Top 10 Screen Free Family Activities!

by | Jan 24, 2021

Creative Ways To Get Your Family Unplugged From Screens And Plugged Into Fun!

Needing some fresh ideas for screen free family activities? You have come to the right place my friend!

Don’t worry, I love a good YouTube channel or a family movie night like most people. I’m no hater.

But I also know it takes effort to find family activities that incorporate everyone and spur on lots of laughter. It also takes effort to turn off the TV at night when you’d rather just chill on the couch and decompress. I totally get that.

Here are my Top 10 screen free family activities that can be done any night of the week. I hope that as you read through each one, it motivates you to schedule some family nights in the very near future…like this week!

Top 10 Screen Free Family Activities

  1. Board Games/Card Games
  2. Park Fun
  3. Scavenger Hunt
  4. Backyard Games
  5. Friendly Competitions
  6. Variety Show
  7. Grab Dinner Out
  8. Build A Fort
  9. Nerf War
  10. Cooking Competition

*This article contains affiliate links, which means I may make a small commission from any items that you purchase.

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parent watching kids play together without the need for screens

How do you entertain kids without screens?

1. Board Games/Card Games

This category is pretty self-explanatory. Are you a family that enjoys strategy games like Catan or Stratego?

Maybe you’re into more fast-paced games like CatchPhrase, Taboo, or Pictionary.

How about Go Fish, Old Maid, War, or Spades?

Playing board games or card games is a chance to teach and develop character in your kids. They learn about honesty, making a strategy, and how to graciously accept victory or defeat.

This is a big one in our house.

My husband and I tell Addie all the time that games are about having fun and being together. We have a rule that if she gets upset when she loses or throws a fit, that game is not allowed to be played for a while.

There are so many options for a super fun game night. Here are some of our favorites! Click on any of these links and it will take you straight to Amazon if you want to snag one right now!

  1. Twister
  2. Pie Face
  3. Scattergories
  4. Codenames
  5. Bang!
  6. Ticket To Ride
  7. Monopoly Junior
  8. Exploding Kittens
  9. Skip Bo
  10. Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza (card game!)

Board Games are wonderful options for screen free family activities!

2. Park Fun: Free Thing To Do With Kids

One of the easiest things you can do for a screen free family activity is load up the car and go to a park.

Whether your kids enjoy being chased on the playground or playing sports in a nearby field, there is usually something for everyone.

Something that we have appreciated during this pandemic is the ability to go outside and get fresh air.

For a time, taking family walks or playing outside were some of the only things we could do together. So crazy!

I appreciate the ability to be outside and enjoy family time and physical activity more now than ever before.

Time at a park is usually best suited for the weekend, if you’re wanting to include the entire family.

So take your calendar, find an empty chunk of time some Saturday or Sunday, and write in Family Fun (at the park!)

And if you want to add a little extra excitement for the younger ones, take them to the store before you go and let them pick out a couple of balls or Frisbees. This allows them to have some ownership when it comes to fun family activities.

3. Scavenger Hunt

Another great screen free activity is a scavenger hunt.

This kind of activity is a great opportunity to incorporate every member of the family. Seriously.

Do you have older, creative kids? Let them help with making the clues. Have any teenage drivers? Make the scavenger hunt be around your neighborhood or community and they can drive the family around.

If you have a real techy kid, there’s a perfect opportunity to let them film this scavenger hunt, and edit it into a little movie.

Whether it’s a tiny scavenger hunt indoors for real little ones, or an elaborate one outdoors that involves the entire family or multiple neighbors, just go for it.

You’re staying active, engaging everyone in the family, and making great memories!

By the way, if you have older kids who enjoy solving riddles and puzzles, these Exit Games by Kosmos are awesome. They are enjoyed by both kids and adults alike!

Buy It Here!

What are some family friendly activities?

4. Backyard Games

Head to the backyard for more family fun, and leave your screens inside. That’s right, even your phone.

Oh how I love backyard games!

Here are just a few of the games we love: washers, horseshoes, cornhole, Frisbee, croquet, baseball, obstacle course, water balloon fight, and so many more!

Games in the backyard don’t have to be complicated. Many of them require very little assembly or money. But they are so fun!

There are many benefits to being outside together as a family, away from your phones and interacting.

Your kids are learning to work together, what team effort looks like, friendly competition, and cooperation.

Aside from those things, being active is part of a healthy lifestyle and getting fresh air is always beneficial.

Get outside and enjoy your backyard. If you want to incorporate friends and neighbors, then have a big backyard bbq and include lots of fun family yard games.

Sounds like an awesome Saturday night!

Remember, the goal with all of these ideas is to unplug from screens and plug into each other!

5. Friendly Competitions

In any family there’s bound to be at least one or two people who are super competitive.

Why not put that competitive energy to good use and create some hilarious competitions?

Find some fun “minute to win it” games online or make up your own.

Need some ideas? Here are a few.

Awesome Game Ideas

  • Egg Roulette: You have a dozen eggs, and 8 of them are hard boiled. Each person (normally 2 play) takes turns grabbing an egg and cracking it on their forehead. The first person to crack two raw eggs loses. Hilarious game! (Play it in the kitchen since it’s a messy one)
  • Smell The Flour: Fill a tall cup with flour and pack it down. Turn it over on a plate and slowly lift the cup up, like you would if you were building a sand castle. Place a penny on top of the flour tower.

    Players then take turns shaving off a piece of the tower, trying to keep the penny balanced on top. The player that knocks the penny off must dig the penny out of the flour with their nose…hence the name “smell” the flour. This game is awesome!
  • Tasting Challenge: This one is pretty easy, and lots of fun! Choose 5-10 things that will need to be tasted by the competitors. 2-3 family members will compete to see who can correctly identify the food items tasted.

    It can be as easy or as difficult as you want. Maybe some of your kids wouldn’t enjoy being the tasters, that’s okay. Let them help decide on the food items to be sampled.

    Whether you choose a teaspoon of brown sugar, a spicy chip, or a sip of cranberry juice, your family is bound to have fun with this activity. You can even raise the stakes by competing yourself. Mom vs Dad? Yes please!

Your techy kids can for sure participate in any of these activities as I’m sure they will really enjoy filming the competitions!

Friendly competitions = screen free family fun!

6. Variety Show

A Variety Show? Seriously?

Actually yes…and I’ve actually participated in one of these (not one of my proudest moments, but something we still laugh about as a family).

A variety show can be as simple as each person has to contribute some kind of “act” or talent. Whether it’s card tricks, dad jokes, gymnastics moves, singing a song, a cooking demo, or even a silly skit, everyone can participate!

Once the acts have been practiced and are ready to perform, then let the show commence!

Pop some popcorn and have other yummy snacks, make a little program that has an order of the acts, and go for it.

A variety show is a great way for each member of the family to showcase their talents.

You may not have a family filled with lots of natural performers, but even a child that is normally shy can find something to demonstrate or share with the family.

Having to step out of your comfort zone isn’t the worst thing in the world.

There are always opportunities to grow and be stretched, right? And why not encourage a family member to step out into the spotlight through a fun variety show.

7. Grab Dinner Out

How is this fun? My kids are very little. This makes me stressed.

Duly noted. I hear what you’re saying.

Grabbing dinner out is fun for mom because she doesn’t have to cook or clean up. Victory!

When your family is used to eating most of their dinners at home, having a night where you can enjoy a meal at a restaurant together is a welcome change.

It’s a change of routine, a change of environment, and most likely a change of flavors!

I don’t know about you, but I love eating out.

Yes it is normally more expensive, but it’s well worth it to not have to think of what’s for dinner or how long it will take to clean up afterwards.

Find a night in the next couple of weeks and enjoy a dinner (or a Saturday lunch) at your family’s favorite restaurant.

That will be a great screen free family activity for sure!

8. Build A Fort

I’m betting that most of you when you were young built forts inside your house. When you’re little, these types of activities can be EPIC in nature.

Cardboard boxes are seen as much more amazing than the toys received at Christmas.

The toy car cannot turn into a fort, but all the boxes the toys came in? They can transform into epic childhood moments!

Your teens probably won’t jump at the chance to hangout inside a fort, but they can definitely participate in building one for their younger siblings!

Whether you choose to build a fort using the kitchen table as the top or you use lots of sheets, blankets, boxes, duct tape, and pillows, just be creative!

To increase the fun, if you have a basement or playroom, the fort can stay up for a while and be used as a play area for your kids.

With Addie, I’ve found that sometimes creating special places like this can encourage more independent reading. She might complain about being asked to read for 20 minutes in her room, but be much more willing to read if she gets to do it in her fort!

Start saving all of your Amazon boxes, and find a great Saturday to make an amazing family fort. Enjoy the memories that are made! This is a great winter activity by the way. =)

9. Nerf War

This might be one of Addie’s most favorite things to do in the evenings. Over a short time, we have collected a wide array of Nerf guns and darts. We even have targets and eye protection. Hard core!

Having a Nerf War gets everyone involved (except maybe your 1 year-old)! If you’re wanting everyone to be active and run around, this is such a fun activity. You can do the battle indoors or outdoors.

Either way, be ready for a lot of cooperation when it comes to clean up. The ammo is very easy to lose!

Addie has had Nerf battles with friends and family. When her cousins come to visit, we definitely have a battle and include the adults as well! It’s always a fun time.

Remember to establish rules as a family regarding safety (no face shots), kindness, and having happy attitudes no matter the end result. It’s about having fun together.

I grew up having Nerf wars with my brothers and Dad, and those are some of my favorite memories. I hope you have a chance to make some great memories too!

Nerf Wars for the win!

10. Cooking Competition

A cooking competition can be as simple or elaborate as you want.

If it’s around the holidays, why not do a Gingerbread House competition? Parents vs kids? That would make for an entertaining Instagram post.

Maybe your family is into cookies, so you could do a bake-off of sorts. Divide your kids into 2 teams and each parent can oversee each team.

Not into baking? Maybe you have 2 older kids who are into cooking, and they decide to each make a side dish for dinner and then everyone else has to sample it and vote for their favorite.

These ideas can all be done without the competition piece. If your family isn’t into that, leave that part out and enjoy the time together.

I think it would be awesome for the kids to make dinner for their parents and go as far as setting the table and creating the whole ambiance. Once dinner is complete (and dessert!) it’s the parent’s job to guess which kids made which entrees or side dishes. So fun!

There are so many variations to this family activity. Just tailor it to your family’s preferences and age-ranges.

That’s A Wrap

If you made it with me through all 10 ideas, you are a champ! For those of you that need the review, here are the activities one more time.

Top 10 Screen Free Family Activities

  1. Board Games/Card Games
  2. Park Fun
  3. Scavenger Hunt
  4. Backyard Games
  5. Friendly Competitions
  6. Variety Show
  7. Grab Dinner Out
  8. Build A Fort
  9. Nerf War
  10. Cooking Competition

Get out your planner, and pencil in some of these ideas over the next few months. Have your kids give you their input on which activities they’d prefer over others.

No matter how you slice it, just make a point to unplug from screens and plug into each other.

You won’t regret it!

Lots of love to each of you!


Cover Photo by Craig Adderley on Pexels

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  1. Sharila

    Thank you for this list! Some of my fondest childhood memories are playing board games like Sorry and going to the park.

    • Lisa

      I am all about board games! They are a great way to spend time together as a family.

  2. Ana

    Great ideas! My kids loved building forts in the family room using every pillow and cushion available in the house. Now as teenagers, they’ve moved on to Nerf War. I vote for family dinner out and no cooking 😉

    • Lisa

      Dinner out and no cooking is one of my favorite options! Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.

  3. Whitney Woodley

    I really enjoyed your post. We don’t do screens so this was very helpful!🌸

    • Lisa

      So glad you found these ideas helpful!

  4. Carrie Pankratz

    I love these ideas! We are big game players in our family. Nerf wars are a regular event with my house full of boys. I am thinking a baking competition might be our next activity! Thanks for so many great ideas for family fun!

    • Lisa

      Absolutely Carrie! Hope you end up writing a blog post about an epic baking competition with teenage boys!

  5. Adriana

    I so needed to read this today!! The school holidays have seen the kids spend wayyyy to much time on their screens, so thank you for sharing this!!

    • Lisa

      Absolutely Adriana! The screens are hard to get away from at times. It’s nice to have a go-to list of activities for some family fun.

  6. Brandi L Brown

    These are such great suggestions! We do about half of these as a family from time to time. I’m sure we’ll add in even more as the kids get older. I especially love the cooking competition one. We did our own version of “Nailed It” this summer for our “staycation” and the kids absolutely LOVED IT!

    • Lisa

      The more ideas on this list, the better! So glad that you and your family are into creative ways of having fun together.

  7. Melisa

    I am so thankful to have an amazing friend/person like you in my life to remind me how to have fun with my kids

    • Lisa

      Appreciate the thoughtful response Melisa!

  8. Black Couture

    Okay great article, looking forward to seeing one on getting your family to find time for more of these no screen activities and we need! Electricity went off and still on phones, so I’ll be taking these ideas and introducing them to the family! very resourceful.

    • Lisa

      Thanks for the kind reply and I’m glad you found these ideas helpful. =)

  9. Colette

    I love this! My kids are still little now, so they love to go to the park, but we’ve never done the variety show! I think that will be so fun, my kids invent shows and games all the time, so I think the variety show will be perfect for our family night.
    Thank you so much for the tips; I can’t wait to try it!

    • Lisa

      Thanks Colette! Let me know how the variety show goes.

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