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52 Things You Can Do Instead of Watching TV

52 Things You Can Do Instead of Watching TV

Did you know that, this year, the average American kid will spend 1,500 hours watching TV...and just 900 hours in school?

Or that, this week, the average American kid will spend 1,680 minutes watching TV...and less than 40 minutes in meaningful conversation with his or her parents?

All in all, the average American watches 4 hours of TV a day, adding up to 250 billion hours of TV watched by Americans every year.

Is it any wonder that 5 out of 10 Americans say they watch too much TV? Or that more than 7 out of 10 parents say they'd like to limit how much TV their kids watch?

Many families are doing that very thing this week (April 17th to 23rd) during National Turn Off TV Week. National Turn Off TV Week is sponsored by TV Free America, a national nonprofit organization founded in 1994 to raise awareness about the harmful effects of excessive television-watching, and to encourage Americans to reduce the amount of television that they watch.

LearningRx, the largest one-on-one brain training company in the world, supports National Turn Off TV Week, proposing that families fill that time with activities that are not only healthier for the brain, but for relationships as well.

The TV Turnoff Network has compiled the following 52 things you can do instead of watching television this week:


  1. Volunteer in a school to teach reading, math, computer skills.
  2. Learn to play the guitar or other musical instrument.
  3. Attend community concerts.
  4. Organize a community clean-up.
  5. Put together a puzzle.
  6. Visit the library. Borrow a book. Attend library activities.
  7. Go ice skating or roller skating.
  8. Listen to the radio.
  9. Visit the zoo.
  10. Paint a picture, a mural or a room.
  11. Attend a high school sporting event.
  12. Find out about your area’s community center or park’s activities.
  13. Go swimming. Join a community swim team.
  14. Read a book aloud to your younger sister/brother.
  15. Plan a picnic or barbecue.
  16. Go bird watching.
  17. Volunteer for a community organization or charity.
  18. Play with your pet.
  19. Go dancing.
  20. Write a letter to a friend or relative.
  21. Learn to cook.
  22. Plant a flower, vegetable or herb garden.
  23. Read magazines or newspapers.
  24. Plan a slumber party.
  25. Start a neighborhood basketball, soccer, or kickball game.
  26. Go camping (even if it’s just in the backyard!).
  27. Join a choir.
  28. Go through your closets and clothes. Donate surplus items to Goodwill, the Salvation Army or a local rummage sale.
  29. Start a diary/journal.
  30. Go to a museum.
  31. Take a nature hike. Collect seeds and leaves. Make a collage with the materials you collected and post it on the refrigerator.
  32. Play cards.
  33. Start a community exercise group that power walks, runs, or bikes.
  34. Read a story to your younger brother or sister.
  35. Get out the family photo album. Research your family history.
  36. Go listen to a local band.
  37. Make crafts to give as gifts.
  38. Make up a story and write it down.
  39. Learn to say simple phrases in a few different languages.
  40. Ask an older family member to tell you a story about his or her childhood. Write about it.
  41. Learn some new riddles or jokes.
  42. Bake two batches of cookies; one for your family and one for a neighbor.
  43. Watch the night sky through binoculars; identify the different constellations. Observe the moon.
  44. Visit a local bookstore.
  45. Go to a movie with your family or friends.
  46. Walk to work or school.
  47. Start a kids bowling league.
  48. Train for a 5K race.
  49. Teach a neighbor about a computer program.
  50. Go fishing.
  51. Begin a family project.