Screen-free play ideas

Screen-Free Play Ideas So Mom Can Work

You’ve gotta work. Is it possible to get your kids to play…screen-free?

Why yes it is. I got you, mama. I’ve reached out to some of my working mom/blogging friends for their best screen-free play ideas. Whether you’ve got toddlers attached to you ankles or 10-year-olds with video game controllers attached to their hands, there is an idea for your family.

And just to be clear…my kids play on screens. We have tablets. And we have Netflix et al. We even have a Nintendo Switch. But I definitely look for ideas to break up their screen time with some screen-free fun.

One quick suggestion before we dive into the screen-free play ideas you might use…spend some quality time with your kiddos before you need them to play independently. It may be reading a book or having a tea party. Or sitting with them at breakfast without a phone or laptop. It doesn’t have to be hours. Sometimes just 15-30 minutes before your start your “work hours”. Engaging with kids before you need them to play independently will help you start your work knowing you’ve given them some undivided attention. Good for your family. Great for your mom guilt. 😉

For more on teaching your kids independent play skills, you can check out my “Independence Skills for Independent Kids” course. But now, let’s jump into the fun stuff…

Screen-Free Play Ideas from My House

I’ll start with a list of favorites from my house. My boys are 7 and 9 but I’ll include some of their favorites from their younger years. 😭

  • Kinetic Sand (preferred over Play-Doh)
  • Hot Wheels Cars (be sure to check out the super cool track idea from Emily below)
  • Figure Play with Dinosaurs and Transformers
  • Large Floor Puzzles featuring Dinosaurs and Space
  • Duplos/Legos/Kid K’nex (my boys have played with this set for 6+ years)

We keep a fairly minimal household when it comes to toys so don’t think you need more to occupy your kids. One thing that helped me was to look for open ended play like the figures or the cars. That way they weren’t running to me after 10 minutes when the puzzle was finished or the game was done. Open ended play allows them to create a story with no end (well, hopefully.)

Schedule Your Screen-Free Play Times

My good friend Rose Lounsbury is a keynote speaker and minimalism and simplicity coach. She is also mom to 11 year old triplets. #handsfull She says they stick with the tried-and-true old faithfuls like sidewalk chalk, Legos, simple art supplies that make kids do most of the work (aka markers and plain paper), craft kits that kids can do on their own, books, trampoline in the backyard, bikes and scooters.

At 11, Rose’s triplets are able to do more independent play than younger kids but she’s found that the key is creating a SCHEDULE they can stick to and come to rely on. They brainstorm the schedule TOGETHER so they have ownership and honestly, her kids just follow this every day. Sometimes she will remind them if they start to slack on it but they’re so used to following a schedule that it’s second nature now. Check out an example of her schedule below. And you can connect with Rose on Instagram and Facebook.

Summer Schedule - Screen-Free Play Ideas
Photo Courtesy of Rose Lounsbury

Screen-Free Play Ideas for Toddlers

Next, we jump to Kristen Holland who blogs at Gracefully Busy. One of her favorite ideas was to set up an indoor obstacle course. She encourages her 2-year-old son through the course a few times and cheers him on. Once he’s burned out some energy on the obstacle course, he will spend time playing with it on his own. Check out her obstacle course below.

Obstacle Course - Screen-Free Play
Photo Courtesy of Gracefully Busy

Kristen has lots of other great ideas for screen-free and independent play ideas for your toddlers in her post “9 Activities to Keep Your Toddler Busy at Home.”

Screen-Free Play Ideas for All Ages

My friend Emily from Happy Organized Life is no stranger to keeping kids occupied. Along with writing a successful blog and homeschooling, Emily is mom to 7 (well, nearly 7…#7 is due this fall but close enough 🤣) I love Emily’s round-up of ideas for pool noodle fun. Especially with summer winding down and what could potentially be a long fall and winter, she features great ideas to repurpose your stockpile of pool noodles for outdoor and indoor fun. As a mom of Hot Wheels loving boys, I especially love the idea of the Hot Wheels tracks pictured below.

Photo courtesy of Ramblings from Utopia

You can check out Emily’s full round-up of pool noodle ideas on her post “Fun Pool Noodle Activities”. She also featured a slew of electronics-free play ideas in her post “How to Have Fun Indoors Without Electronics”. One of my favorites is this Mission: Impossible-style laser maze made from streamers. What a great way to use up the ends of the streamer roll from your last birthday celebration!

Photo courtesy of Brassy Apple

If you want more ideas for a Happy Organized Life from Emily, you can connect with her on Facebook and Instagram.

What are your favorite screen-free, electronics-free play ideas for your kids? I’m always looking for new ideas…share yours below!


Grab my free mini-course “10 Tips for Working While Kids are Home” here!

Want more support around time management, productivity, and working mom mindset? Join my free Early Morning Moms Facebook Group.

Free Self-Care Ideas for Moms

10 Free 10-Minute Self-Care Ideas for Moms

Self-care…you know you need it. But do you actually DO it?

I am the first to admit that self-care is often pushed to the back burner by kid needs, husband needs, house needs, work needs, client needs, pet needs…all the needs. Self-care always seemed more like something I would get around to eventually if I had time. But I never had the time.

Then last Fall I felt like I cracked. All this putting out but never stopping to refill took its toll on my mental and physical health. Ok, universe. Lesson learned.

Want to know a great part about slowing down and recognizing my need to take care of me? I realized it didn’t have to take a long time. I realized it didn’t have to cost a fortune. Of course, it could. And of course, I should treat myself. But there are also things I can do on a daily basis that can help me care for myself that take very little time and no money. They are things I can do with my kids so there is literally no excuse.

And that list of 10 free 10-minute self-care ideas I brainstormed last Fall is what I would like to share with you today. It helped me with my mental and physical health at the end of 2019. It helped me maintain a positive outlook during quarantine. And it will continue to help me take care of me into the future. So I can continue to take care of everyone else.

Watch or read below…

Mindset Self-Care Ideas

Mindset work is crucial to my daily well being. Not sure why it took me so long to realize how much my thoughts, positive or negative, influence my daily actions. But once I realized this, I knew I needed to work on my mindset regularly to stay healthy, stay positive, and move forward in my business.

  1. Meditation – This has truly been the biggest game-changer for me in terms of mental health. I used to be afraid of quiet. However, now I see it’s necessary. Call it what you want: meditation, prayer, stillness, quiet time. Just take time each day to breathe and stay present. Don’t focus on what did happen or what will happen. Focus on now. I use the Calm app but there are several options out in the forms of apps, YouTube videos, and podcasts to help you quiet your mind.
  2. Gratitude Journal – It is so much easier to recognize and invite in abundance if you take time each to show gratitude for what you have. It can be as simple as writing 3-5 things on a sheet paper before bed. It can be a discussion around the breakfast table with your family. I personally use the 5 Minute Journal app on my phone. Above all, recognize what you have, big and small. It brightens your mood and helps boost your immune system. Who doesn’t want that?!?
  3. Writing Affirmations – Wanting more is a great motivator. But not when it grates on your self-esteem or ability to show thanks for what you have. You need to appreciate who you are. All your abilities. Affirmations go hand in hand with gratitude to show you how blessed you are. They help you see all the positive traits you can share with the world. And they can reprogram your subconscious mind in a positive way and help you achieve the life you want. (All that from a little daily dose of affirmation…wow!)
  4. Writing Goals – While writing goals may not feel like it falls into the traditional “self-care” category, it does if you write them as if they already happened. Just as with affirmations, writing goals in the past tense will train your brain to believe you already have accomplished that goal. Rather than inserting the doubt that you can complete it. What amazing thing did you do this week?

Physical Self-Care Ideas

Don’t worry…they aren’t all exercise-related. 😂 These self-care ideas include physical activities that you do to help get the blood flowing and improve your mood. But speaking of exercise…

  1. Move Your Body – Even if you aren’t a fan of traditional exercise, moving your body is an important form of self-care. Take a walk. Ride a bike. Set up an obstacle course with your kids. Stretch. Dance. Park your car at the end of the parking lot. Swing on a swing. Rearrange your furniture. Do jumping jacks. Raising your heart rate release dopamine which makes us feel good. But raising your heart rate doesn’t need to be running on a treadmill, lifting weights, or taking a spin class. If you’re feeling disconnected or in a funk, move your body.
  2. Deep Breaths – On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are times when we feel stress and anxiety that we need to slow down. Sitting quietly (you can hide from your kids in your car, I won’t tell) and taking 5-10 really deep breaths while focusing on the inhale and exhale will help to increase your oxygen supply. It helps to lessen stress and anxiety. It can improve your attention span and lessen physical pain. Next time you feel that flutter in your chest, you know the one, find a quiet place and breathe.
  3. Laugh, Really Hard – When was the last time you had a good, hearty laugh? It seems so easy and yet we underutilize this form of self-care. I mean, when was the last time you were stressed, anxious, or sad after watching your favorite comedian or funny movie? Studies have shown laughing can help boost the immune system, ease anxiety, relieve stress, and diffuse anger (I’m looking at you, social media). Take a few minutes to watch funny animal videos or your kids make faces. Watch your favorite funny movie. Read a funny book. Laughter truly is the best medicine. 🤣🤣🤣

Activity Self-Care Ideas

In conclusion, we will discuss activities you can do by yourself or with your family. It’s less about strengthening your mind or getting your heart rate up, and more about doing something you love. Perhaps even with people you love. Or alone…trust me, I’m not judging.

  1. Reach Out to Someone You Love – When was the last time you got non-bill mail? Or a phone call instead of a text? We are simultaneously more and less connected than ever. Feeling disconnected? Phone a friend. Want to express gratitude? Write a thank you card. Miss social interaction with friends or family who are far away? Schedule a group call. Take the next step to create that connection. Social interaction helps to maintain mental health by reducing stress and anxiety. Communication with those we love releases dopamine to improve your mood. But we can’t sit and wait for people to reach out to use. Make the call. Send the email. Send the letter.
  2. Make Something – Lots of wiggle room in this suggestion based on your idea of fun. For instance, you could bake something. Craft something. Sew something. Color something. Paint something. Build something. Write something. Engaging in creativity can boost your mood and help you feel accomplished. It doesn’t have to be perfect. The simple act of creating boosts your immune system and increases your happiness.
  3. Read – If you’re a reader, do you make time for it? Reading improves your focus, mindfulness, and connection with your family. By reading fiction before you sleep, you can help improve dreaming (which is important for your brain). Reading with your children establishes quality time and builds a positive relationship with reading and books for them. Not to mention, if you enjoy reading for whatever reason, you should do something you enjoy.

And there you have it. Ten ideas that won’t cost you a dime that you can do it 10 minutes or less to improve your mood, relationships, and overall mental well-being. Which one will you do? Is there something on your list that I missed? Comment below and share how you will incorporate self-care into your routine or other ways you can improve how you take care of you.


Grab my free mini-course “10 Tips for Working While Kids are Home” here!

Want more support around time management, productivity, and working mom mindset? Join my free Early Morning Moms Facebook Group.

Working Mom Mindset - Mom Guilt

How I Flip the Script on Mom Guilt

Mom guilt is real.

Like for real, real. But recently I started to reframe this working mom guilt I had in a more positive light. I can tell you that my husband does not feel guilty about working. So why should I feel guilty about setting aside time to work on my business or work with clients when my kids are around?

That’s what prompted me to explore reasons why I love the idea that my kids see me working from home. You can watch or read below…

1. I want them to see an entrepreneur

My kids know I wake up early. They see me working on my laptop when they sneak out of their beds at night. They know I work hard at my business because they see it day in and day out. But they also see that my dedication pays off. I love that they can see the return on my investment in hard work. And that when they grow up, if they have an idea for a business, hard work and dedication can lead them to their own successful business doing something they love.

2. Every day is “Take Your Kids to Work” day

It’s not just one day a year that they get to see what I do or learn about the different aspects of my job. It’s nearly every day. I can teach them about editing podcasts or videos. We talk about how marketing works (and why we won’t let it work to buy that toy they want. 🤣) I demonstrate time management (some days better than others) because I have “work” hours and “family” hours. Every time I work in front of my kids is a chance to teach them a skill they could use in the future or inspire them to learn more.

3. It teaches them patience

As a work from home entrepreneur, there are times when mama’s just gotta work. I can’t settle every little argument or drop everything to play race cars. And that’s ok. I make time for these things. I’m more intentional with the time I spend with them because I focus on being present during “family time”. Teaching them to wait or hold on has had great benefits. They can entertain themselves like no other 6 and 8-year old I know. They know if I say “when the big hand gets to the top, we’ll go to the park” that I am true to my word. Trust me, there is no accountability like a 6-year-old who knows there’s a park visit in his future. They learn to give me space, respect my work hours, and we enjoy our time together when mommy’s work is done.

Do you struggle with mom guilt? Do you have a strategy for keeping it at bay? I’d love to hear more about how you balance working mom life with family mom life in the comments below.


Grab my free mini-course “10 Tips for Working While Kids are Home” here!

Want more support around time management, productivity, and working mom mindset? Join my free Early Morning Moms Facebook Group.