Episode 52: Screen-Free Quiet Time Activities with Kailan Carr

Memories in Moments

October 16, 2019

Kailan Carr with Quiet Book Queen, and I are having a very non-judgmental conversation about screens, their effect on kids, and she’s giving an insane list of easy and fun activities that can replace the screens while still giving you that quiet, independent play time you’re needing!

Listen below or head on over to iTunes, Spotify, or Stitcher!

Meet my Friend, Kailan Carr!

Kailan is a California mom of two and the owner of Quiet Book Queen. She is determined to get screen-free, quiet time activities in the hands of kids, and does so with her epic quiet books. Also known as busy books, these books are usually felt or fabric and let kids use their imagination, practice fine motor, and academic skills with these books. With her swaps, Kailan creates templates for moms of all different sewing levels. They get a template, gather the materials needed and make a page for each mom participating in the swap. At the end of the swap, you have one whole book that a community of moms collectively created! So cool! Make sure to follow along with Kailan on social also because she is debuting her own full quiet book for sale soon!

In this epiode, Kailan and I are talking about screen time. We are having a very non-judgemental conversation about screens, their effect on kids, and she’s giving an insane list of easy and fun activities that can replace the screens while still giving you that quiet, independent play time you’re needing! I learned so much from this episode and I know you will too!


Kailan and I created a fabulous FREE resource for you! A Books and Bites Playdate! We all know that we’ve got way too many books lying around our house that don’t get read! Invite some buds over, ask them to bring a book and a snack and have a swap! I’ve created a full Play Date Plan outlining simple decor, a free invite, snacks, swap ideas, etc. and Kailan created a Google Doc sign up sheet with 25+ book themed snacks and activity ideas for you to pass along to your friends! Homeschooling and teachers? This is an epic resource for you as well! Download your Books and Bites plan and sign up sheet below!

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The Low Down on Screen Time

One of the things I love about Kailan’s Instagram is her little quote card posts of screen-time facts. I am always learning from her and she shares SO much valuable information in this episode!

She recommends the book, Reset Your Child’s Brain by Dr. Victoria Dunckley, who has taught her much of the research she shares with her audience. Screens overstimulate the nervous system and put our systems in constant stress. This revved up state of fight or flight is hard for kids because the passive screen viewing is not letting them get that energy and adrenaline out. This can result in kids that are moody, anxious, stressed and then show poor behavior. I know we have definitely experienced this in my house!

Another thing I learned from Kailan was that screen time isn’t created equal. So say your kid plays an educational game on their iPad and then goes and watches a show like Daniel Tiger. The show is actually better for their brains than the game! The iPad puts the screen much closer to them, resulting in that overstimulated, run down nervous system. Watching the show on the TV is better than watching on the iPad also. This also helps their posture and stops the EMS getting into their bodies from the wifi as well.

Screen Fast

If you’re seeing behavior in your kids that are less than desirable, Kailan and Dr. Dunckley suggests a screen fast. Go cold turkey and pull the screens. And she means ALL. TV, iPads, phones, etc. Be prepared with alternate activities to redirect them with and some push back…but try and hold strong! From the sounds of it, it’s pretty remarkable what happens and the drastic behavior changes that result from screens being pulled.

Alternate Quiet Time Activities

Books! Indestructible books for littles, Poke a Dot books (often at Costco!), library books in the car- easy switch outs!, reading with your kid- as two formers teachers this makes makes life long learners and avid readers

Coloring: swiping and tapping is affecting kids’ fine motor skills so coloring and drawing is essential for their development! Another fun idea is drawing a picture or words with black sharpie and they can trace over it with a highlighter.

Music/Dance Parties

Chores: have them HELP! Give them things to do with you while you are doing chores/cleaning rather than having them watch a screen to keep them occupied

Give toys a bath

Nature or neighborhood Scavenger Hunt

Cut paper with scissors- easy!

Stickers- sorts are great for that giant sticker pile (sort by color, size, type, etc.

Trace body on paper- have them draw their faces/outfit

Puzzles, games, play-doh

Outside play time

Sensory bins

Make slime 

Watercolors- write their name or pictures on paper with white crayon and then have them paint over it and a mystery picture appears

Pipe cleaners and beads- practice stringing



Tegu Magnetic Blocks

Giving kids ownership of the activities and letting them pick will always result in them wanting to do it more or being more excited!

Kailan also has a full list on her website to download: 50 Screen Free Activities!

Screen Time as a Reward

Pass on this and be VERY mindful about the hierarchy screen time has on other activities. If you use it as a reward, it puts it at the top of the list, meaning kids will rush through the other, more beneficial activities to get to screen time- outdoor play, reading, creative, etc. This is something I feel like is probably SO common for tons of families so just be aware of the priority you are putting on screen time vs other parts of your kids’ day!

General recommendations:

Mealtimes- screen free

Bedtime- screens stop before

Bedrooms- screen free

Communication and talking/sharing is most important

Books and Bites Playdate

Kailan and I collaborated on a super fun playdate idea for kiddos! It’s called Books and Bites and kids do a book swap and a book themed activity or snack to share with the group! I created a full Books and Bites Playdate Plan and Kailan created a Google Doc sign up sheet with 25 activity and snack ideas connected to common books! All of these is totally free! It would be super fun to invite your neighbor friends, new friends in your class, or cousins/whoever!

Go connect with Kailan and Say Hi!


FREE DOWNLOAD: 50 Screen Free Activities!



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