I’m a mom of a tween and teen who is always conscious about the amount of screen time my kids are having but rather than place strict limits on all screens, I recognize the difference between passive and productive screen time. Productive screen time includes using digital devices for learning whereas passive screen time merely involves watching and consuming content for the sake of entertainment. In the course of a given day, I know my kids do both which is why it’s important to not only recognize the different but make kids aware of it too.
But where’s the line in the sand when it comes to gaming? Gaming is entertaining but there’s also the opportunity for our kids to learn through play whether they’re playing by themselves, with family members, or with friends. Gaming teaches collaboration, communication, and reinforces the importance of kindness in person and when interacting in the digital world. It allows our kids to be part of a social world that their friends are a part of and it can also be a way to strengthen family bonds and inspire offline learning.
3 Nintendo Switch Games That Inspire Offline Learning
Over the years we’ve tried all the gaming consoles, but our new favorite is definitely the Nintendo Switch. This versatile device can be played at home docked in a console for game play on the TV but also taken on the go for portable play. Game play is also flexible thanks to pairs of controllers called JoyCons that can be used attached during portable play or taken off and shared with a friend so you can game together. Like mini Wii controllers, JoyCons work as controllers since they each feature 4 buttons and a joystick. Separate them and give one to a friend so you can play together and add a couple more so you can play a 4 person game with more friends.
Whether you have a Nintendo Switch or it’s on a holiday wish list, here are 3 Nintendo Switch games that inspire offline learning through family fun thanks to the myriad of mini games, levels, characters, and more that everyone in your family will love.
Super Mario Party
Mario is back and you’re invited to party- a Super Mario Party ($57.94 on Amazon)! 4 family members can choose their favorite Mario character to represent them in 80 minigames or go head to head against each other in Mariothon or with players around the world in an Online Mariothon! The endless options for playing so many games with favorite characters and different player configurations (some are 2 vs 2 while others are 1 vs 3) is endless fun whether you’re pedaling tricycles, flipping meat, vacuuming (yes, really!), marching in a parade, or working together to row down a river.
Kids can also invite a friend to come up with their Nintendo Switch to play in an entirely new way thanks to Toad Rec Room. This mode lets you lay Two Nintendo Switches side by side to lay them flat (like a tabletop game) so you can battle tanks in custom arenas, match bananas by sliding Switches around on the table, or playing a mini baseball game. I love that the Switch becomes an object to manipulate in game play through this mode and games teach healthy competition, teamwork, and also inspire kids to try new sports through play. If you owned a WiiU, games in Super Mario Party keeps the nostalgia high by reminding you what it was like to play sports on the Wii with the handheld controllers!
Use Super Mario Party to inspire offline learning by:
- Playing a favorite board game
- Asking Alexa or Google Home to fire up a favorite playlist for a dance party in your kitchen
- Host a neighborhood trike race! Round up the tricycles, invite some friends, make chalk lane lines on your driveaway, and get ready to have an in real life race inspired by Super Mario Party! I bet they’ll have just as much fun racing trikes IRL as when playing Super Mario Party!
Scribblenauts Mega Pack
With the mission to “write anything, solve everything,” Scribblenauts has encouraged kids to express themselves through the game since 2009. Whether you’re new to Scribblenauts or a long time fan, Scribblenauts Mega Pack ($39.95) combines two classic games featuring new characters and lots of levels to explore. Scribblenauts Unmasked is a DC Comics adventure that provides families with over 200 brand new characters, costumes, and the opportunity interact with seemingly endless objects in thousands of locations. Kids can be their favorite DC Super Hero or DC Super Villain or use the hero creator to create their own.
Scribblenauts Unlimited contains a world that is powered by imagination were tweens get to interact bring 20,000 objects to life through this multiplayer game that is designed for up to 4 players. The game requires kids to use their critical thinking and logic skills to interact with objects and solve hundreds of puzzles. I also love the open ended nature of this game that lets kids create their own puzzle using the object editor.
Use Scribblenauts Mega Pack game play to inspire offline learning by:
- Inventing an imaginary world! What imaginary world do your tweens envision as being as part of Scribblenauts or what kind of world would they want to live in if they got to design every element of it? This simple question will get them thinking, dreaming, and communicating!
- Going on an adventure of your own in your own city or beyond! Learning is endless when you get out there and explore like the Scribblenauts. For ideas of trips to take with tweens, visit my post: From Bourbon Street to the Bayou: 5 Days in New Orleans with Tweens.
- Doing a puzzle. There are no shortage of puzzles to solve in Scribblenauts so put your thinking skills to the test by tackling puzzle you can hold in your hand like a Rubik’s Cube or Perplexus or an in real life puzzle that involves your whole body like a corn maze.
Feeling a bit nostalgic about summer? We are too so why not go on a virtual vacation with Go Vacation ($49.99)! It may be feeling more like winter than fall in the Washington, D.C. area but we’re dreaming of island vacations and sunny weather through virtual visits to Go Vacation’s Kawawii Island. This tropical paradise is home to 4 different resorts with 50 cooperative and competitive mini games. Marine Resort, Snow Resort, Mountain Resort, and City Resort include leisure activities like horseback riding, sea fishing, and scuba diving as well as extreme sports such as skydiving, surfing, and skateboarding. I love how Go Vacation strengthens family bonds while reinforcing how competition can be healthy when you work as a team!
Use Go Vacation game play to inspire offline learning by:
- Using the game to have a conversation about screen time balance. Remind your kids that the sports they love playing virtually can also be enjoyed in real life!
- Encouraging your child to try a new sport they’ve loved playing through the game. Winter could be a great time to hit the slopes and try skiing or snowboarding, experience flying at an indoor skydiving venue, try indoor tennis, or visit a local zoo.
- Having a conversation about your next vacation. Ask kids to look up where they want to go on a map and why and then do some research about the kinds of activities you might do as a family once you get there.
Win a Scribblenauts Mega Pack for the Console of Your Choice!
Warner Home Video Games is providing 3 copies of Scribblenauts Mega Pack for imaginative families to enjoy their own gaming adventure online and off! There will be 3 winners- each winner will receive a copy for either the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, or Xbox One. Use the form below to enter! Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
No compensation was received for this post but review copies were received to facilitate this post. Amazon Affiliate links are included in this post.