February usually means temperatures outside are frigid, forcing most of us to stay indoors on the weekends. For parents, the headache begins on how to keep the kids occupied without allowing them to be on their phones or tablets. Habitual device use can cause a list of health problems in kids from neck pain, knots, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, eye strain, poor posture and the list goes on and on. Plus, the blue light that’s emitted from devices has been shown to disrupt circadian rhythms, meaning it interferes with sleep which can contribute to heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Mentally, excessive device use has also been shown to contribute to depression, anxiety and all-around negative emotions.

One of the best ways to limit your child’s device use is to come up with other activities to do instead. Here is our list of 40 things to do instead of relying on screen time.

Things to do Indoors

  • Build a pillow fort
  • Use large, empty boxes to create playhouses
  • Play card games like Uno or Go Fish
  • Bring out the board game gifts from Christmas
  • Bake cookies from refrigerator cookie dough
  • Put together a puzzle
  • Throw a dance party
  • Conduct a kid-friendly science experiment
  • Paint a winter scene to hang inside
  • Set up an indoor picnic
  • Make homemade play dough
  • Build a card tower
  • Put on an original play
  • Play charades
  • Go through old photos can make scrapbooks
  • Read a book

Things to do Outdoors

  • Take the dog for a walk around the neighborhood
  • Build a snow family
  • Have a friendly, snowball fight with siblings and/or neighborhood kids
  • Plan an outdoor scavenger hunt
  • String popcorn and hang it outside for the early birds
  • Try out an outdoor ice skating rink
  • Go sledding
  • Go on a walking tour of your city
  • Go on a winter hike
  • Shovel snow for a neighbor

Free or Low-Cost Day Trips

  • Visit your local library
  • Visit the public museum
  • Take advantage of discount movie theater deals, usually in the mornings
  • Go bowling
  • Buy a day pass at a local indoor pool, like a YMCA or other fitness facility
  • Take the kids to an indoor jungle gym
  • Contact a local animal shelter and bring them needed supplies
  • Visit a free art center or gallery
  • Check the internet for free musical performances
  • Go window shopping at the mall
  • Go thrift shopping
  • Go to a building workshop at the Home Depot
  • Check out story time at a local book store
  • Bounce at a local trampoline park or gymnastic center
  • Play some laser tag

Being active in winter is essential to staying healthy and improving your family’s mood when the days are short and nights are long. Plus, doing activities together is a great bonding experience that is great for all families. Your kids will be surprised at how much fun they can have without a device!

Your family’s health is our top priority at Family Healthcare of Siouxland. Don’t forget to schedule annual wellness visits for the entire family.

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