5 Entertainment ideas for preschoolers to replace screen time

Bella Brennan
Bella Brennan
Bella is a writer and editor with over a decade of experience in women’s publishing and digital media. In her spare time, she loves making up dances to the Wiggles with her two little girls, swimming in the ocean and trying to sneak away from her family for a cheeky nap.
Created on Oct 23, 2023 · 3 mins read

We get it – when you’re looking after a toddler the days can often drag on for what feels like an eternity. Before you know it, you’ve got them plonked down in front of the TV and they’re watching Moana for the 15th time. Hey, no judgement. We’ve all been there!

It’s tough keeping your preschooler entertained and you might be asking yourself “what should preschoolers do instead of screen time?” Sometimes coming up with fresh ideas can be hard. There are only so many parks and play centres you can frequent before it feels a bit like Groundhog Day.

Well, we’ve got you covered. Here are 5 super simple ideas to keep your little ones entertained that don’t involve a screen…

1. Make a special garden they can look after

Whether it’s a fairy garden with painted rocks and fairy ornaments or a herb garden, creating this special garden together will instil a sense of importance in them. You can plan a trip to Bunnings together to pick out all the materials and then bring it to life. Once it’s been made, get your child to look after it and water it every day. If it’s a fairy garden, you can send them here for independent play and watch their imagination grow.

2. Have a friend over for a playdate

When two kids can get together and expel their energy, it’s always a win! Your little one will love to play host and show their pal all of their toys. Another genius tip is to make a deal with a neighbour and whenever either of you needs a break, you can drop your kid over at their place and vice versa. Playing with kids around the same age will help with your child’s development and expand their social skills as they work on communication and sharing.


3. Set up a messy play station

Kids love getting their hands dirty and messy play is a great way to embrace this! Depending on the setup of your home, you could lay a mess mat down on a hard-surfaced floor inside or set up a station outside.

You don’t need anything fancy either. Raid your pantry and fridge for materials, throw together some plastic bowls and Tupperware and let them go nuts! Just remember to put them in an old t-shirt or painting smock first.

4. Throw a living room dance party

If your little one likes to boogie, why not go all out and have a family dance party? You could encourage whacky dress-ups and get an upbeat playlist with their favourite music going. Dance is a beautiful way for your child to express themselves (and tire them out all at once!)

5. Build a cubby house

It’s simple, it’s easy and it doesn’t cost a thing! Yep, nothing beats an old-fashioned cubby house. All you need is some couch cushions and bed pillows and away you go. Once their secret fortress is all set up it will encourage independent play.

Remember when it comes to screen-free play, it doesn’t need to be fancy or costly! Your toddler will love anything you can come up with but thinking outside the box helps.

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