This is the BEST way to get kids excited about screen-free activities! Kids will love the satisfaction of scratching the paint mixture off the circles and get super excited when the activity is revealed! Read on to learn the scratch off recipe, different ways to present this screen-free board to your kids, and activity ideas.
We are only a couple weeks into winter and the extra screen time is already creeping in. It can be difficult to pull my boys away from their favorite TV shows so I got creative and thought of a way to get them excited about turning off the TV. My boys are loving the screen-free board, so safe to say IT’S WORKING!
Creating a List of Activities:
Make a list of activities with your kids. It needs to be activities that they are excited about or this board will not work very well;)
Also, take into consideration if you want to be involved in the activities. Do you want these to be independent activities so mom and dad can get a break or do you want to play with your child during the activities?
I aimed for activities that would keep my boys’ entertained for at least 30 minutes. I’ve noticed that they usually stay away from the TV and move on to another activity when they are finished with their scratch off activity.
Here are some ideas:
Indoor Activities: board games, puzzles, play dough, magnetic tiles, play with story stones, color, hide and seek, build a fort, paint, kinetic sand, play a card game, build with blocks, make oobleck, wikki stix, water painting, KID’S CHOICE
Outdoor Activities: (we will make a separate board for snow activities) play a sport, cloud gaze, build a bonfire, make a hiking stick and take it to your favorite trail, bird watch, collect sticks, walk the dog, climb a tree, tag, nature walk, count bird nests, hot chocolate hike, make beaded sticks, KID’S CHOICE
- Dish Soap
- Acrylic paint– We used a light blue
- Cardboard or card stock
- Transparent contact paper or packing tape
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Here’s How I Made The Board:
First I wrote the words “screen-free scratch off” on the boards with black Sharpie. I made one for indoor activities and one for outdoor activities. We live in Wisconsin, so I don’t want to have a mix of indoor and outdoor activities on one board only to have the kids scratch and reveal “go on a nature walk” when it’s -30 outside. That’s not going to happen! So we are saving the indoor activities for days when the weather is not cooperating.
Next I traced the bottom of a mason jar to make my circles and chose activities from the list we made together and wrote them in the circles. My kids weren’t in the room for this step because I wanted to keep the activity spots a secret.
Now that your boards are ready, you can cover them with contact paper. You really just need to cover the circles with contact paper, but it seemed much easier to just cover the entire section with the circles.
You can also use packing tape for this step.
Now it’s time to make the scratch off mixture!
It’s so incredibly simple and this stuff really works! I mixed 2 tablespoons of paint with 1 tablespoon of dish soap. That’s it! I used the blue Dawn dish soap, but I don’t think it matters what type you use.
Now, just paint it on the circles. I painted two separate coats to make it nice and thick. As you can see, it doesn’t need to be perfect!
My boys were patiently waiting for the paint to dry and couldn’t wait to test it out! My four year old needed a little help getting it going and then quickly got the hang of it.
My six year old had no problems at all! The paint peeled right off the contact paper, clearly revealing the activity underneath.
**Here’s a tip: If you want to reuse the board, just write your activities on post-it notes and place them under the contact paper! That way, when you are finished scratching the activities, you can peel those off and move them around to different spots or write completely different activities on new post-it notes! You should be able to use the same contact paper for several rounds.**
Save it for later and Pin it!
I hope you give this activity a try! I promise, your little nature lovers will love it as much as my boys.
Need more screen-free activity ideas?! Check out: