Do your kids always ask to play with a tablet, game console or smart phone? Even my toddlers know how to swipe a touchscreen, open apps and start a show on Netflix. It’s important for parents to limit screen time so kids can enjoy playing with low-tech toys and hands-on activities that encourage kids’ imaginations and coordination. Here are some low-tech toys and ideas to engage kids in the car, at home and during play time.
Make a DIY I-Spy Shaker
A DIY discovery shaker is fun to make and fun to explore. All you need is a bottle or container that can be securely closed.
- Fill the bottle up with glitter, confetti, beads, small objects, miniature toys, Alphabet beads, colorful buttons, barbie shoes and legos to create a custom I-Spy activity.
- Securely tape or glue the bottle top or lid closed so your child can’t dump the entire thing out.
- If you fill it with noise making items such as crinkly paper, beads or tiny bells, your I-Spy shaker can double as a sensory noise maker!
Kids will love exploring their shaker in the car or at home. DIY I-Spy Shakers are also a fun party activity to make at a kid’s birthday party or play date — everyone can create a custom shaker combination!
Play with Window Jammers
Traveling with kids can be tricky, especially when you need to come up with activities for your kids to do in the car. It can be helpful to offer your child one activity in the car because too many choices of things to do only makes a child discontent. Window Jammers are a simple low-tech activity for the car or playtime at home. Kids can attach one of the 10 Alpha Club Window Jammers onto the suction cup Jammer Stick and pretend to drive their character along the road or over the ground outside the window, transforming an ordinary window into an interactive play space!
The Jammer Stick wand allows kids to fly their plane through the air, jump the motorcycle over a gorge, and soar the dragon through the clouds.
The Alpha Club Window Jammers include Red One, Fire Bug, Orange Bang, Ultra-V, Max Bug, Pink Nightmare, Ace, Rose Puff, Komet, and Mad Hornet along with one Jammer Stick with a wrist strap and a collection pouch.
Window Jammers are also fun to use at home. My kids enjoy flying their Window Jammers characters around the house in their own imaginative games. Window Jammers provides the basic tools to start a game of imaginative play. Kids benefit from playing on their own and pretending within their own made-up games, rather than always defaulting to being entertained by a screen. I recommend the Window Jammers Ultimate Collection Pack as a fun activity or kids gift idea to encourage kids to practice interactive and independent play.
Create a Seasonal Paper Craft
Cut colorful paper into a seasonal paper craft! We made hand turkeys by tracing our hands onto a piece of colored paper, cutting out the hand shape and decorating it with paper feathers. Hand turkeys are easy for kids to create by themselves and make fun token gifts for friends and family!
Explore Textures with a Sensory Box
Easily put together a kid’s sensory bin with sand and water beads mixed up with tiny creatures and acrylic gems. My kids love playing with colorful water beads and moldable play sand. If you make your own sensory box you can customize it to include your child’s favorite things and colors.
Sensory Bin Ingredients
- Sensory medium: water beads, dried beans or play sand
- Miniature animals & creatures
- Sparkling accents and “treasures”
Kids will love exploring their homemade sensory bin filled with tiny toys and treasures. Be sure to play in a kid-friendly play space you can easily sweep up any spilled messes.
Mix Up Homemade Finger Paint
Homemade finger paint is fun to make and paint with too! You can make any combination of colors using simple ingredients you may already have in your kitchen. Learn how to make DIY chalk finger paint here!
What are your kids’ favorite interactive activities and low-tech toys?
Katie is a writer and influencer based in beautiful Coeur d’Alane, Idaho. She enjoys DIY projects, photography, decorating and going on family adventures. She feels blessed to be a wife, a stay-at-home mom to three kids and a Pacific Northwest lifestyle blogger.