This post has been sponsored by Hasbro. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Our family has been social distancing for 6 weeks now. As a family that’s usually very social, active, and on-the-go, it didn’t surprise me that we heard the dreaded, “I’m bored” and “I don’t know what to do” early on. When I heard it, I immediately thought back to something my mom would always reply to us. She’d say “life is too short to be bored,” and we then had to use our creativity and whatever was around us to entertain ourselves. This gave me an idea – and with the help of some Assorted Play-Doh sets and Hasbro Games ordered online from Dollar General (Shop now!), we are getting back to basics to bust boredom at home. I’m taking a few of the lessons from my own childhood (before the internet and personal devices were a thing) to teach my kids how to find non-screentime fun at home, and I’m sharing these ideas for you today. It’s been amazing to see my own kiddos using their creativity and ingenuity, and enjoying some fun, classic games and toys. I am so grateful that I could easily order the games and toys we didn’t already have from Dollar General. They always have such great deals and coupons, so it’s a great thing that I can place an order on their website (they even have a whole department just for Hasbro toys and games) and have them shipped directly to me at home. My ideal social distancing retail companion!
Creative Toys and Games
Whenever we complained to my mother of boredom, she would remind us that options for things to do were limited only by our imagination. With this reminder, seeking out any toy or game that could utilize creativity can keep kids entertained not just for a moment, but for days on end if the creative ideas are big enough!
One of the most basic, classic creative toys to have at home for your kids is Play-Doh. We got each of our boys two Play-Doh 5-packs of colors (in Bright and Neon). Another reason Play-Doh is ideal is that it’s appropriate for ages 2 and up. The fun is open-ended and helps develop fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination while sparking creativity!
If you want to spark the creativity further, Play-Doh playsets are also a hit in our house. We especially like the Play-Doh Mini Playsets, as these compact versions are great for both travel (you know we love our road trips) and storage at home. Plus, each mini Play-Doh playset comes with 2 standard cans of Play-Doh. Grayson loves to play dentist with the Mini Doctor Drill ‘n Fill set, and Sawyer loves to squeeze different wiggly shapes with the Mini Fun Factory tool.
During our time social distancing I’ve been saving a shoebox full of random (safe) materials for the kids to use. These include any oddly shaped pieces of cardboard (think of the cardboard pieces that you get inside a new pair of shoes), clean plastic bottles, empty toilet paper and paper towel roll tubes, etc. Once a week or so, the boys are tasked with creating something new using only the contents of the box plus markers and whatever adhesives they need. It has been awesome to see the model robots, costume parts, and vehicles they’ve manufactured from these up-cycled materials.
When I was a kid, one of the ways I’d entertain myself on school breaks was to make my own paper dolls. This isn’t just a game for girls; there are so many possibilities with this type of play, and it will get the kiddos away from screens for a while.
Drawing or Painting
Scratch paper and anything you can use to write, draw, or color on it will never not be a fun choice for kids.
Board Games (for Two or for the Whole Family)
With board games having a Renaissance during social distancing, you might want to stock up on a few more options. I’m sharing a few surprising twists on the classic board games you loved as a kid.
Grab and Go Versions of Classic Family Games
Did you know that Hasbro has Grab and Go Games at Dollar General? These compact and portable versions of favorite Hasbro games like Clue, Battleship, Connect 4, Hungry Hungry Hippos, Monopoly, Guess Who?, Trouble, and Sorry feature the classic game in an all-in-one unit for easy storage and portability. This makes playing board games an option not just one night a week, but anytime the family (or even just the kids) want to play.
2-Person Rivals Board Games
I love playing games with my whole family, but when I’m working from home during the day, we can’t always stop and play whenever the mood strikes. A surprising solution are the Hasbro Rivals editions of their popular games that are made for 2 players and take less time to play than their classic counterparts! For example, in the Monopoly Rivals game, players choose their token and move around the board buying, selling, and auctioning off properties. 2 players go head-to-head in a battle to buy properties, get rich, and win in a much quicker time than a Monopoly game would usually take. In the Rivals Edition of the Sorry! game, players jump, bump, and slide their opponent’s pawns as they race to be the first player to get all 3 of their pawns into Home. Dollar General also offers Rivals editions of The Game of Life.
Remember what it was like before Wi-Fi, cell phones, tablets, and smart TVs? Well, our kids might be lucky enough to have those things at home while social distancing, but they also need to have ample time playing that doesn’t involve screens and technology. Think back to some of the games you played around the house when you were a kid to help your kids with non-screentime game ideas of their own. Some favorites for us are hide and seek, inventing our own ball games and point-scoring systems, and tag. And remember, a good, impromptu dance party is always a fun idea!
Life Skill Activities
Idle time at home can also be spent learning creative activities that can double as important life skills. For example:
Have the kids join you in the kitchen to teach them cooking and baking basics (including the importance of cleanliness during and after cooking).
Sewing, Crochet, Needlepoint
We found our time at home to be ideal to fix up stuffed animals at Cuddle Buddy Hospital. I taught my boys how to do basic stitching, and they repaired holes in some of their favorite toys. This skill will serve them well throughout life. Other kid-friendly crafts like crochet and needlepoint are great for hand-eye coordination and keep kids occupied for extended periods of time.
At-Home Family Date Night
Miss going out to dinner and a show? Bring the fun times to your living room! We started a tradition we call #FancyFriday where we dress up a little bit, fix our hair, and have a nice dinner together. Afterwards, we often watch a movie with some home-popped popcorn or bring out a classic game to play together as a family. We especially like playing this Yahtzee to Go! Game. It’s super easy to bring out. Just pop the lid on the dice cup and play anywhere with this handy travel version of the classic Yahtzee game! Our only rule is that no devices are allowed (for kids or adults) during #FancyFriday Family Date Night.
What are some of your favorite non-screentime activities with your kids at home? Comment below!