Five alternatives to screen time during the school holidays

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Top five activities to stay away from the screen these school holidays

Staying away from the screen during the school holidays can be difficult – especially because of the cold weather. However, did you know that spending too much time on the screen could have a negative effect on kids?

These include potential issues with weight management, social-emotional development, as well as sleep disturbances and mental health conditions, to name only a few.

(Statistics sourced from the Australian Institute of Family Studies) 

The list below offers some fun alternatives for staying away from the screen while still being entertained during the school holidays. 

1. Get cooking!

Cooking is a great way to stay creative and occupied from the screen. Benefits of cooking include: 

  • Improving verbal communication skills 
  • Improving reading skills 
  • Increasing focus and attention 
  • Supporting independence  
  • Reinforcing positive hygiene messages 
  • Promoting healthy eating 
  • Boosting self-confidence 
  • Promoting family bonding  

Getting the kids involved can be as simple as getting them to peel potatoes or as creative as inventing a new pizza flavour.  


Quick tip: Don’t know where to start? No stress, we have you covered! Check out some simple, family-friendly recipes here.

2. Hold a dance party 

Dancing is a fun way to get exercise and spend time with others. For kids living with disability, dancing can have many benefits including: 

  • Improving physical fitness 
  • Improving flexibility and strength 
  • Increasing confidence and self-esteem 
  • Improving coordination 
  • Encouraging creativity 
  • Reducing stress 
  • Bonding with other people in a friendly environment  

Parents can bring the dance floor home by making space in the living room or bedroom and providing props such as ribbon or silk so that kids can be creative with their moves. It is important for parents to let their kids know that there are no right or wrong ways to dance – every move is fun and enjoyable. Bringing friends or siblings into dance parties is a great way to ensure social interaction and stimulation.  


Quick tip: Want to organise a dance party but don’t know where to begin? Check out our Creative Dance at Home guide with all the tips and tricks to get moving.

3. Book it to the library 

If staying at home is getting a bit boring, local libraries hold regular school holiday events to cater for all kinds of kids! From craft, animal demonstrations, sports activities and science experiments–there’s something there for everybody. Often, these events are completely free or offered at an affordable cost for parents.

Library activities are a great way for kids to keep busy while also meeting others who have the same interests. Libraries also have accessibility plans and run events that are catered to or friendly towards people living with disability.

If you have any questions about accessibility, it is important you contact your library prior to enrolling in any events. 


Quick tip: Unsure about heading to the library but want to encourage your kid to read during the school holidays. Check out our Reading routines article to understand the benefits of reading over screen time. 

4. Get crafty  

Did you know you have an art studio inside your very home? Regular household items such as egg cartons, milk bottles and candles can provide hours of artistic entertainment for kids who want to get creative. The benefits of arts and craft include: 

  • Opportunities for expression that sometimes cannot be captured through oral or written communication 
  • Self confidence  
  • Development of listening skills 
  • Engaging sensory skills and stimulation  


Quick tip: Need some ideas to get crafty and creative? Check out our Four Easy and Fun Art and Craft Activities guide to get inspired.  

5. Game (away from the screen) 

Games are a fun way to keep the mind busy and entertained. They promote communication, listening skills and creativity in a shared and friendly environment. Instead of jumping straight onto the screen, card games, board games and fun ‘make-up’ scenarios can be much more engaging and enriching. Benefits of these include: 

  • Improved communication skills 
  • Improved problem-solving skills 
  • Listening skills 
  • Confidence 

Playing games together is a much less isolating experience than being stuck to the screen. Getting the whole family for a fun game day or night is the perfect way to start or end the school holidays! 


Quick tips: Choosing a game to play can be hard. We have compiled a few helpful guides here, here and here.   

If you found the tips in this article helpful, you may also enjoy our tips on navigating the pitfalls of too much screen time to support your kids development.

Every school holidays, Novita offers many therapy groups run by our qualified staff that allow your kids to continue their therapy whilst enjoying new experiences, with new friends in a fun and supportive environment.

These therapy groups can be funded through your NDIS package, under support category: Improved Daily Living Skills and are a great alternative to screen time. Learn more at our Groups page or find a therapy group near you.