A kid playing

Seven Fun Family Things To Do Without Screens

You’ve had enough screen time. Even the kids have had enough screen time. Now the first (or third!) declaration of “I’m bored” has echoed through the house.

By Shell on May 14, 2020

Clearly some kind of distraction is needed before things get ugly, so why not round the rabble up for a good old-fashioned, analogue-style game-off? Here are seven classics that will get everyone up off the couch, moving around and maybe even cracking a smile.

1. Hopscotch

It doesn’t sound like much – chalk up a pattern of numbered squares on the ground, throw small object at square, then hop and jump in said pattern to retrieve object – but this ancient game can be a real family-pleaser when littlies are involved. They get to hone their throwing skills and coordination. Mum and Dad find their coordination isn’t what it used to be as levels progress, which often results in a giggle or two. Older children can double hop or use varying feet for a tougher challenge.

2. Charades

This classic gets fuzzy minds percolating and bodies moving around, sometimes urgently when time is running out, so it can be almost considered some form of exercise, too. Players split into teams, one team member silently acts out a movie, TV show or book and their fellow members need to guess what it is within a certain timeframe.

3. Balloon duel

Players tie a balloon on a one-metre string to their leg and must then simultaneously attempt to pop their rival’s while protecting theirs. Play one-on-one or in larger groups but the key rule is the same – last balloon standing wins. A strict playing space should be enforced to ensure a challenge and children should be supervised.

4. Twister

Proof that almost any combination of ingredients can deliver when thought out correctly, Twister’s random playing out of colours, hands, feet, body contortion and balance nearly always ends with a ridiculous spectacle – and plenty of laughter.

5. Egg-and-spoon races

Don’t underestimate the challenge of balancing an egg on a small spoon, or the fun of doing it while racing your rival to the finish line. The secret to a great egg-and-spoon event is a tough and inventive course, so throw in twists, turns or even some obstacles. Start with elimination rounds, then winner takes all.

6. Scavenger hunt

This classic treasure-hunt game is ever adaptable: it can be played indoors or outside, with one child or a group, and be as simple as the age of the participants (or time) dictate. The key thing is starting with a clue that leads players to a certain item or location, having another clue there that takes them to the next spot, then continuing the chain to a final spot where the ‘treasure’ lies – that could be a toy, treat or screen time privileges. Look to the web for ready-made clues that will get your children thinking.

7. Backyard cricket

If you’ve got a backyard but haven’t played backyard cricket, what are you waiting for? This institution of home-spun outdoor entertainment has been polishing the hand-eye coordination, competitiveness and team spirit of little Australians for generations. Rules are famously malleable but over the fence is always six and out.


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