Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Awesome Screen-Free Activities for Kids!

This post contains Amazon Affiliate links.

Over the past few weeks we've been having fun exploring and playing using the new book by author Asia Citro called 150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids. Asia is also the creator behind the blog Fun at Home with Kids and I love sharing her activities here on Toddler Approved and on our Facebook Page

Today I am sharing one simple activity from 150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids that my daughter is currently obsessed with along with several other awesome screen-free activities. 

I have no problem letting my kids have screen time (TV time or iPad time) in moderation, but most of the time we try and do screen-free activities at our house. Asia sent me a free copy of her new book to check out a few weeks ago and it took awhile before my three-year-old even let me have a turn to look at it. Even my 2-year-old was sucked in!

Before we started creating our first step was going through the entire book and sticky noting every activity that we wanted to try. My daughter even begged to take the new book to quiet time with her so that she could look at the beautiful photos and plot our activities for the rest of the day.

The first activity we decided to try was the Ice Excavation Experiment. 

Here's a quick tutorial to follow although Asia shares more variations on this activity and photos on page 193 in her book 150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids

Materials Needed:

All we needed was a giant container or freezer safe bowl, cool little plastic toys (we used leftover Halloween ones), food coloring, turkey basters, salt, a cup, baking pan with a rim, and water!

Prep Ahead:

Ahead of time we created our giant ice block by adding some toys into the bottom of the bowl, adding some colored water, freezing the water for a few hours, adding some more toys, adding more water, freezing the water for a few more hours... and repeating again and again until we had several layers of toys and water frozen! 

I actually let our ice sit in the freezer for a few days, though overnight is plenty of time!


Once the ice was hard enough I ran the bottom of the bowl under hot water to melt the ice enough for it to come out of the big bowl. Then I placed the large piece of ice onto a baking sheet with a rim.

I got my daughter a cup of warm water with a little salt in it and a turkey baster and let her start squirting water at the large piece of ice to try and excavate her cool toys! 

The large turkey baster made the whole experience extra fun since my daughter hadn't used one of them before.

As the ice melted she was able to free the toys from the ice and started a collection on a little plate. After the ice melted more and more she even decided to hunt around and find some other items to help her get the toys out of the ice (forks, etc). I loved watching her as she thought about how to speed up the process of getting all of the toys out of the ice!

As the ice melted more and more I would occasionally have to suck up some water from the pan and put it into an extra big cup which I then tranferred to the sink... so that the water didn't overflow over the sides of the pan.

Once my toddler woke up from his nap and my older son (and his friend) got home, everyone wanted to help out with excavating the toys. It was a group effort but it also got quite competitive. I will definitely be doing this activity again when friends come over. All four kids were completely engrossed in trying to figure out how to melt the ice the fastest (and get the most toys).

Since our first ice excavation activity a few weeks ago my daughter has asked daily to do it again and again. The instructions were so easy and the activity was perfect to do with a multi-aged group!

150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids is full of ideas just like this ice excavation one where the instructions are simple, the materials are minimal and don't cost much, and the activities are really engaging for kids of all ages-- babies, toddlers, and older kids!

Here are some cool things about 150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids...

  • 120 activities can be completed using items found at a regular grocery store
  • There are 72 activities for babies!
  • Most of the activities were designed to encourage multi-age/sibling play
  • The photos are gorgeous, colorful, and there are SO many of them!

If you need a good holiday gift for any friends or relatives that have kids, this would be my first choice. You could even gather up some craft supplies and give the book as part of a craft kit. PS- If you're related to me please close your eyes otherwise you might not be surprised when you open my gift this Christmas!

Some simple activities included in the book that we plan to try include...

Taste-safe glow water (how cool!)

Colored Salt dough

Magic Foaming Dough

The Fish Small World Play activity

Natural-Dye Fingerpaint Recipe

Magic Expanding Paint

Erupting Volcano Dinosaur World

Asia also includes an entire section of the book devoted to Do It Yourself Toys. 

I am smitten by the pictures and am now trying to decide which one I want to tackle first. 

Some toys I love include the...

Outdoor Sound Wall

Magnetic Robot

Recycled Giant Lacing Box

and a Texture Wall

Here's a quick sneak peek video at some other cool activities in 150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids...

If you are interested in purchasing the book, here are some of the places you can find it...

Do you have any favorite screen-free activities that are always a hit at your house? 

Have you ever done an ice excavation before? What sort of items have you excavated?

You can find our other favorite ice activity here- Fizzy Ice!

Thanks so much Asia for sending me a free copy of your book to check out and explore! I have a feeling we will be doing tons of other activities from your book next week when the kids are off from school for Thanksgiving. I don't think the book has left the kitchen table all week since someone is always sitting down to look at it. You rock! Congrats on such a big accomplishment!


  1. What a great activity! Can't wait to try it out with my kids!

  2. I totally want to try this and freeze some toys in ice for my little girl to try to get out. What an awesome idea!


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