These toys and games can keep the kids busy while you’re all trapped inside.
As rough as all this time cooped up inside the house is on us adults, it’s even worse for kids. All that borderline maniacal energy along with an unquenchable thirst for stimulation and attention make home sequestration like a life sentence for them. Unfortunately, they have no problem taking out all that pent-up disappointment and boredom on you, the unwitting adult who must take the rap for a worldwide pandemic.
These are difficult times and we all have to do what we must to survive. We wouldn’t normally endorse this, but under our current conditions...bribe them. Tell the kids that if they can be good for a day, or just through your workday or heck, even for a few hours, you’ll get ‘em one of the cool toys and games we’ve assembled here.
Everything here is on sale. They won’t care. You will. And peace will still reign in your household. For now. But for today, it’s all we’ve got…
Every kid loves video games -- and this is a good time to plant some of the old-school retro gaming love you had when you were a kid.
From the folks at 8BitDo, both the Gbros. Wireless Adapter for Nintendo Switch ($14.95; originally $19.99) and the SN30 Bluetooth Gamepad ($23.95; originally $29.99) gives you the retro-style gaming controller that’s compatible with all the latest gaming systems. Whether your kids have a Switch or play games on Windows, Android, macOS or Steam-based platforms, these Bluetooth-connected devices will take you all right back to the 90s and 2000s...even if it's your kids’ first trip.
Sticking with both retro and handheld gaming, the GameBud Portable Gaming Console ($19.95; originally $74.99) sure looks a heck of a lot like another gaming system of old. Boy, I wish I could remember its name. This also brings back the 8-bit days, includes 400 different classic games and the won’t even be draining your phone battery to play.
And if the whole family wants to get in on the action, the Throwback Gaming Console ($34.95; originally $99) hooks right up to your TV with an HDMI cable with a pair of controllers to fire up any of 600 preloaded video game classics. That’s enough games to keep them busy through even the worst of global crises.
For kids who really want to disconnect from the world, the IPM 3D Virtual Reality Glasses ($14.99; originally $69.99) plunge you right into the VR world instead. Drop-in a smartphone and these glasses make any TV or movie a truly immersive experience.
Maybe rather than playing video games on a TV or phone, it’s time to go back to arcade-style gaming -- without the super mammoth cabinets, of course. With both the Street Fighter II: Champion Edition X RepliCade ($99.99; originally $119.99) and the Tempest X Replicade ($99.99; originally $119.99), you get exact fully-functioning replicas of these two arcade classics -- but they’re each only a foot high.
How about bribing your kid with a robot? If you’re looking for pure entertainment value alone, the Dancebot Dancing Robot ($49.99; originally $79.99) is virtually unbeatable. Sure, it’s an ingenious little dancing robot who syncs to your streaming player and throws hot moves based on the rhythm and tempo of any music you throw at him. Best of all, even when he isn’t rocking out, Dancebot also doubles as a Bluetooth speaker.
For the parent who’d like their kid to also be learning a little something about robotics, the DJI RoboMaster S1 STEM Education Robot ($549.95; originally $549) is undiluted learning in one cool robo-body. With 46 customizable components, inventive kids can configure their bots any way they want, all while learning math, physics, programming, and even the AI skills to make it happen.
Games, non-video variety
Not every game has to be played on a screen, right? At first glance, Mega Nanodots ($24.99; originally $27.99) may not even look like a game, even though they are marble-sized magnets covered in a flexible rubber to help them create all kinds of interesting shapes, desk art, and more. But when you include a bunch of Nanodots as part of the 16" Nanopad Game Board ($39.99; originally $47.98), the accompanying two-sided magnetic game board becomes ground zero for all kinds of inventive gameplay.
The Mokuru Card Game ($34.99; originally $47) is also a traditional board game with a twist, challenging players to race each other up the board, completing tricks that require skill (and even a little deceit) to win the coveted Grand Master belt.
If your kids a little more action to stay stimulated, the AstroShot Zero G Floating Orbs Target with Dart Blaster Gun and Foam Darts ($28.99; originally $34.99) combines NERF accessories and zero-gravity as kids try to blast orbs that are suspended in mid-air. It’s like a video game -- only it’s happening in real life.
Ride a bike
Okay, you can’t send the kids TOO far outside, but if you’ve got a toddler learning the ins and outs of big-boy biking, the Brilrider FLIGHT, billed as the World's Lightest Balance Bike ($83.95; originally $159) is gonna be a huge hit. Tough, durable, and insanely light, even a 1-year-old can take control of a regular two-wheeler with confidence and safety.
For older kids, the Jamstik 7 Guitar Trainer ($179.99; originally $199.99) is the next best thing to guitar lessons...and maybe even better. This go-anywhere guitar playing tool connects wirelessly to an app-enabled device, sensing your finger positioning and even the pressure to perfectly replicate your fingering while you learn to play. And with a pair of headphones, kids can practice with the Jamstik 7 all day long -- and you’ll never hear a thing.