Kiddo Activities


Aarya watches too much TV. There, I said it. When I am tired ( which is often nowadays, I have 4 more weeks to go), I have to study (not much just for exams) or in general when I am just too lazy, I switch on the TV and let him watch. When my husband comes back from work all tired and doesn’t have the energy to give him much time, he lets him play on his mobile or watch videos of Ben 10, Thomas the Train and such. We both are guilty. But when we saw an attitude shift in Aarya – is when we stopped and noticed the bad effects it was having on our energetic child. He wanted us to entertain him in some way or the other ALL THE TIME. TV does that,

“I need to be entertained, play with me, do this for me and just keep playing with me”

” I will not play by myself”

” I cannot be bored”

” I will not use my imagination for pretend play”

” I do not want sensory bins”

“I want to sit and want to be entertained by some format of media”.

This was not the case earlier though. Aarya could play with his cars/trains and use his imagination in one way or the other. Play with the sensory bins for more than 30 minutes at a stretch… and he could entertain himself for sometime. But nowadays, “Bas ho gaya” (Enough, I am done) is the phrase that comes out of his mouth easily and much too fast for my liking.


This January, my husband and me decided that we are going to be intentional about limiting (not completely ending) his TV time. Videos on youtube were a strict no-no. He can watch movies with us though (Iron-man, Cars and all that). He can play educational games on my phone too, but there was a time-limit for everything. But one of the major things we have decided on, is to not intentionally entertain him all the time, we are letting him figure out on his own what he wants to do. We are letting him get bored and NOT helping him. There is more outdoor play too – which he loves.


How do I plan to do it?

Being intentional and planning a little ahead of time and sometimes a spur of the moment activity. Somethings that he has loved for a long time, and some new things. Many sensory activities and some quiet play. And lots of open-ended toys, for him to use his imagination around. –> These are my plans. I will set things up and let him go at it, the way he wants. I am not going to CRINGE at the messes, untidy house and such things – I am going to move out and do my own stuff while he explores. Here are somethings we did recently (Note – we did have screen time on some of the said days, but very very little and there are no pictures, mostly because I try to be invisible lol!) –

1) Dump a little of shaving cream on windows and let him go at it. While he is at it, peek in and ask him if he can write his letters (which he already knows). Later on add some wet sponge (or wet cloth) and let him “clean” it.

2) A tiny bit of shampoo in a some water – some cars and stuff that need LOTs of cleaning.

3) When he spends time on his own, I spend sometime with him doing things he wants too. This include – playing his favorite games – Memory Game, Buzz the Bear game etc.

4) Colored rice in a bin (things hidden inside this is an added bonus!) – he loves this. Giving him some utensils, spoons – leads him to *cook*. Adding cars and stuff- that’s another level of pretend play.

5) Doing chores with me. He helps me with loading the washing machine and adding soap powder, making dosas (yep! he LOVES making pancakes), putting food in the microwave to heat ( he never takes it out, he understands stuff is hot), cleaning spills ( sometimes he makes a bigger mess, but that’s ok – I am sometimes in a total-Zen state), making rotis (tortillas) – LOVES!

6) Playdough has not been a success here. I keep it available and sometimes ask him to play with it… trying out variety of pins seen on Pinterest, nothing has helped him play on his own. Still waiting for something to Click there.

7) Adding water to maida (plain flour)- really WHAT is the fun in this? But you can see him do it and mix it and do it again!

8) Puzzles –Β Eichhorn Cars Wooden Frame Puzzle has been a great investment. I bought a similar looking one and got 6 puzzles (Mater and Lightening McQueen included). Wooden train puzzle from Skillofun was a HUGE hit as well.

9) Lego duplo – Though initially he did not warm upto it, he now stacks it up to make his swords and guns. If we play with him, he keeps going at it.

10) Blocks – I have a set of blocks from Classic toys, Anindita toys, Zenga blocks and City Blocks as well. We have kept them out and he loves making things with his Dad with these. This is still not an independent play item.

He loves me doing craft work with him, loves painting and doodling with me as well – These things we do as often as I can.

I will keep updating you all about my failures and successes. I am glad I am working on my goals (this was my #1 goal) and tackling them gives me a sense of achievement. How do you limit screen-time at your place, have you written a post, I would LOVE it if you share.

Here are some posts that are my absolute favorites for truck-load of ideas –

75 everyday activities for 3-yr olds from No Time for Flascards

Screen-free play ideas from NurtureStore

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20 thoughts on “TV

  1. Hi, we are a no-TV household from before our son was born. After whiling away time in front of TV for a couple of hours, I would always feel that I did not do anything. So, I decided I need to get out of this habit. It always gives you so much more time for everything else. I still feel we don’t have enough time for a lot of things but atleast I don’t feel guilty about wasting time in front of TV. Our son also does not watches any TV as a result, not even YouTube videos. He gets to watch them may be once in 20 days or so.
    Thanks a lot for activity ideas. I am going to make a note of a few for us πŸ™‚

    1. At one point I have really wanted to pack ours and keep it somewhere πŸ™‚ but it is not that easy. We still watch a LOT of movies πŸ™‚ That is our favorite thing to do (my Husband and mine). Kudos to you and your family for the no-TV household. It is really a brave thing, something we have to work towards.

  2. my about to become three year old also cannot play on her own. Its like a punishment for her. she would sit in my lap or hang around me even when I am having lunch!!
    i love collecting links like that in Pinterest, in the hope that I would gain patience to bear the messiness one day and I will start doing all the acitivities with her. wonder whether she would grow very fast before that! 😐

    1. Well I think we will both have to *work* towards it πŸ™‚ Trial and error is the way to go. There are some *mess*- free pay ideas too, will write a post on those for you πŸ™‚ I am sure we will be able to figure it out. πŸ™‚

  3. What an awesome post Veena! I read this as soon as i got an email notification…and could totally relate to it even though my boy is just a year old! One of my New Year goal is to create lot of Montessori-inspired play activities to keep him busy and harness his never-ending energy…sensory bins being one of them πŸ™‚

    1. I am so glad you are looking at the Montessori approach, it is awesome really. There are so many hands-on stuff you can do and loads of free online resources! I am sure your baby will benefit a lot. My favorite is the Treasure basket thing- with everyday child-safe stuff, it really does keep them occupied a lot!

  4. I feel for you. TV is a convenient “babysitter”, but does little to inspire creativity and active play. Setting time limits is a great idea. However, there are a few shows for children which are educational, such as Sesame Street. When you are tired, allow him to watch a movie or show that you approve of. If he has already seen it 100x, that’s okay, because he can study it, and the familiarity of it may be comforting as well. The fact that you are concerned and taking steps to prevent too much TV watching is a testament to your parenting skills. Don’t worry, Veens, I am certain that Aarya will learn to watch TV in moderation. πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks Suko, for your kind and encouraging words… I really needed that reassurance πŸ™‚ And you are right about the educational TV – I do let him watch Go Diego go and Dora the explorer – because they are really educational.

  5. I understand how TV can fill in when we are tired or hard pressed for time. But kids then get addicted to TV. The activities that you have planned seem pretty nice I think slowly and steadily you will be able to wean him off excessive TV viewing. Good luck!

  6. My daughter also got addicted during the time I was expecting Piglet. I was very unhappy and worried about her TV time, but once things settled down and Piglet came along, she dumped the TV in no time. Maybe it wasn’t addictive as I was worried about.

  7. We shut off our tv subscription 7 years ago, so our only option is dvds. We have a lot of kid dvds, but I only let them watch one a day, unless they’re sick. They seem much happier with a day full of structured activities.

    1. Wow! That is one thing we need to be really brave to do here! My Hubs will be totally against it because he needs his dose of TV too πŸ™‚ I think you are right, kids are much happier with structured play and some unstructured fun too!

  8. I am guilty of letting Gage watch tv sometimes and Jason is guilty of letting him watch youtube videos too long. The boy has so much therapy (for a 3 year old) that I sometimes feel like he’s earned the downtime, but sometimes I’m the one that needs the downtime! I like the easy shaving cream idea!

    1. Yes, yes.. I hear you – me TOO! I need that downtime too more than Aarya πŸ™‚ I have moved past the guilt now and I allot times for him and me… that works around here. Everyone needs a balance πŸ™‚

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