For those of us who have spent time with small children in public places, we’ve all been there. You know, when they get tired, bored, hungry…and therefore, cranky? Your heart beats a little faster, your eyes check the room for those “looks”, and you need a solution – fast. And you want to entertain your child without a smartphone.
If your go-to solution is an electronic device, you may enjoy a short reprieve, but you may also wonder what kind of pattern you’re helping to establish. These Cell Phone Deal Stats show that most kids get their first smartphone when they are 11 and are already fluent with social media when they hit 12. Combine that with the fact that many people spend up to 5 hours a day looking at their phones and you may think again about giving your child so much unregulated smartphone time.
Reaching for an electronic device anytime you feel bored or unhappy may not be the healthiest option to impart. Learning to interact with people, and learning to entertain yourself are healthier AND doable strategies. Smartphones are a wonderful tool that we can use for many things, but when it comes to entertainment there are plenty of other options.
Crayons, paper, pens? Good choices. Getting them hyped about comic books? Even better. Maybe they’ll hold a debate session on DC and Marvel superheroes. If you are unaware of this classic comic book universe rivalry, you can click here to learn more. But, what if you’re without your usual bag of tricks and they don’t feel like reading comics? Here are 9 ways to entertain your child without a smartphone. And avoid the oncoming apocalyptic meltdown.
Get your Frank Sinatra or Barbra Streisand on and hum a familiar song like “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” or “Old McDonald,” and see if they can: a) name it, b) complete a line c) sing along for as long as possible.
Try this at a restaurant. Grab several objects, like silverware, packets, stir sticks and place them on the table. Instruct your sweetie pie to take a good look. Cover your collection with a napkin, and carefully remove one of the items without them being able to tell which one. This is your chance to be Houdini! Remove the napkin and ask which one is missing. Repeat as many times as possible. Try role reversal. They’ll love “fooling” you!
Also, check out this easy travel game –> Which Ninja Is Missing? An Awesome Memory Game For your Kids. It’s such a fun game that takes ZERO time to set up and keeps your kiddo completely interested and focused. Ninjas always rock, right?!
Choose an animal and play whatever version of 20 question your child is suited for. “Do you crawl?” “Do you swim?” When they guess correctly, spend some time making whatever animal sound it makes.
Find objects in your surrounding of different colors. Ask them, “Can you touch something that is X?” If your location is suitable for walking around, you can go mobile.
It’s the classic! Certainly solid territory for a little older child able to process this guessing game. Choose something both of you can see, then say, “I spy something, and it starts with ____.” If your child has a basic understanding of the alphabet and a modest vocabulary, fill in the blank with a letter. “I spy something, and it begins with the letter C.” It can help to sound it out: “Ca-Ca-Ca.” For the preliterate set who knows only their colors or shapes, substitute those categories instead. You can also describe the objects’ properties: “I spy something, and it’s rough and scaly/smooth and shiny.”
This one requires a pen and paper. Divide the paper into a quadrant. Draw the same shape in three of the squares, but draw a different one in the fourth. Examples: 3 cats, one elephant. Have them point shape that’s different. You can make a more advanced version for older children.
Riddles can be fun for you to come up with and for your child to solve. For example: “I have four legs and am covered in fluffy white wool. What I am?” or “I’m shaped like a circle, I have two hands, and numbers all around me. What am I?” Need a little inspiration?
Check out –> 15 Fall Riddles and Jokes for Kids
Show your kid your open empty hands. Place an object like your keys in one of your hands and close both hands. Put your hands behind your back and switch the object back and forth between them. Bring your closed hands back in front of you, and ask your child to guess which hand the object is in.
So, there they are:
9 Ways to Entertain Your Child without a smartphone.
Do you have some tried and true non-electronic kid entertaining ideas? Leave your tip in the comments below.