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101 Non-electric things for kids to do when they’re bored

Ever wonder if your kids know about that alternate universe that doesn't run on “e” and “i”? If you hand them a book, do they try to figure out how to recharge it or where to plug it in? Do they look for the delete button when you hand them a plate of veggies? Do they reach for the fast forward when you are talking to them? Are they 'married' to several people on FB? It might be time to disconnect for a little while.

Here are 101 suggestions to encourage your children to disconnect and connect with the real world:

  1. Bake cookies and deliver them to an elderly neighbor or relative
  2. Learn to jump rope
  3. Start a band
  4. Work a jigsaw puzzle with a group of friends
  5. Start a small business
  6. Volunteer at an animal shelter
  7. Become a clown and visit nursing homes
  8. Start a poetry club
  9. Find a pen pal
  10. Collect stamps and find people to swap with
  11. Make a mosaic
  12. Carve soap into a figurine
  13. Work with clay and a potter's wheel
  14. Walk dogs for neighbors
  15. Build a model
  16. Get a group together and break a world record in something
  17. Start a neighborhood newspaper
  18. Lie in the grass and look at the clouds
  19. Read an entire dictionary
  20. Set up a scavenger hunt for your friends
  21. Go on a photo safari
  22. Paint a picture
  23. Learn to play chess
  24. Grow an herb garden
  25. Make a movie with your friends
  26. Knit a sweater
  27. Embroider a bib for a baby
  28. Do yoga
  29. Learn a new language
  30. Do a chore without being asked (and watch the magic happen)
  31. Leave love notes all over the house
  32. Direct a neighborhood talent show
  33. Raise money for a charity
  34. Raise a caterpillar into a butterfly and release
  35. Wash the dog or clean the bird's or hamster's cage
  36. Mold chocolate candy
  37. Blow bubbles
  38. Make a scrapbook of your life
  39. Make a time capsule and bury it in your back yard to dig up when you are 20
  40. Cook a 5-course meal and serve your family or a group of friends
  41. Record a song
  42. Start a book club
  43. Spend an entire day in the library reading
  44. Pick a bouquet of wildflowers for your mother
  45. Make a rock collection
  46. Play with the hose
  47. Build a snow fort
  48. Make a quilt
  49. Go on a hike and camp out
  50. Earn and save money for something big you have been wanting
  51. Participate in a charity event
  52. Write a fan letter to a celebrity you admire telling them why
  53. Spend the day getting to know a younger sibling
  54. Learn to belly dance
  55. Make sandwiches and deliver to the homeless
  56. Write out a plan for your future and see how close you come to it
  57. Make candles
  58. Dry or press flowers
  59. Learn calligraphy
  60. Lie in the grass and look at the stars and identify them
  61. Create a superhero and write his story in a graphic novel
  62. Wear a blindfold or earplugs all day to help you better comprehend how blind or deaf people live
  63. Plan a family night with an activity and snacks
  64. Spend an entire day praying and talking to God
  65. Read a book series (Harry Potter, Series of Unfortunate Events, etc.) to a child
  66. Listen to an opera
  67. Try a new food
  68. Sew a pillow
  69. Tie-dye a tee shirt
  70. Learn to batik
  71. Collect coats and gloves for the needy
  72. Make a loom and weave place mats
  73. Paint your bedroom
  74. Jump on a pogo stick
  75. Try water skiing or tubing
  76. Bake bread
  77. Work a crossword puzzle
  78. Read a newspaper front to back
  79. Teach someone something you know how to do well
  80. Tutor someone in a subject in which you are strong
  81. Run for something (class president, most like to . . .) or run a campaign for a friend
  82. Start a petition for a cause you believe in
  83. Write a congressman about something that concerns you
  84. Draw a floorplan for your idea of a perfect house
  85. Run a day camp for neighborhood kids (summer, winter break, spring break)
  86. Skip everywhere you go for one full day
  87. Try to answer everyone who talks to you by singing a song
  88. Play with toys in a bubble bath
  89. Redecorate your room with a theme
  90. Throw a surprise party for someone for no particular reason
  91. Create a new holiday
  92. Work at a soup kitchen
  93. Make a budget
  94. Play in the dirt or mud
  95. Grow a frog from a tadpole
  96. Go fishing
  97. Make a rubber band ball as big as you can
  98. Speak in pig-Latin for an entire day
  99. Take a picture of yourself wearing the same thing in the same place everyday at the same time for a year and then make a movie of it
  100. Go to school in formal wear with a few of your friends
  101. Build a better mousetrap

There you have it. A list to hand your children when you ask them to unplug and they say they are bored. Make substitutions and either hand them the list, or cut into strips and put in a jar and let them draw one out each time they whine. They may discover hidden talents, untried passions, or a lifelong hobby. You may discover a little peace.

Becky Lyn is an author and a 35+ year (most of the time) single mom. Visit
Becky Lyn’s Website. or write her at