Photo of Karen Deerwester

Karen Deerwester

Professional Parenting Expert

No TV: Grade School

Featured On:

  • NBC
Hobbies and personal interests explode with school-age children, as they know what they like and love learning new things. Follow your child’s interests. Books, writing stories or songs, drawing or painting are perennial favorites. Here are exciting and creative Alternatives to TV to add to your favorite activities.

Initially, some children will go through withdrawal without TV. Do not ask your child to turn off the TV when you want to catch up on emails, finish a work project, or hide in your room after a stressful day. You’re not likely to meet with success. Even if you aren’t participating in the same non-TV activity, your presence in the same room makes a difference.

Best Alternative to TV Grade School by Karen Deerwester

The Best You Can Get

  • Frigits Deluxe

    Karen says: Frigits are mesmerizing as children discover new combinations of runs for their marble roller coaster. Your child won’t even realize he’s learning principles of energy and inertia! Hopefully you have a magnetic refrigerator so you can catch up on school gossip as you’re preparing dinner or packing lunches. Otherwise, try adding a white board in a convenient place.

    • Make-your-own magnetic marble roller coaster
    • Sticks to the refrigerator, file cabinets, and whiteboards
    • Crazy science in action
    • For ages 7 and up
  • Kapla 200 Piece Wooden Building Set in Barrel

    Karen says: The simplicity of Kapla design inspires enormous creativity and problem solving. You will be amazed by the possibilities – birds, castles, and even the Eiffel Tower. Great for groups or for individual use. Add additional colors for more discriminating projects.

    • Unique rectangular planks for imaginative building
    • Made from renewable French forests
    • Complex design options for advanced builders
    • Used by schools and museums
    • Kit includes booklet with 40 illustrations
  • Once Upon a Time Board Game

    Karen says: A family game for word lovers and story tellers who enjoy an audience. Parents may want to preview the story cards to remove difficult vocabulary words or some of the original, pre-Disney fairy tale endings. Add this to your family game collection along with classic favorites including Monopoly (or Monopoly Jr.), chess, and checkers.

    • Card game with “Once Upon a Time” cards and “Happy Ever After” cards
    • Create a story together
    • Watch out for others interrupting to change turns
    • Be the first to use all your cards
    • For ages 6 and up
  • Exxel Youth 5 Piece Explorer Set

    Karen says: Turn your backyard into a campground for the evening with camp songs and ghost stories. Play flashlight tag and compass hide-n-seek. Roast s’mores or make breakfast on a camping stove.

    • 5 ft. by 4 ft. dome tent
    • 28” by 57” sleeping bag
    • Inflatable chair
    • Flashlight and compass
    • Durable and easy to use
  • Melissa and Doug Kissing Horses Jigsaw Puzzle

    Karen says: This is a favorite Melissa and Doug puzzle that most children will enjoy. Parents of younger children can join in the fun, too. Puzzles give children a sense of accomplishment and pride as they skillfully fit the last piece into the final picture.

    • 200 cardboard pieces
    • Perfect for friends or siblings to do together
    • Sturdy and durable for repeat uses
    • For ages 8 and up

You will be happy with any of these

  • My Chunky Funky Scarf by Alex Toys

    Karen says: Move over celebrity knitters like Julia Roberts, Madonna, and Cameron Diaz. Your child will be a star too wearing her own hand knitted scarf. Try these easy-to-use needles and you’ll be ready to check out all the great knitting books for kids on

    • Simple first knitting kit
    • Chunky wooden needles and fat yarn
    • Easy directions
    • For ages 7 and up
  • Culinary Herb Garden Kit

    Karen says: Your first herbs should be ready to use in less than a week! Enjoy the simplicity of in-home herb gardening. Your child will learn first-hand the flavors and scents of culinary masterpieces. Family dinners will be better than ever with your child will be chopping and cooking right by your side.

    • Grow herbs in your kitchen
    • Space-saving size dome
    • Enjoy fresh herbs for months
    • Basil, cilantro, dill, parsley, and sage
    • 5 seed packets contain seeds for 3 or 4 plantings
  • Zoobilee Jump Rope by Skookum

    Karen says: Exercise is fun when you’re jumping and rhyming. Buy 7’-8’ rope for children 4’10” to 5’3”, 9’ for children 5’4”-5’10”, and longer for jumping with friends. Start a neighborhood block party to get everyone in on the fun.

    • Fun animal colors
    • Choose your length from 7’ – 16’
    • Comfort grip with #5 cord rope
  • Family Talk from Around the Table Games

    Karen says: This simple ring of cards brings families together. Children learn to express themselves as they learn more about the people they love. Add as a daily activity at the dinner table or to weekly game night. Use on those long vacation car rides or to-and-from school.

    • Conversation starter cards
    • Great for dinner time, car travel, or vacations
    • Fun and revealing
    • The National Parenting Center 2008 Seal of Approval
  • If Wishes Were Fishes Board Game

    Karen says: Here’s a family game that requires thinking and planning. Players are fishermen who decide the best times to buy and sell fish. Not all fish are equally valuable and you may run out of storage space. So fishermen try to catch the fish who will grant your wishes. You certainly learn about people when playing strategy games together.

    • Voted Best Family Board Game 2008 by Games Magazine
    • Strategy game for 2-5 players
    • With wooden fishes and purple rubber worms
    • For ages 10 and up

Related Articles