Family | Lifestyle

35 Games & Puzzles to Reduce Screen Time

Written by Misha Hettie | December 20, 2020

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Nowadays, it seems like the whole world’s online. We work online, we learn online, we even relax online with social media, video games, and streaming TV. But all that time online can take a toll on you physically and emotionally. What would happen if you made a habit of being offline (even when you’ve got great WiFi)?

There are so many benefits of reduced screen time.

Taking time away from the screen can help to reduce headaches. In fact, studies show that time in front of computer and TV screens is linked with headaches and migraines in young adults.

You’re likely to sleep better. Increased screen time has been linked to a decrease in melatonin levels which impacts sleep health, so reducing screen time could help you fall asleep faster and sleep deeper.

If you’ve ever noticed how easily irritated your kids are after playing video games for too long, you probably won’t be surprised to know that reducing screen time can improve moods, too. Too much screen time can have negative psychological effects on young people - this makes cutting back a high priority.

Finally, unplugging yourself can improve human connection. We don’t need a study to tell us that turning off digital distractions can help us make meaningful connections with those around us. Let’s have some true face time!

With all these benefits, it’s no wonder people are finding unplugged gaming and puzzle options to help them cope with all that came in 2020. In fact, puzzles and games have seen a huge surge in sales this year with social distancing keeping everyone home more.

If you’re in the market for some fun new games and puzzles, here are a few classic favorites and some brand new additions you may not know about. Add these to your games closet and pull them out whenever you’re ready for some IRL fun.

For Toddlers

  1. The Large Jumbo Knob Puzzle Bundle from Melissa and Doug is a classic. It’s been around for decades - probably because the little ones love it so much!
  2. Charmingly simple and easy to clean, this Babu Rocker (ages 12mo+) will be a hit with your small fries.
  3. Build vocabulary and large motor skills while having fun with this Seek-A-Boo Memory Game (ages 18mo+).

For Preschoolers

  1. Kids love toys that are just for them. This Personalized Name Puzzle (ages 3+) is no exception! They can learn to spell their name while piecing together this puzzle.
  2. This Alligator Puzzle- Colorful Wooden Alphabet and Number Jigsaw Puzzle for Kids and Toddlers Developmental Learning by Hey! Play! (ages 3+) is a bigger challenge, but that’s ok - they’ll love the colorful pieces and the smiling alligator they can create with them.
  3. Kiddos can learn while they play with this cute Farm Cube Puzzle (ages 3+).
  4. The memory game is different every time, and this Ladybug's Garden Memory Game (ages 3+) is an extra cute version!
  5. Bugzzle (ages 3+) is great for out of the box thinkers. Rather than make one puzzle, kids can match the puzzle pieces to any one of 40 included playing cards.

For Kids

  1. Who doesn’t want to be an astronaut, right? The high-quality images from space in this Space Matching Game will help kids feel like they’re almost there.
  2. “Baby Yoda" has been a smash hit since 2019 so you can be sure that this Star Wars The Mandalorian - Snack Time Game will be a big hit at your house, too.
  3. The Mindware Pattern Play Revolution is a great one-player game that teaches everything from sorting and matching to fractions to kids 5 and up.

For Adults

  1. Winner of both the 2018 Cannes International Game Festival Board Game of the Year and the 2018 Deutscher Spiele Preis Game of the Year, Azul is a Board Game where adults can match beautiful tiles to make a design. It’s for the artsy and the artsy at heart!
  2. If you miss the days of hitting the arcade, this is the game for you. The Pac-Man Board Game even features the exact sounds made in the original game so you can bring the excitement at home without having to worry about bringing enough quarters.
  3. Friends may be off the air, but they’ll be in our hearts forever. Test your luck with the Friends Edition Monopoly and they’ll be there for you, too.
  4. Forget Miss Peacock and Professor Plum. In Clue: The Office Edition Board Game, you’ll play much more compelling characters, like Michael, Jim, and - of course - Dwight Schrute.

For Mindfulness

  1. Relax and unwind with Mindful String Games. Similar to cat’s cradle, this string based game will bring your brain back to center.
  2. Mindo™ Zen Logic Game, Grades 3-8 is a challenging, but soothing matching game. It’s so portable, players can even enjoy it on the go!

For Brain Teasers and Logic

  1. If you like Sudoku, you’ll love Puzzle Ninja. This book of games comes with more than 200 unique Japanese logic puzzles.
  2. Calling all geniuses! The True Genius Grecian Computer Puzzle turns this complex math puzzle into a challenging and rewarding gift.

For Nature and Animal Lovers

  1. As the winner of the 2019 Diamond Climber Award, the 2019 Deutscher Spiele Preis Game of the Year, and the 2019 BoardGameGeek Golden Geek Award, Wingspan is a perfect game for the bird lover in your life.
  2. Can’t travel? Bring the great outdoors home with the Vintage National Parks Puzzle. With 1000 pieces, this puzzle showcases some of the most beautiful spots in America from the Sequoias to the Everglades.
  3. Breathtaking and challenging, this beautiful Autumn Trees Puzzle features 1000 pieces and makes the perfect gift.

For Disney Lovers

  1. If you can’t visit your favorite theme park, you can still bring some of the magic home with the Disney Parks Theme Park Edition Monopoly Game. All your favorite attractions are right here!
  2. The heroes get all the credit, but the villains have more fun! In Disney Villainous: Evil Comes Prepared Strategy Board Game, you can work your way to the top and have both the fun and the glory.
  3. If you like stunning artwork, you’ll love the Main Street USA Walt Disney World Resort Puzzle by Thomas Kinkade. This 1000 piece puzzle is pretty enough to brighten just about anyone’s day. (If you don't want for it to come back in stock at Disney you can grab it now on Ebay.)

For Marvel Fans

  1. Pull up your comfiest chair, because at 3000 pieces, this Marvel Cast Puzzle is sure to bring you hours - if not days! - worth of fun.
  2. Pick your favorite superhero and play to win with the Monopoly Marvel 80 Years Edition Board Game. Whether you prefer Spiderman or you’re more into Thor, you’ll love this game because the gang’s all here!

For Star Wars Fans

  1. If you’ve got a delicate touch and a love for all things Star Wars, then the Metal Earth 3D Laser Cut Model - Star Wars: R2D2 is just the thing for you! When you’re all done, you’ll have a cool replica of everyone’s favorite robot.
  2. You know you can't resist the "Baby Yoda." This 500-piece Star Wars The Mandalorian is sure to be hours of fun for your entire Star Wars family.

For Game of Thrones Fans

  1. Look out, Thronies - your favorite fantasy world is back. The Game of Thrones 4D Puzzle of Westeros & Essos has a unique take on the puzzle - after you build it out, you can then build the land up!
  2. Fantasy fans can have their very own castle with the Wrebbit The Red Keep 3D Puzzle. If you love Game of Thrones, this 845 piece puzzle is a must have!

For Lego Lovers

  1. The LEGO Ludo Game takes the classic strategy game and kicks it up a notch... with minifigures! Best of all, it’s suitable for ages 7+ up so the whole family can play.
  2. Check out this LEGO Paint Party Puzzle! This unique puzzle will give you all the fun of playing with Legos without any of the pain of stepping on them later.

For Animal Crossing Fans

  1. Everyone loves the popular game for the Nintendo Switch, and you can see the same charming characters in Animal Crossing: New Horizons 1000 piece Jigsaw Puzzle. Great for kids and adults alike - no Tom Nook included.

For Groups

  1. As the 2016 Spiel des Jahres Winner, Codenames Board Game is the game to play if you like highly engaging strategy games. With 2-8 players, the whole family can get in on the action on this one.

With all these games and puzzles available, you may never want to stare at a screen again! Try them all, or pick your favorites and play to your heart’s content. You’ll be having fun and making memories in no time!

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