100 Alternatives to Watching TV!

Turn off TV
  1. READ a good book!
  2. PAINT A ROCK – create a masterpiece for indoors or out.
  3. PLAN A PICNIC – choose the place, the food and the fun.
  4. It´s hot! Organize a WATER BALLOON TOSS!
  5. KEEP A JOURNAL during the summer. Record your thoughts in a private book and someday go back and read them.
  6. Create an OBSTACLE COURSE….over a wall, down a slide, across the monkey bars. Do it over and over and you´ll need a stopwatch.
  7. Clear a space indoors, stretch a string between the backs of 2 chairs and PLAY BALLOON VOLLEYBALL.
  8. GO TO THE LIBRARY with your family, check out books and find out what events are upcoming.
  9. BUILD A FORT, indoors or out. You could make a lean-to with long stakes or use a tarp like a tent.
  10. In the car play the classic game of logic and reason – TWENTY QUESTIONS. One person thinks of an item. The 1st question is : Animal, Vegetable of Mineral??? The 2nd question should be – Is it bigger than a breadbox? Each player takes turns asking questions that must have a ‘yes´ or ‘no´ answer.
  11. Lead a TRASH SCAVENGER HUNT at the park! Make a list of 10 to 15 things you often see on the ground that should be in the trash, like bags, bottle caps, cigarette butts, etc. Give each person a copy of the list, a bag, and gloves. At the end, tally up and see who´s the best trash collector.
  12. FASHION YOUR OWN WIND CHIMES out of a mason jar lid or hanger, string or ribbon, and things that will jangle or chime like bells, old silverware, nails, keys that open nothing, and other things.
  13. Here is a recipe for PEANUT BUTTER PLAY DOUGH :

    1 cup peanut butter
    1 cup white corn syrup
    1 cup powdered sugar
    3 cups powdered milk

    Mix peanut butter, corn syrup and powdered sugar together. Add powdered milk and knead with your hands until smooth. Play with it and eat!
  14. Let´s GO FLY A KITE!!
  15. Sound off!!! WRITE THE PRESIDENT @ The White House, 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington D.C. 20500.
  16. You´re it! PLAY FLASHLIGHT TAG. Everyone needs a flashlight. When you move it must be on but if you stand still you can sink into darkness. The ‘it´ person keeps his or her light on.
  17. Start to LEARN THE HAND ALPHABET. Spell your name and converse secretly with others who know it!
  18. TAKE A TRIP TO THE ZOO and photograph or sketch the animals.
  19. PLANT A TREE FROM A PIT and see if it will grow.
  20. Before a trip place a number of small objects IN THE BAG. When the trip is well underway bring it out and try to guess what things are by feel only.
  21. Organize a BLOCK PARTY for the 4th of July.
  22. Make a NATURE SCULPTURE by collecting shells, rock, sticks, and pinecones and things from around your house.
  23. Popsicles are a summer treat but JUICE BARS you make yourself are delicious and don´t have all the sugar. Experiment with combinations of juices.
  24. Plan a family BIKE RIDE in your own neighbor or transport your bikes to another town. Always be safe!
  25. Ever play HOMONYMS? “I´m thinking of a word that´s a letter and a drink. (t/tea)” or “I´m thinking of a word that means not a male and another that the postman delivers.” (male/mail). How about bored/board, ant/aunt, rose/rows, way/weigh, use/ewes?
  26. Draw a TREASURE MAP around your house or neighborhood and have a read treat or surprise at X-marks-the-spot!
  27. Hide-and-seek is fun but try the SARDINES variation! One player takes off and hides in a place big enough for the whole group (like a closet of under the bed). After 100 the 2nd person finds the 1st and hides with them. The 3rd joins and so on until the last person finds the whole group.
  28. Plan to spend a whole day in GOLDEN GATE PARK. It is a remarkable expanse from the panhandle to the beach! Did you know that there is a free shuttle with 15 stops including Conservatory of Flowers, Japanese Tea Garden, Strybing Arboretum, Stow Lake, Buffalo Paddock, the Polo Fields?
  29. BUILD A BIRDBATH for your fine-feathered friends! Use any large shallow dish and set it up off the ground. (on a stump?)
  30. To pass the time – IMPROBABLE CUISINE. French fried snake toes on whole wheat bricks. Camel wing stew. Cold hippo feathers. How about you?
  31. TAKE URBAN RUBBINGS of buildings, bark, or leaves with interesting textures. Use the sides of big crayons
  32. Cut out a good collection of food pictures from magazines and create a FOOD FACE (or cars, animals, machines…).
  33. Spin the globe, or put your finger on a world map and wherever your finger stops cook a GREAT MEAL from that part of the world. The library has many books to help you plan the menu!
  34. CHALLENGE YOURSELF to swim, bike, or run faster. Pick a course and time yourself as the weeks go by.
  35. Cut out interesting pictures from magazines and organize them into the illustrations for a BOOK YOU WRITE.
  36. Make a RUBBER BAND JUMP ROPE. Attach it to a door knob or 2 and you´ve got limbo or a high jump.
  37. If you haven´t already, start collecting STATE QUARTERS.
  38. Why go far? CAMP OUT at Bothe Park just 4½ miles from St. Helena.
  39. Hummingbirds are unique. They get power from their up-wing strokes, not just the down-stroke. They can fly upside-down and they are small and fast. Plant a HUMMINGBIRD GARDEN just for them! Certain plants attract them.
  40. How many different LICENSE PLATES can you spot???
  41. Make your own NEIGHBORHOOD TRAVEL GUIDE – include the things you find interesting like where the flowers are that smell the best, or whose dogs barks loudest, or best house to trick-or-treat at, or ???
  42. Do you have a COLLECTION that could be displayed?Cover some cardboard with fabric. Criss-cross the fabric with ribbons and tuck postcards, stamps, or pictures behind the ribbons.
  43. For a treat serve someone BREAKFAST IN BED. Frosty OJ with a few berries in it, fruit salad, bagel and cream cheese…YUM.
  44. Use sidewalk chalk to draw your own HOPSCOTCH.
  45. Make your FAMILY TREE. Use photographs if you can.
  46. Play a game of MARBLES. Draw a circle in a patch of dirt. Each player puts 5 or 6 marbles around the ring evenly spaced. From the shooting line (about 6´ away) flick a shooter at the ring (knuckle must touch the ground). If your shooter hits a marble off the ring you win it. Add your shooter to the ring if you miss. He, or she, with the most wins.
  47. Find a favorite BOARD GAME and play it tonight!
  48. Have you ever gone to ARMSTRONG WOODS, just 5 minutes from Guerneville on the Russian River? It´s free and you can walk beneath the redwoods where it is cool and quiet and amazing.
  49. Dry flower petals from your own garden can make a great POTPOURRI. Scent it with lavender, cedar shavings, lemon peel, rosemary or spices. Put your homemade potpourri in cloth bag and you now have a SACHET.
  50. AUDIO BOOKS checked out from the library make car drives better.
  51. To do the LAP GAME gather as many people as you can (at least 10). Have everyone stand in a circle touching shoulder to shoulder. All turn right and slowly sit down on the knees of the person behind you. It works. Really.
  52. Make your own PIÑATA! Put candy and small toys in a paper bag. Decorate it and attach a cord to hang it. Now it´s ready to bash!
  53. EAT DIRT! (AND LIKE IT) : put some chocolate pudding in a cup, stick in some gummy worms and sprinkle on cookie crumbs. Yum.
  54. BOCCE is not just for kids and you can play it in your backyard or park. Toss the pallino (the small ball) and see who can bowl closest.
  55. Take turns drawing a line or shape on paper. It´s called CHAIN-DRAWING; see what crazy things you end up with.
  56. Be an outdoor artist, all you need is chalk for SIDEWALK ART.
  57. To play the TRAY GAME one player secretly arranges an assortment of small objects on a tray. Players get to see the tray for 1 minute. After the tray is removed players write down what they remember seeing. Player with most wins.
  58. Why not take the FERRY TO SAN FRANCISCO, have lunch @ Taylor´s Refresher in the Ferry Building (compare it to the original in St. Helena), then walk up to Chinatown.
  59. To make a GRASS WHISTLE find a fat blade of grass. Hold it flat and taut between the outer surfaces of both thumbs so that it forms a reed, Just below your knuckles there will be an oval to blow through. TWRK!
  60. ALPHABET GEOGRAPHY is a brain-teaser. One person names a city, country, or state – “France” for example. The next person has to name a place that starts with the last letter, like “England”. Then maybe “Detroit”. Let´s see…hmmm “T”.
  61. Learn the NAMES OF TREES in your neighborhood.
  62. Hang up a large world map and place sticky notes with info about your relatives and ancestors birthplaces on it. Create a RELATIVE MAP!
  63. Have a TEA PARTY in the garden. If there´s not enough people invite the teddy bears, they love cucumber sandwiches and cambric tea!
  64. Set up your own GOOFY GOLF COURSE using objects scavenged from your home: cardboard tubes, basket handles, large cans with both ends cut. Make flags from straightened coat hangers and triangles of paper.
  65. Make your own FAMILY CROSSWORD PUZZLE using Discovery School's PUZZLEMAKER.
  66. Make GIANT BUBBLES outdoors with this formula : for each cup of water add 1tb of glycerin and 1/3 cup dishwashing liquid. Make a wand out of a coat hanger and dip it into a tray of formula.
  67. At night have a lamp shine on a blank wall and make HAND SHADOWS.
  68. Next time you GO TO THE BEACH, instead of collecting shells, take gloves and bags and help the world by collecting trash.
  69. Set up a cozy OUTDOOR READING SPOT. Use cushions, pillows and blankets to make it comfortable.
  70. Make up a CAR TRAVEL PACK for someone going on a long car trip and fill it with fun surprises and treats for the road.
  71. Is there somewhere safe nearby where you can hang up a TIRE SWING?
  72. Help make a FIRST AID KIT for your outdoor adventures. Gather an ace bandage, antibiotic ointment, bandages, gauze pads, needle, tweezers, cloth tape, alcohol swabs, second skin for burns & blisters and put them in a fanny pack or lunchbox.
  73. Make CONFETTI PETAL ICE CUBES by freezing an ice tray ½ full and then adding edible petals (lavender, nasturtium, roses) from your garden. Cover with water and freeze hard.
  74. It´s hot! Make ICE HANDS by filling latex gloves with water and closing them with rubber bands. Pull off the gloves when frozen.
  75. Make an ALPHABET BOOK about something that interests you.
  76. COLLECT STARDUST @ the beach. Drag a strong magnet along a sandy beach. About 20% of the nickel and iron particles collected on the magnet are bits from meteors.
  77. Make your own PLAY-DOUGH. Combine 2 cups flour, 1 cup salt, & 2 tsp cream of tartar. Pour 2 cups warm water, 2 tbsp oil, and 1 packet Kool-Aide in a pan and add the dry ingredients, mixing well over heat on stove for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat when hard to mix and knead while cooling. Store in airtight container.
  78. Have you been to TRAINTOWN in Sonoma?
  79. Play a memory game. 1st person: I´m going on a trip”. WHATCHA GONNA BRING? “An alligator”. 2nd person : “I´m going on a trip and I´m going to bring an alligator and a baseball (or bear, banana, anything B). 3rd person : continues alligator, baseball and a c…. How´s your memory?
  80. To do the LAP GAME gather as many people as you can (at least 10). Have everyone stand in a circle touching shoulder to shoulder. All turn right and slowly sit down on the knees of the person behind you. It works. Really.
  81. Nature is the ultimate arts and crafts supply center. Make a NATURE MOBILE using items you´ve found.
  82. Compile a FAMILY COOKBOOK using favorite recipes from your family.
  83. Take a BLINDMAN HIKE! Space people evenly along a rope and blindfold them (or close eyes). The leader (not blindfolded) slowly pulls the rope and leads everyone around carefully describing the obstacles.
  84. Hang a WORLD MAP up and every time you read a book that has a real place as it´s setting mark it on the map. It´s great for learning geography.
  85. The soft glow of PAPER BAG SAND LANTERNS lining a walk is spectacular. Decorate the outside of lunchbags and roll down a 3” to 4” cuff. Put several inches of sand in each bag and a votive candle.
  86. Make real POTATO HEADS using other vegetables (broccoli for weird hair, carrot slice eyes, etc.) or play-dough stuck with toothpicks.
  87. Are you ready to BAG A PEAK? Reaching the top of a mountain is a thrill, but be prepared! Mt. St. Helena, Mt. Diablo, and Mt. Tamalpais are all do-able if you´re up to the challenge!
  88. Thread fish line through a straw and tie it between 2 stationary objects. Blow up an oblong balloon (don´t tie it off) and tape it to the straw. Release it. BALLOON ZOOM.
  89. THE ALPHABET GAME – As you travel done the road find a sign that starts with “A” (Angwin – 5 miles), then “B” (Bob” Big Boy)…
  90. Add a twist to the game of TAG. Try Statues (players are frozen when tagged until thawed by the touch of another player, Shadows (“It” tags players by stepping on their shadows), Three-legged (Tie teams of 2 @ ankles and knees), or Flashlight (“It” tags with a beam of light).
  91. Sure you can draw a pretty picture by conventional means. Try some FANCY FOOTWORK and draw using your toes, not fingers!
  92. Prove that fluids move through a plant´s vascular system by cutting a STALK OF CELERY and putting one leg in a glass of blue water and the other in a glass of red water. Leave overnight & ….
  93. Make STILTS using 2 same size clean empty cans, and cut 2 pieces of clothesline as long as the length from the ground to your armpit. Make 2 holes with a punch can opener in the cans and thread the rope through and knot. Now try to walk on them!
  94. A group of fish is called a school, a group of sheep a flock but what is a clowder a group of? Glue animal pictures on index cards & write their ANIMAL GROUPS on back. bee (swarm), cat (clowder), chicken (flock), cow (herd), dog (kennel), donkey (pace), frog (knot), goose (gaggle), pig (drove), rabbit (warren), swan (wedge), turkey (rafter)
  95. Take a walk where every decision is made by a FLIP-OF-A-COIN. Which way at the end of your driveway? Heads – turn left, tails – turn right. At the corner? Heads – left, tails – right, …. Incidentally, have you been to the The Flip Site?
  96. Who knows how to play DOMINOS? I don´t but it sure is fun to set them up in long lines and then knock the end one!
  97. SUTTER´S FORT, located in midtown Sacramento, is a fantastic place to experience living history. It´s a step back to 1847. Open daily 10-5.
  98. Play ROCKET BALL. Put an old tennis ball in the toe of a nylon or legs cut from panty hose. Knot the nylon above the ball. Ready? Swing it around your head, toss it in the air, or bounce it against a wall.
  99. Take turns doing things that might make you SQUIRM. Opera sing your grocery list, yodel, speak in another accent, play air guitar, make 3 wishes out loud, yell like Tarzan, ….
  100. READ a good book! (YES, we repeated that one!)