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C’mon, admit it. You sometimes use the television set as a cheap babysitter. That’s ok…we ALL do it sometimes! Ah, but it’s a double-edged sword, because kids who watch a lot of TV have trouble keeping themselves entertained, which in the long run makes your job harder!

If you’re trying to limit the TV viewing in your household, you might need a little inspiration. Try these TV-free activities guaranteed to keep the kids busy… at least for a little while!

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1) Make paper airplanes
Warning: This one is highly addictive! My autistic son loved making paper airplanes (between the ages of 5-9). Buy them a book on the fine arts of paper airplane making, and then put your feet up and read a book.

2) Make a tower with toothpicks and peas
Go ahead- encourage them to play with their food!

3) Make homemade ice cream
Put two parts milk and cream and one part sugar in a coffee can, with any flavorings you want. Put the lid on, then put it in a bigger can and pour ice around the little can. Put rock salt on the ice. Put a lid on the big can, and give it to your child to roll it back and forth for about 1/2 hour or until it turns into ice cream! (Do this one even if it’s winter…I won’t tell!)

4) Give them a magnet and instruct them to run it all over the house and see what they find.
And loose couch change is fair game!

*NOTE-Having a magnet is OK, but if it is a toddler, Kindergartener or Pet this should be done with parent permission and very high supervision while playing. If you do choose this activity make sure it is not a finger sized magnet, like the size of a dime or nickel, look for magnets that are long and big enough to see with your two eyes and hold in your hand like a long stick or small umbrella.

5) If you have bunk beds, put blankets around the lower one and make a submarine. Make it a yellow blanket. Then sing the appropriate Beatles tune.

6) Play the Game of Life Board Game

a. Excellent at teaching your special needs and atypical children about life and the expenses that come with it and most of all it is so much fun!

7) Build a mini log cabin

8) Have a tic-tac-toe tournament

9) Make your own soda.
Here’s an easy recipe: How to Make Healthy Homemade Soda |

10) Make a card for Grandma.
Get out the rubber stamps, art supplies and construction paper and make a greeting card for Grandma or another loved one.

11) Bake a cake
Buy the kids an easy cake or brownie mix and let them loose in the kitchen. Tell them they can enjoy the fruits of their labors as long as they clean up all mess.

12) Make up or purchase a treasure hunt
Buy cheap dollar store toys. Hide in your closet. Make a list of items they must find outside. (A white rock, a feather, a red leaf, a penny, etc) Tell them an exciting booty awaits when they bring all the items to you.

13) Make a cave inside the house.

Put old blankets over the backs of chairs or over a table to make a tent. Grab a flashlight and instruct child to go read scary stories inside it.

Examples: 9 creative indoor forts – Today’s Parent – Today’s Parent (