Lockdowns, travel restrictions, and quarantines, OH MY! Since we’re been spending so much of our time at home, I’m always on the lookout for games and activities that keep the kids entertained. I love having something on hand I can point the kids at as soon as they start complaining about being boooored.
These are some of the toys and games we’ve been playing lately. There’s an exciting giveaway at the end of this post, so be sure to scroll all the way to the bottom to enter!
GraviTrax is a modular interactive track system that allows you to design and build your own marble runs. The newest GraviTrax PRO Vertical Starter Set comes with 153 elements, everything you need to build your own vertical action-packed track. All the pieces integrate with existing GraviTrax sets, expansion sets, and accessories to create even bigger and more exciting runs.
Our set happened to be missing the launch pad piece so we’ve been dropping the marbles in by hand. Fortunately, it was pretty straightforward to send an email to the company and request a replacement part. It hasn’t stopped us from building all sorts of marble runs anyway!
GraviTrax encourages kids to play and experiment with gravity, magnetism, and kinetics. The instructions booklet illustrates suggested builds for beginners, but play really is open-ended with endless possibilities to design a different track every time you play. Experiment with the tile pillars, transparent walls, balconies, and tracks of different lengths to create new designs, intricate paths, and race marbles against each other.
We’ve also been getting into puzzles lately. Puzzles help kids develop pattern recognition, logical thinking, patience, concentration, and hand-eye coordination, all while having fun. And I love how proud they are when they finish a challenging puzzle without help!
Ravensburger is the top name when it comes to puzzles. When pieces are too similar in shape, it makes mistakes more likely and leads to frustration. But on every Ravensburger puzzle we’ve done, every piece is unique so you can tell right away whether the piece fits or not. Kay just finished this one with dinosaurs in space.
We also have this 1000-piece puzzle we’ve been working on together as a family!
Or if you’re planning a camping trip or short road trip later this year (following public health orders of course!), then having a couple of small, portable games tucked away in the car is always a smart idea.
Acquire and trade resources. Build roads, settlements, and cities. If your family enjoys a rousing game of Settlers of Catan like we do, you’ll probably also enjoy a new dice game based on the family favourite. Catan isn’t exactly ideal for taking on the road, but this Catan Dice Game is a smaller, simpler, quicker version of the original game that takes up virtually no room. It’s perfect for travel, camping, or tucking in the car glovebox.
The game itself is just 6 embossed dice and a 5.5″x3.5″ pad of double-sided scoresheets/maps. Add a pencil and you’re ready to play! The only thing missing is a little box or bag to keep the dice and pad in, so we’ve been using a small drawstring bag I found that holds the dice securely. 1-4 players, ages 7+ | 15-30 minutes
Spot It! (also known as Dobble) is one of our favourite pick-up games. The concept is simple. Every pair of cards share one and only one image in common. The shape and colour are always the same, although the size may differ. In every game, the goal is to spot that common image before the other players. Since the game relies on speed and observation (no reading required), it evens the playing field between the kids and the adults.
Spot It! is incredibly easy to learn and travel-friendly. An accordion-folding pamphlet gives instructions for 5 different mini-games, and the winner is the player who wins the most mini-games. A full game takes about 15 minutes, but we often just play one or two mini-games which takes only a few minutes.
The 10th anniversary Spot It! Collector’s Edition comes with two special decks of extra large cards – one glow-in-the-dark Halloween themed deck, and an anniversary-themed deck with gold foil accents – packaged nicely in a collector’s tin. 2-8 players, ages 6+ | 5-15 minutes
Ticket to Ride City Editions
Award-winning Ticket to Ride has been a favourite with families for a long time as evidenced by the dozens of versions set in multiple regions and countries all over the world. Players collect and play train car cards to claim train routes across the map.
But there are plenty of times when you just don’t have the time to play a full game. Fortunately Ticket to Ride has several editions that offer quicker gameplay. These city editions pack all the fun of the original game into a smaller map and quicker-to-play game, perfect for when you only have a few minutes to play. 2-4 players, ages 8+ | 10-15 minutes
Ticket to Ride London – Explore London in the 1970s. From Big Ben to the Globe Theatre, complete trips by cruising through the twisting streets of London in sportscars, double decker buses, classic black cabs, and more. Collect transportation cards, claim routes, and earn points by completing trips between many of London’s iconic landmarks.
Ticket to Ride New York – It’s the 1960s in New York City, a perfect time to take in the sights from the Empire State Building to the East Village to Chinatown. Race through the streets of New York City in iconic NYC taxi cabs as you work to complete routes and fulfill Destination Tickets.
Ticket to Ride Amsterdam – Welcome to the 17th century, in the middle of the Gouden Eeuw, the Dutch Golden Age. Players race one another, this time in carts, to claim the most lucrative commercial routes, fulfill rewarding trade contracts, and collect precious merchandise from the bustling streets of this legendary city.
Win a GraviTrax Set & Puzzles
We’re sending some fun to one lucky reader! Enter in the giveaway widget below for a chance to win a GraviTrax Pro Vertical Starter Set and a pair of Ravensburger puzzles (specific puzzles may vary). This giveaway is open to residents of Canada, 18+.
Click here to check out my other open giveaways and be sure to follow me on Facebook!
Disclosure: I received sample items to facilitate this post. All opinions expressed are completely honest and my own, based on my personal experience. Your experience may differ. This post contains affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases, at no additional cost to you.