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I believe today was the first time I ever saw that many degrees, 103 to be specific, on the thermometer! It was burning hot outside and the luminosity was aggressive on the eyes… Hello heatwave! Now since it is quite unpleasant to venture out these days, what are those with children to do to keep them busy indoors until the evening and somewhat more bearable temperatures?

Water parks, the pool or the beach if you’re lucky, these are all great options… but not before later in the day. Between the suffocating heat and the skin burning sun, they are risky until at least late afternoon. So if you are safely indoors but running out of options, with kids both bored and overexcited, how about… playing the good ol’ games card! Think Skip-bo, plain playing cards, happy families card game, or timeless checkers and dominoes.

Why?  There are at least four major advantages to these gem games:

  • Novelty. Let’s be honest here: Who has these games out on a regular basis or even taught their children how to play them? Anything new is interesting to children, ok, for a while, so taking these out is a guaranteed success, at least until they figure out how to master them.
  • They get the kids away from computers, TV, tablets and video games! Anything with a screen really. The idea is not to completely remove them from your indoors’ lifesaving list of activities. But we probably mostly agree that mixing different types of toys can only be good. Too much screen time can be mind-numbing, dare we say soul-destroying? At a minimum, some of them are really passive toys and if running outside is not an option, then it is in kids’ best interest to, at least, keep their minds active… 
  • Time to think and strategize. And active their minds will be! One has to think hard, anticipate, plan ahead, count sometimes. You definitely use your head in more than one way with these games. But you may ask, why would kids… bother and play the game? Well because if they want to win the game, it’s the only way.
  • Competition is on! When there is glory at stake (stakes may even get upped with a toy or two?), the motivation is usually there, meaning children will most likely do several rounds before they let the tally declare the winner. So as soon as they understand the rules, you may have a somewhat quiet house for a while.

Look at that, we just found a good side to this massive heatwave! It’ll keep your kids safely indoors, calm, busy, push them to learn new things, use their heads and get smarter! The common green factors to all of them? These games are self sufficient, inexpensive and most often not made out of plastic, and they make children smarter. You don’t need to constantly buy new programs, channels, apps, or even upgrade or renew devices. They are reusable forever, the technology they use will never be outgrown, you can even make your own, and they can be passed on and on forever. As an example, the domino set pictured here comes from a flea market, is entirely made out of wood and was purchased $1. Its vintage look and feel tells it’s old, but clearly not near the end of its life. Our box of old games also has a 1992 edition of Skip-Bo, gifted by a family of friends who taught me how to play when I was a teenager. Definitely passing it on too!

What activities do you favor when kids have to stay inside for a long period of time and you need to keep everyone’s sanity?

 

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