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Two alternatives to screens that my kids love

Apr 8, 2020 • Montessori

🌸 This is not a sponsored post: I like to share our tricks with you. The link to the coloring tablets is an affiliated link and if I use it I earn a small commission. Thanks :-)

Since we left on our trip around the world 10 months ago, we have traveled a lot—sometimes we spent many hours on trains and buses—and two ways we have found that allow us NOT to use screens with kids are music and drawing tablets.

Music without screens

Screens are not healthy for a young mind under construction, which is why we wanted a music device without a screen that would also be small enough to not take much space in our luggages: we chose to buy two second-hand iPod Mini (5th generation) on eBay, and it was the best decision ever (it’s not very easy to put the music on them, but it’s a small price to pay 😅)!

They’re also great when Oliver and Emily don’t want to listen to the same music at home, or one of them wants to spend some time alone.

Drawing without wasting paper

These coloring tablets were revolutionary for us. Not only are they thin and light, perfect for traveling, and a lot more eco-friendly than using paper, but you can use them in so many ways.

There are many on the market, but unfortunately we couldn’t find them locally so we chose the best seller on Amazon: this is our drawing tablet and we like it, but I think they’re all the same, so if you find one locally, it’s better :-)

Game ideas:

  • Free drawing
  • Copy images from newspapers
  • Copy objects that we see around us
  • Tic-tac-toe
  • Practice the letters
  • Practice the numbers
  • Practice the shapes
  • One draws, the other guesses
  • One "commissions", the other draws
  • Make straight lines to fill the tablet
  • The parent draws/write, the child copies
  • Any game on paper, like the hangman

Other screenless devices that I like, but I haven't tried

I’m sure our drawing tablets are made in China, we couldn’t find a better alternative (if you have one, please send I try way and I’ll include it in the article).

When possible, buy from a local shop or choose products made in your country to avoid shipping and to reduce your carbon footprint; also avoid “made in China” as much as possible in order not to support the exploitation of labor (and to avoid health risks from low quality materials).

Ocarina - mp3 player for children, 100% made in Italy

Lunii - storyteller for children (I’m waiting to hear from the company where they produce it)

Hörbert - mp3 player for children, made in Germany

Jooki - mp3 player and storyteller for children (I’m waiting to hear from the company where they produce it)


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I write mostly about gentle parenting, Montessori, multilingualism, sustainability and traveling with kids (we do it full-time).

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We don't know how to be parents, we learn it everyday as we go. This is my way of motherhood, the small victories and the bitter defeats, my inconvenient truths and the endless life lessons. And also all the baby products and toys we love the most.


One day a few years ago my husband came home and said, "Why don't we put a mattress on the floor in the baby room? It'd be much more natural". "Never" was my reply. That's how our Montessori journey started. Since then we've been living, breathing and applying the philosophy at home day in and day out, starting from ourselves. Because educating children starts from the parents.

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Living sustainably for me doesn’t only mean to have a more eco-friendly lifestyle. It means to make decisions that are sustainable for our planet, the people on it, but also for our life, our lifestyle, and our happiness. It means to take any daily chance to evolve and be happier, healthier, kinder, more responsible and more caring human beings—the only sustainable way for a meaningful future.