November 29, 2023

Non-screen activities for students in the special education classroom are incredibly valuable. They provide much more than just a break from technology and allow students to gain important skills such as problem solving, communication and collaboration while providing meaningful opportunities for physical activity.

Off-screen activities for older kids MDC
Off-screen activities for older kids MDC

These off-screen activities also offer an opportunity to practice managerial functional skills such as organization, goal setting, planning, and self-monitoring that can be transferred to the world outside of school. By engaging in these types of activities outside of the digital realm, students build on their social-emotional development while having fun! In this article, we’ll discuss why off-screen activities are so beneficial and explore some great examples that you can implement in your own classroom.


One great activity is cooking or baking. This can include anything from making simple snacks or desserts to full meals. Teaching kids about food safety and nutrition can be hugely beneficial, as well as helping them understand basic kitchen concepts like measuring ingredients and following directions. Depending on the student’s age and ability, they can even shop for ingredients!

Our monthly visual recipes they work so well because they allow kids to be successful while learning how to make treats and meals with limited help.

Board Games

Board games are another classic activity that can be very engaging for all students. Depending on their needs, games are available with different levels of rules and complexity. Cooperative board games are especially beneficial because they encourage team skills such as communication and cooperation. Additionally, board games provide an opportunity to socialize with peers in a fun environment.

Art projects

Art projects can also be an enjoyable off-screen activity for students in special education classrooms. These can take the form of painting, sculpting, building models out of clay or cardboard, etc., anything creative! Art supplies are easy to find at local stores or online, so this activity is relatively inexpensive compared to other activities that require specialized equipment/materials (eg board games, puzzles, etc.). Art projects allow students to express themselves and also teach them important concepts such as problem solving and fine motor coordination.

Directed drawing

Guided drawing can be a great off-screen activity for older children. It’s an engaging and educational way to help students practice fine motor skills, creative problem solving and spatial reasoning. Guided drawing is where the student follows step-by-step instructions to draw a picture of something like an animal or a landscape. This type of activity encourages students to focus on the task at hand while developing their artistic skills. With some guidance from teachers, guided drawing can be a fun and rewarding experience that helps build confidence in children with special needs.

Check out ours Guided drawing here to get a head start on this fun activity!

Build with LEGO

LEGOs are a wonderful off-screen activity for older children as they offer a fun and creative way to engage them in learning and play. With LEGO, students can improve their fine motor skills and problem-solving abilities, as well as promote teamwork and cooperation among their peers. For example, students can work together to build a large-scale structure or model from the instructions provided, such as a castle or an airplane.

LEGO bricks also encourage them to use their imaginations and explore different possibilities when building something unique with just bricks. Because there are so many different sets available at different levels of difficulty, it’s easy to find something to suit each student’s individual skill level. LEGO sets can also come with tools like wheels or gears to help teach students engineering concepts like force, motion, and momentum.

Listening to music

Listening to music can be an enjoyable and rewarding off-screen activity for older students in any classroom. Music is a powerful tool that can help children learn, express their emotions and develop important skills. Listening to music encourages students to think critically about musical elements such as rhythm, melody, harmony, tempo, dynamics, etc., which helps them understand how different sounds interact with each other. It also provides an opportunity for self-expression through creative activities such as songwriting or playing an instrument.

Listening to music is linked to improved academic performance as it helps stimulate the brain and increase concentration levels while studying. Engaging in different types of music from different cultures can also help broaden students’ perspectives and teach them more about the world around them!

Non-screen activities for older children in the special education classroom can greatly benefit their learning experience by providing different types of stimulation than you would find on devices such as computers or tablets. Things like cooking/baking projects, board games, art projects, and listening to music offer exciting alternatives that are both educational and fun!


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