Amidst the constant connectivity of everyday life, you may find yourself — like so many others — searching for a way to take a break from your screen. Phones, computers, TVs, and tablets are a critical component of our modern lives, but occasionally it's nice to unplug and engage.
According to a study published in the BMJ Open Ophthalmology journal in 2018, the significant increase in digital device usage over the last few years has caused an increase in vision stress and dry eye, so it's good to give your eyes a break when you can.
The good news is that there are plenty of screenless activities that foster creativity and engage the mind — it just depends on whether you're looking for a social or solo option. If you're waiting for the inspiration to get off the grid, check out this compilation of activities that require zero devices to enjoy. We've also put together a shopping list to help you get started shutting off your screens.
1. Board games
There is a booming industry of board games that cater to a variety of ages, investments, and imaginations. From elaborate, cooperative role-playing tabletop escapes to cheeky adult card games, you're sure to find an option for you. There are plentiful adult games that require strategy, creativity, and cunning — whether you're fighting monsters, saving the world from disease, or revealing a murderer.
These are the ideal screen-free activity if you're looking for something to do with friends. You can set up a weekly game night and either ask friends to take turns bringing their favorite games or, if you're looking to commit, invest in your own board game collection to have on-hand.
2. Coloring books
Coloring books have no age limit and are a great activity to do alone or with others, as an adult or with kids. Whether you're 5 or 65, there's a coloring book suited to you.
You can even pick your coloring book depending upon your mood. Some are intended to calm and soothe, such as those featuring mandalas and geometric figures rooted in spirituality, while others are for entertainment value, like those with sci-fi or fantasy scenes.
Either way, this simple, artistic pastime provides endless, enjoyable diversions. Coloring can be a relaxing, meditative activity that allows you to focus your mind without the distraction of a screen.
Jigsaw puzzles are a timeless undertaking — the ideal way to pass a rainy afternoon with friends or to unwind your mind after a long day at work. What's more, they're versatile, and you can pick from various difficulty levels and different image types.
If you're interested in puzzles but are looking for an option beyond the classic jigsaw, the answer might be puzzle games, a great way to hone your spatial reasoning and defeat boredom. These are often less of a time commitment than jigsaw puzzles and are easy to take anywhere for a screenless activity on the go.
Crocheting, knitting, and cross-stitching are terrific home activities that engage both the mind and the body while also channeling your focus. What's more, these tasks produce something that you can use to decorate your home or gift to a friend.
While needlework can be particularly elaborate or involved, it's also welcoming to beginners and has a relatively easy learning curve. Both your attention and your hands are required, meaning you'll be less tempted to reach for your device.
5. Terrarium building
Simultaneously enhance your home and engage in a creative, screen-free activity by building a terrarium to display some house-friendly plants. These can be as simple or as intricate as you want to make them, and they offer opportunity for personal flair and ingenuity.
The basics for any terrarium include a glass structure and a plant or succulent of choice — the rest is up to you. Air plants are great if you want to forgo soil and construct a lighter terrarium. Rocks, pebbles, moss, twigs, shells, trinkets, figurines, and toys are among the many things you can add to your terrarium for a unique look or feel.
As long as your plant catches some sunlight, can be watered, and won't overgrow the container, you can add whatever you want to create something special for your home — making this a beautifying, rewarding screenless activity.
6. Screen-free activities shopping list
Colored pencils: In order to make the most of your coloring book, you need the proper tools at hand. This large collection of premium colored pencils from Prismacolor offers every hue you could want to make your designs really pop.
Jigsaw puzzle: It's worthwhile to keep a puzzle on standby at home for those dreary, just-right jigsaw puzzle days. Educa has a 1,000 piece puzzle that details an antique world map and should keep you busy for at least a couple of hours, making it a great place to start.
Knitting kit: If you're looking to jump into knitting but find yourself unsure of where to start, a knitting kit is a handy introductory guide. This option from Rising Phoenix includes two balls of yarn in your choice of color, two needles, and an instruction guide to make a thick and soft blanket.
Glass terrarium: The best way to get started with building a terrarium is finding a size and shape of container you like first, then filling it with plants and other items. Mkono offers a variety of options, including this set of two globes and a display stand.
Anthony Marcusa is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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