Whether you're searching for something to do as a family, or something that will keep the kids busy, it's often hard to find activities or games that don't have screens, need batteries, or have to be plugged in. Fortunately, there are still plenty of non-screen, non-electronic options out there.
– Automoblox (Automoblox)
Have a little car lover? (Or maybe a big one – after all, Father's Day is just around the corner...)? Automoblox is an award-winning line of high-quality, collectible, miniature cars. The bodies are made of European beechwood and can be manipulated, mixed, and matched in a variety of ways to create different designs. Oh, and you'll do all of that without tools. Mini models include the Grizzly truck, X10 Timber Pack SUV with trailer, and the very first Automoblox motorcycle. There are larger options as well, including the BR100 Hercules 16.5" hauler (which can also be recreated into a dump truck). The Hauler comes with two back ends, a ramp, two mini vehicles, and has room to hold three more. For ages 4+. New minis range from $11.99 to $24.99. The Hauler is $59.99. Get yours on Amazon or http://www.automoblox.com
– Puzzles (TCG)
If you're a fan of puzzles, TCG has an excellent line that you'll want to get your hands on. Beautiful and well-crafted (so much so that you may want to frame them when you're done), these puzzles feature a wide variety of photos, scenes, and piece counts, meaning that there's truly something for every age and ability level. Puzzles are wonderfully calming for most fans, but especially for children and adults with autism. For that reason, since 2016, TCG has been supporting both Autism Speaks and Autism Speaks Canada. The company says that their Autism Speaks puzzle assortment includes "puzzles designed for a wide range of puzzlers, from the whimsical and gorgeous renderings of fantasy artist Miharu to original TCG designs, and more." Prices range from under $4 for a 200-piece puzzle to about $8 for a 1,000-piece puzzle. https://tcgtoys.com
– Fruit Obsessions Bracelets and Hair Candy Accessories (Juicy Couture)
Have a creative teen or tween? Juicy Couture is all the rage with the younger girls right now, and your young fashionista will be thrilled to get her hands on these kits. After all, what's more fun than making your own accessories? These are definitely not the cheesy, kiddie kits from our childhood, which means that she (and you) will be delighted at the high-quality, really nice-looking results, which look store-bought or like what you see adults creating on Etsy. About $15. http://www.juicycouture.com
– Unicorn Hoodie Blanket (Make It Real)
For a slightly bigger project, consider this super-cool, adorable DIY hoodie blanket. The kit comes with everything you need, including pre-cut fleece, fringes, needle and thread, and even a thimble. Making this fleece knotted blanket (which looks more like a cape), complete with unicorn head, will help your child develop skill that will come in handy in a variety of situations later in life. If he or she already knows how to sew, great, you're one step ahead. If not, the instructions are easy to follow, and you'll be up to speed in no time. $24.99 on Amazon and JOANN. https://makeitrealplay.com
– DIY Knot-a-Shark (Alex)
Prefer something with a little more bite? This snuggly, scaly blanket is perfect for kids who'd like to try their fin at something new. Knot-a-Shark comes isn't just a blanket, it's also a got a tail and your child can climb inside and swim off to bed or just cuddle up on the couch for shark week. $30.99 on https://www.alexbrands.com
(Armin and Samantha are the authors of the popular parenting blogs: http://www.mrdad.com and http://www.havesippywilltravel.com.
For more reviews of toys and games, visit http://www.parentsatplay.com/)