5 screen-free activities

Show of hands—how many of you feel that you’re spending way too much time binge-watching Netflix episodes, doing TikTok challenges or mindlessly scrolling through your Instagram feed? I know I’m certainly guilty of this. 

With students being holed up indoors for most of their days, it’s easy to waste away staring at a screen. While online learning makes screen time unavoidable to a certain extent, we should not forget that there are plenty of screen-free activities—even in today’s digital age! 

I have curated a list of activities that you can enjoy, while being completely disconnected from the Internet. 

Repurpose old junk

Jeremy wearing a cloth face mask.

I made a face mask from upcycling an old t-shirt, sponge and air filter

We probably all have that one closet in our homes that’s filled with old junk that we don’t know what to do with. Surprisingly, many regular household items can actually be given new life and saved from being thrown out. Old t-shirt? Make a face mask or two out of it. Tin cans from your last grocery haul? Clean them out and use them to grow plants. The upcycling possibilities are endless. 

Grow your own food

Two students are seen raking the garden bed of the Ryerson Urban Farm.

The Ryerson Urban Farm

Ryerson’s been growing its own produce for years with the help of the Urban Farm atop the roof of the George Vari Engineering and Computing Centre. You can join in on the fun from the comfort of your own home, even if you don’t have a backyard. All you need is a window sill with good sunlight exposure and some pots, like those upcycled tin cans I had mentioned earlier. Plants like parsley, tomatoes and chili peppers are easy to grow, even if you are a complete newbie to gardening. Not only is this activity satisfying, but it can also help you save on groceries in the long run. 

Start a quarantine gratitude journal

Journalling has been part of my daily ritual for years. It’s something that I’ve advocated for in several of my previous works such as in A Student’s Guide for Managing Stress. It helps get me into a positive mindset, which I think many of us need now more than ever. What you fill your journal with should be completely personal to you. A few of my recommendations include writing down things that you are grateful for, or places that you would like to visit once things return back to normal. You can even attach some Polaroid pictures to your journal. 

Knit a sweater

Fall is upon us and with it comes sweater weather. Stay fashionable and cozy this season with your very own chunky knit sweater. Alternatively, if winter is more your kind of thing, feel free to get a head start on making an ugly Christmas sweater. Even if you don’t know how to knit, you’ll get the hang of it quickly after watching a tutorial and then you can do it screen-free.

Go for a run

Not having access to a gym isn’t an excuse to not stay fit. While Ryerson has no shortage of virtual fitness classes, these don’t exactly make for a screen-free escape. However, you can get those legs pumping, screen-free, by going on an old-fashioned run in the outdoors. For me, the magical feeling of running in the cool morning breeze can’t be replicated any other way. 


While our screens help us to kill time, continuous exposure does little to refresh our minds and can even be detrimental to our health. Keep these activities in mind for the next time that you’re bored. 

— Jeremy

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