75 Fun & Productive Things to Do Instead of Watching TV

Starting to feel like TV is becoming a big time waster in your life?

We’ve got many ideas for everyone whether you’re looking to get more active, hang out with friends, or spend time with your significant other. Activity suggestions include those for alone-time and for making extra money.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I love to kick back on the couch and binge on a Netflix series. However, I find that my days off can be just as enjoyable when I find awesome things to do instead of watching TV.

Spending time away from the TV can lead to great things like learning new hobbies and improving relationships. From spending more time outdoors to learning a new recipe, there are tons of excellent things to do instead of watching TV.


Benefits of Turning the TV Off

There’s not much else like getting cozy on the sofa and watching your favorite movie that you’ve already seen a dozen times. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with catching up on your favorite show. But did you know research shows that the average American watches more than 4 hours of TV per day?

Watching TV can be relaxing and sometimes educational. However, doing other things instead of watching TV can provide many benefits. When we make a conscious effort to do other activities, we have more of an opportunity to learn new hobbies and get active. We can also spend more time on our relationships.

Off-screen activities can also boost our mood. Spending too much time in front of the screen can lead to feelings of unproductivity and laziness. Additionally, it can lead to feeling inadequate because we often see things we don’t have.


Things to Do Instead of Watching TV

Well, what to do instead of watching TV? There are an unbelievable amount of activities so let’s take a look.

Ideas for Getting Active

Health reports show that physical activity is one of the most essential aspects of better health. Moving the body helps our overall mental and physical health. It can be difficult to make time for exercise with a busy schedule. Watching fewer shows a week can give us a couple more hours of activity and that alone can make a big difference.

  1. Let loose and have a dance party.
  1. Participate in workout classes either in the gym or at home (many at-home options on YouTube).
  1. Play fetch with your dog in the yard or at the dog park.
  1. Go on a hike. AllTrails is a great place to find hikes in your area.
  1. Deep clean your home.
  1. Enjoy water activities such as kayaking, swimming, or surfing.
  1. Go on a walk. To change things up, drive to a part of town you don’t get to often, then explore on foot.
  1. Play a sport. Many cities have sports leagues, too.
  1. Participate in a marathon (5K, half-marathon, or full marathon).
  1. Clean up your local park.


Ideas for Things to Do With Your Partner 

activities to do with partner instead of watching tv

You certainly don’t need to put an end to movie nights with your partner. However, finding things to do together instead of watching TV can allow you to connect on a new level. It allows you to improve your communication skills, learn more about one another, and create new memories.

  1. Take a cooking class, then retry the recipe at home together.
  1. Dress up for a dinner date at home. Don’t forget to light some candles!
  1. Get artsy and draw caricatures of each other.
  1. Play a two-person sport together like Frisbee or tennis.
  1. Plan a vacation together.
  1. Go camping at a local campground or in the backyard.
  1. Play a game of cards. Teach each other a card game the other likes or learn a new one together.
  1. Go stargazing.
  1. Play a board game. Don’t have any? Borrow one or head to the local thrift store (also a fun date idea).
  1. Take a dance class together.
  1. Read a steamy romance novel together.
  1. Plan a scavenger hunt around your house, neighborhood, or the park.
  1. Go on a dessert date and enjoy a sweet treat together.
  1. Go to a comedy show. Sometimes a good comedy show can be better than a comedy movie!
  1. Go on a brewery or winery tour.
  1. Watch a live play or concert.
  1. Watch a sunset together. This is a fun way to find a cool spot in town!


Ideas for Things to Do With Your Friends 


If you’re looking for what to do Instead of watching TV shows with friends, there are a ton of unique, fun ideas. From having a spa night to a baking competition, make new memories with your best friends by doing creative activities.

Note: Many of the above activities to do with a partner are also ideal friend-group activities.

  1. Have a potluck dinner. Everyone brings a dish to share and enjoy.
  1. Treat yourself to a spa night with face masks and manicure and pedicure supplies. This is a perfect activity while enjoying mimosas or wine.
  1. Have a cook-off. Get together with friends and try out different dishes. Vote on the best one! 
  1. Head to the park for a game of kickball, a walk, or a bike ride.
  1. Go to an open mic night.
  1. Find a new (or old) swimming hole to splash around in with friends.
  1. Start a club. This could be a book club, knitting club, or cooking club. The opportunities are endless. Remember how fun clubs were in school? 
  1. Have a karaoke night. There are tons of YouTube karaoke channels. 
  1. Go on a road trip. In the time it takes to binge-watch a Netflix series, you can take a drive and discover a new city.
  1. Have a baking competition. Similar to the cook-off, everyone brings a delicious baked good to share. Vote on the winner!
  1. Have a costume party. Costumes don’t have to just be for Halloween! Have your friend group dress up on a random Friday and get together for a party.
  1. Meet for coffee. Instead of settling in front of the TV on a Sunday afternoon, catch up with friends over coffee. 
  1. Have a pool party.
  1. Put on a photoshoot and snap pictures at a cool place in town.


Ideas for Things to Do With the Whole Family

things to do with family instead of tv

There are many benefits to spending meaningful time as a family. It can improve communication, social skills, and mental health. When we spend intentional time with our family, we also tend to feel more loved. Check out some ideas for what to do instead of watching TV on family night.

  1. Play mini-golf.
  1. Play tourists and explore your city. If you have kids, let them play tour guide.
  1. Look at old photos. Bring out the photo albums or start making them if you don’t have any.
  1. Redecorate your house. You can give a room a makeover in the time it takes to watch one movie!
  1. Hang out at the local library –. see when special events are held or spend the afternoon checking out new books.
  1. Sit around a fire in the backyard and tell stories. Don’t forget the s’mores, too!
  1. Start a garden by planting flowers and maybe some fruits and veggies. This is an ideal activity for an ongoing project you can work on together.
  1. Go bowling — an old-time family favorite! 
  1. Make homemade cookies, then decorate them together.
  1. Go on a picnic in the yard or take a trip to the park.
  1. Go on a treasure hunt (or plan one for the kids). 
  1. Play charades. 
  1. Explore culture. Find a different country on a map and prepare a dish from that place.
  1. Tie-dye. Tie-dye is definitely back in style and a fun way to get creative.
  1. Do a puzzle together (perfect way to improve those teamwork skills, too).


Ideas for Things to Do Solo

We often avoid spending time alone because we thrive off connections or aren’t necessarily comfortable with being by ourselves. However, spending time solo can encourage us to get creative, learn new things, and clear our minds.

Watching TV alone doesn’t necessarily provide the same benefits. It can be hard to figure out what to do instead of watching TV when you’re alone, so here are some awesome ideas.

  1. Be a tourist in your city and explore a new-to-you area. 
  1. Practice meditation. Read more about the importance of meditating.
  1. Read a good book.
  1. Declutter. You can organize your pantry, closet, and fridge in the time it takes to watch a movie!
  1. Do some DIY projects. Hop on Pinterest and find fun crafts.
  1. Write in a journal. Writing can be extremely therapeutic!
  1. Listen to a podcast. This is an entertaining way to learn something new and/or connect with others not in our presence.
  1. Practice yoga. 
  1. People watch. This one’s good for those who are new to spending time alone because it feels like you aren’t. Grab a seat at a cafe or park bench and watch those coming and going. 
  1. Learn breathing techniques. This offers many benefits (that television doesn’t) such as improved health and better sleep.
  1. Go to bed earlier. Instead of that late-night movie, give yourself some extra rest.
  1. Play with your pet. Bonding with our pets is a prime way to reduce our anxiety and it’s fun, too.


Ideas for Making Extra Money

A little extra money never hurt anyone, am I right? Keep in mind that none of these ideas are “get rich fast” methods. They’re simply ideas for how to bring in a little extra something during your spare time. Instead of watching a whole lot of TV, check out some ways to give our bank account a boost.

  1. Have a garage sale. Gather up all the things that have collected dust and sell them to someone else who can use them. 
  1. Walk dogs. Hop on an app like Rover and get paid to walk other people’s furry family members. This is a good one for those who don’t have their own dogs!
  1. Learn how to make something you can sell. Sites like Etsy are an ideal way to sell handmade items. Or, head over to your local farmer’s market.
  1. Become a photographer. Do you love to take pictures? Start snapping images for others and start a photography side hustle.
  1. Start a blog. While blogging is technically still done behind a screen, it’s not TV and it can be a fun way to learn about something new while earning extra money.
  1. Gather up your old books and sell them to a used book store.
  1. Learn to invest. Grab dinner with a knowledgeable family member or friend or check out free resources on the internet.
  1. Write a book. This one is cool because nowadays, you don’t need a publishing company to publish a book. You can actually self-publish your book on Amazon. 


We know unplugging isn’t always so easy! Read about 5 Ways to Unplug and Be More Mindful


Back to blog

Leave a comment