TV-Free Ideas for School Kids

Indoor Stimulation

A Trip to the Supermarket: Ask your child to choose a dish to prepare for a meal -- a pudding, a salad, a sandwich. Have your child check to see what supplies are on hand and then make a shopping list. At the supermarket, let your child select the food on the list. First, your child decides which items are the best buys and makes selections. Also have your child write the price of each item on the list and if possible figure the total, checking the prices against the sales receipt.

On The Move: Sharpen math skills on trips. Use even short trips around town. For example, at the gas station, ask your child how much gas you needed and the cost per gallon. On the highway, ask your children to read the signs and check the different speed limits. Then ask them to watch the speedometer readings and notice how fast or slow the car is going. Have your children estimate distances between cities and check the estimates on a road map.

Newspapers: Introduce your child to the many kinds of information in the daily newspaper. Ask your child to find the pages containing news about government leaders, editor's opinions, weather reports, car sales, house and apartment rentals, and want ads. Discuss how to use this information, for example, use the weather section to check temperatures across the nation and the world. This is good geography practice, too. Discuss baseball and football scores and averages on the sports pages. Who are the high scores? What are the percentages?


Follow the News: As a family, choose an important news event to follow for a day or two. Ask each person to find as much information on the topic as possible -- read newspapers and listen to the radio. Then talk about what everyone learned.

Looking at Advertisements: Take a closer look. Help your children improve their thinking and writing skills by looking carefully at newspaper and magazine advertisements. What is the main point of the ad? What details does it use to communicate its message? For example, a strong, handsome man holding a soft drink in an expensive car with a beautiful woman at his side is telling us something about the soft drink.

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