Kids playing screen-free activities


School is officially back in session and since the kids have been home for quite a few months now, you may be racking your brain on how to entertain them without the TV or iPad. Luckily, there are plenty of kid-friendly activities in San Diego, as well as easy entertainment ideas you can do right at home. Get ready for a fun-filled school year with these screen-free activities


Kid-Friendly Activities in San Diego

If you and your kids are going a little stir crazy from being cooped up in the house, it may be time to venture outside. From fun backyard activities to adventures further away from home, here are some of the best screen-free activities to enjoy these last days of summer in San Diego.


1. Easy, Breezy, Beaches

When you live in San Diego, taking trips to the beach is almost mandatory. From Mission Beach to La Jolla Shores, there are so many sandy beaches to choose from. Make sandcastles, do a little boogie boarding, or even sign up for an exciting kayaking tour in La Jolla Cove. If your fur babies want to soak up the sun too, don’t forget about dog beach in OB. This way you can combine all of your normal beach activities in a place perfect for dog lovers!

2. Picnic Time

Pack up the cooler and bring some blankets for this screen-free activity! Just like there are so many beaches to choose from in San Diego, there are even more parks and lakes great for picnics. One of the most popular spots that draw in San Diegans from all over the county is Lake Murray in La Mesa. 

Located only a few minutes away from Grossmont Center, Lake Murray has one of the prettiest views in all of San Diego. Do a little shopping at the mall, grab some food to go, and head on over to the lake to eat and enjoy the serenity. You can even have the kids get some exercise in by walking the paved path that takes you all the way around Lake Murray!


Balboa Park in San Diego

3. Mall Scavenger Hunt

No matter how old you get, scavenger hunts are a blast! If you’re looking for a way to get the kids out of the house and keep things local, create a scavenger hunt at Grossmont Center. Invite friends and family to participate and break up into teams of 3 to 5 people. Choose specific shops and shopping items for the teams to find, and have them take pictures as proof of finding them. Throw in some awesome prizes for the winning teams and you’ve got yourself a day full of fun!

4. Flip Out with Gymnastics

Improve flexibility and balance while getting exercise with this fun screen-free activity. SD Gymnastics offers fun and fitness for all ages. All classes are instructed by USAG, CPR, and First Aid coaches and follow skill-based lesson plans to ensure your child is having fun while being appropriately challenged! Their state-of-the-art kid-friendly facilities offer a variety of options like parkour, tumbling, alternative pre-school, after-school programs, summer camps, parties, Kids’ Night Out, and open gym.

5. Backyard Bonanza

If you feel like keeping your last moments of summer in San Diego close to home, step into your backyard (or even front yard) to watch your kids laugh and giggle at the simplest outdoor activities. Try these 4 screen-free activities in your backyard:

  • Chalk Art: Whether it’s your driveway or backyard patio, chalk art is an easy and creative way to keep the kids entertained during the day. Let their imaginations run wild and see the cool pictures they come up with!
  • Obstacle Course: Get your kids up and moving by creating the ultimate obstacle course in the backyard! Not only is it great exercise, but it also uses up old toys or household items you may not use very often.
  • Science Experiments: School may be out, but this screen-free activity helps the learning continue through cool science experiments. From the classic Coke and Mentos experiment to higher-level projects for older kids, this activity is educational and entertaining!
  • Lemonade Stand: Teach your kids the value of9 work by having them host a lemonade stand for the day! Chores may be boring, but making lemonade and earning a few bucks selling it can be super exciting for the kids.


Girl playing with slime


Kid-Friendly Indoor Activities

Summer in San Diego usually consists of mild weather, but on days where the heat is too much to bear, don’t be afraid to get creative with indoor activities for the kids. Check out these simple and cool ideas that keep them entertained without looking at a TV screen.

6. Fun With Forts

Encourage your little ones to build a fort with all the pillows and blankets you have! Making forts is a pastime we all enjoyed when we were young, and it can keep the kids entertained for several hours. To spice things up, host a pillow fort competition between the siblings to see who can make the best one. The winner gets to sleep in the fort that night instead of heading off to their normal beds.

7. Showtime With Puppets & Plays

Most kids love being the center of attention which is why this screen-free activity has the potential to be loads of fun. Have your kids perform a play or funny sketch to keep things lively during a day at home. There are several scripts and skits online to give your kids some inspiration, or you can let them create the whole show on their own. If you have little ones who are shyer, consider a puppet show instead. This gives them the opportunity to be just as creative without being in front of an audience!

8. Popsicle Party

Beat the heat during summer in San Diego with this yummy screen-free activity! Popsicles are healthy and tasty treats that are super “cool” for summer – and they’re easy to make with young ones. Keep it simple with basic flavors like strawberry and grape, or get gourmet with multi-flavored pops. Whichever popsicle recipes you choose, the kids will eat it up!

9. Slime

Nothing is more fun than playing with ooey-gooey slime! Skip buying it at the store and take time to make your own slime with the kiddos. This project can get a little messy, so it’s up to you on whether you’d want to do it indoors or outside. Remember to pick slime recipes that are safe and Borax-free. From slime bubbles to seeing how far your slime can stretch, this crafty activity is a little kid’s dream!


From beach days in the sun to popsicles and plays, your little ones are sure to have a blast this school year with these 9 kid-friendly activities in San Diego! If you’re also looking for kid-friendly restaurants to dine at, check out Grossmont Center’s tasty locations like Olive Garden, BJ’s, and Casa De Pico.

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