11 Fun Alternatives To Screen Time at Grandma’s House

Are you searching for fun alternatives to screen time? I came from Generation X before screens invaded our homes, and one of my favorite things to do was play at grandma’s house. Are you searching for alternatives to tablets and screens? Here are some fun ideas to spend time with the grandkids.

1. Cooking With Grandma

cooking with grandma
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Unfortunately, I never cooked with my grandmother. However, my mom cooked with my daughter, and it was always a great time. Depending on the age of the children, delegate parts of the process to them. I have some special knives I got on Amazon that can’t cut them and are perfect for teaching toddlers to cut up fruits and vegetables. Baking cookies is always fun too!

2. Playing Outside

blowing bubbles grandma
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Playing outside is a pastime I’d love to see come back to fruition. So if you’re thinking the same, ensure that you have some fun activities for outdoor play for the best alternatives to scene time. I don’t mean for you to spend a fortune on plastic toys. Instead, try blowing bubbles, finding shapes in clouds, watering plants, or doing a fun nature scavenger hunt searching for sticks, stones, and pinecones.

One of my favorite outdoor activities as a child was making green water. My sister and I would fill up large bowls with the hose and then pick grass and weeds and stir it with a stick vigorously until the water turned green. That is childhood.

3. Making Homemade Playdough

homemade playdough alternatives to screen time
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Do you know how easy it is to make homemade playdough without cooking or fuss? Grandma. All kids love playing with playdough. Imagine being the cool grandma who knows how to make it! You can store it in the fridge for up to a month.

  • 2 cups of flour.
  • 1/2 cup of iodized salt.
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups hot water (start with one and add more depending on consistency).
  • 2 tablespoons of cooking oil.
  • 2 tablespoons of cream of tartar.
  • Add food coloring (gel food coloring works well and has less mess).

4. Take a Trip To Your Public Library

grandma reading book
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Are your grandkids affiliated with the public library? If not, library cards are free and allow them many alternatives to scene time. Make going to the library with grandma a tradition when the grandkids come over to play.

Libraries offer various entertainment, including books, music, movies, and sometimes even musical instruments. Additionally, take a schedule and check out the free events they have to check if they are something your grandchildren will enjoy.

5. Go for a Walk

walking with grandma
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Another fun thing to do outside is go for a walk around the neighborhood. I remember walking with my grandparents in Hood Sport, Washington, and seeing so much beauty to take in. To be fair, they had property, the ocean wasn’t far, and tall evergreens surrounded them. Nonetheless, it was remarkable, and made great memories. I have my grandfather’s walking stick.

Later in life, I walked with my father around a typical suburban neighborhood complete with culdesacs and homes that were the same but alternated colors. It wasn’t the same experience, but it opened up the opportunity to talk and, more importantly, to listen.

6. Play “I Spy.”

grandma walking
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Do you know how to play the “I Spy” game? Depending on their ages, kids love this game. Simply say, “I spy with my little eye something that is,” and then name a color. This game is great because you can do it indoors or outdoors. It’s also a fun addition to neighborhood walks.

7. Have a Grandma’s House Toy Box

small toy box
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The very best part of grandma’s house as a kid was grandma’s toy box. It wasn’t big, maybe the size of one of those fabric cubes you store things in.

However, she made a couple of multi-color stick dolls out of the little bits of yarn that weren’t long enough to do anything with. We looked forward to going to Grandma’s for the box of toys we only played with once in a while. There were a few games too. My grandfather was not a fan of Boggle (lots of shaking and noise)! But we always had a blast.

8. Make Rainbow Rice for Sensory Bins

rainbow rice sensory bin
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One of my favorite alternatives to screen time is making rainbow rice. My toddler gets excited every time. It’s simple and provides an excellent substance to use in sensory bins. First, add a cup of dry rice into a Ziploc bag, a few drops of food coloring, and one teaspoon of white vinegar. Then, zip it closed and let them shake it up after it’s mixed well.

Next, dump it onto wax paper and let it dry out. Typically, it’s ok for play in an hour. Return to Ziploc bags after play. I properly stored it has a long shelf life. However, making the rice is part of the fun, so I don’t advise storing it and never allowing them to make another batch.

You can purchase little empty wooden sensory bins on Amazon or use a box or large Tupperware container and call it a day. Kids enjoy playing with little figurines in the rice, driving little trucks and cars, and even using spoons and bowls to scoop and play in it.

9. Build Forts

kid in fort
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A great way to engage creative and fun is to build forts together. Of course, you can make forts with blankets and pillows between couches and chairs. However, an alternative is to gather a few large boxes and some markers or paint before they show up. Then, allow them to make their own cardboard forts for hours of fun.

10. Let Them Help You In the Garden

grandma gardening
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Do you have a garden? Let them help! Teach them how to weed, plant, and water the garden. If you do not have one, consider growing something simple together, such as strawberries or tomatoes.

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11. Make a Craft

pinecone bird feeder
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Finally, making a craft can be as simple as folding paper airplanes, to making homemade bird feeders using pinecones. All you need is pinecones, scissors, peanut butter, birdseed, and twine. You mustn’t use fishing line because it is too thin, and birds become entangled in them.

Additionally, you can use popsicle sticks to apply the peanut butter. So that is a twofer win for Grandma. Let them have one before craft time so they have the sticks.

After you shake the dirt and debris from the pinecones, tie a piece of 8-10 inch twine to it. Next, slather it with peanut butter. Then, roll it in birdseed in a shallow dish. They can also sprinkle the birdseed on before or after rolling. Finally, hand them for the birds to enjoy.

More From Sober Healing

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This article was published and syndicated by Sober Healing.

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Elizabeth Ervin is the owner of Sober Healing. She is a freelance writer passionate about opioid recovery and has celebrated breaking free since 09-27-2013. She advocates for mental health awareness and encourages others to embrace healing, recovery, and Jesus.