminated their morning nap (around 20 months or so?) my oldest, Emma, would watch something while I nursed them to sleep. Now, the little ones get to watch too, and its usually after playtime in the morning (breakfast, playtime/get dressed, TV, then outings or other projects) and sometimes also in the afternoon right before dinner, while I cook. Any time I slip up and let Emma watch at a different time (while Elsie & Delia are still napping in the afternoon, for instance, or directly after breakfast), it comes back to haunt me for weeks – she will remember and try to badger me into letting it happen then again.  Stick with the schedule, though, and all generally goes well.

However. There has lately been a bit more whining and angst over who decides what we watch, and a bit too much talk (from my oldest) about all the TV she wants to watch, so I’ve declared a TV free week. It’s going pretty well, though boy do I miss it sometimes! It’s a good exercise for us all, though. I am tempted to stretch it to two, actually.

Here is a list the girls and I have come up with of things to do instead of TV.  We certainly have not tried them all this week, but it’s nice to have a list to refer to!

    twins play a sorting game

  1. draw pictures/color
  2. flubber!
  3. swing on the swings
  4. build a tower
  5. run around outside
  6. run around inside
  7. jump outside
  8. glue magazine pictures (magazine collages)
  9. play with the dollhouse
  10. play a board game
  11. do math
  12. do button math (counting buttons into cups, or using them to add & subtract)
  13. bead necklaces
  14. sort pasta (and pasta beading)
  15. cook something
  16. play with (fisher price) “little people”
  17. line up all the little people in a parade
  18. line up all the plastic animals in a parade
  19. play with animals in the bathtub
  20. felt some soaps
  21. dress up
  22. make a fort
  23. play in the sandbox
  24. take a walk
  25. throw the frisbee
  26. ride bikes
  27. read books
  28. dance party!
  29. go to the park
  30. go to the zoo
  31. work on paper dolls
  32. play with “Suzie” doll (Elsie)
  33. play with dominos
  34. make a checker game (Emma wants to learn checkers)
  35. type on typewriter or computer
  36. scavenger hunt
  37. set up the (indoor) tent
  38. play with instruments
  39. pots and pans
  40. learn to write words (Emma)
  41. write on chalkboard wall
  42. clean chalkboard wall
  43. play with marbles on a tray (with muffin tins,egg cartons & ice cube trays)
  44. marble game
  45. paint with marbles
  46. play with dolls
  47. dress our dolls in new clothes
  48. bristle blocks
  49. fingerpaint
  50. paint with water
  51. play with trains
  52. play with cars
  53. make a racetrack
  54. paint with cars
  55. play with toy kitchen
  56. plant some seeds (indoors in windowsill)
  57. take a bubble bath
  58. play with Noah’s Ark
  59. wash the sink (Emma enjoys this job a lot)
  60. play with water in the big sink
  61. wash toy dishes in big sink
  62. make a card
  63. glitter art
  64. make a book
  65. do sticker books
  66. make a pillow stepping stone track (no touching the floor)
  67. pretend we are going to school
  68. have a tea party
  69. have a birthday party for Bunny Bun Bun
  70. make bubbles
  71. pretend it’s Halloween
  72. ice cube surprises (freezing toys/fun objects in ice for bath, sink or swimming pool)
  73. play in Mama’s bed (Elsie and Delia’s favorite, ha)
  74. Legos/duplos
  75. make a “magic” bottle with oil/water/glitter
  76. play/sort shells
  77. play with “gems” (glass gems) or rocks
  78. collect nature treasures for a nature display
  79. hopscotch (inside with tape, or outside with chalk)
  80. move the furniture and do tumbling
  81. make an obstacle course
  82. (homemade) reading games
  83. look at pictures on the computer
  84. listen to music or books on CD
  85. sew on buttons
  86. make sock puppets
  87. tissue paper collage
  88. work on & play with shower curtain playmat
  89. make felt board pictures
  90. crayon rubbings
  91. stencil pictures
  92. letter stamps (or any stamps)
  93. play “school bus” or “driving in the car” (an E & D favorite)
  94. play with beans (sensory table/bucket/pool)
  95. hammer nails into a stump
  96. play with magnets
  97. roll balls in the hallway
  98. do puzzles
  99. go to the library
  100. invite friends over to play

What do you do around the house instead of TV? Please share your ideas in the comments.


You can find Kristin over at Intrepid Murmurings, where she writes and photographs her attempts to embrace motherhood, nurture creativity, and maintain sanity while raising twin toddlers and a preschooler.

About The Author: Kristin

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You can find Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings, where she blogs about embracing creativity, urban homesteading, dairy-free cooking, twin-parenthood, and three amazing girls every day.

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